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Why are coronavirus stimulus checks $1,200 per person?

Congress issued the checks as a part of a coronavirus relief act.

ATLANTA — ATLANTA— They have been a boost to families struggling during the coronavirus pandemic, but there are lingering questions about the stimulus checks issued by the federal government.

Some wonder why they haven’t received their $1,200.

Others wonder how Congress settled on the amount.

11Alive Morning Rush Insider Carol Simmons got her check back in mid-April.

“I’ve been teleworking on reduced hours,” says Simmons. “Things have been challenging. We were able to use it to get caught up on monthly expenses.”

In March, Congress passed a $2-trillion-dollar piece of legislation known as the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act.

Individuals who qualify can get as much as $1,200 or $2,400 for couples filing a joint tax return.

RELATED: No more stimulus direct deposit: Watch for a debit card or check in the mail

We contacted several members of Congress. No one was able to point us to exactly who came up with the figures, but a Congressional aide explained that it is likely based on the Federal Minimum Wage.

If you multiply the minimum wage of $7.25 an hour over a month, you get $1,160. Round that up and you’ve got $1,200.

“A lot of times things are based around and revolve around minimum wage,” says Andrew Poulos of Poulos Accounting. “That’s why I’m not surprised.”

Families can get an additional $500 for each child under 17. That is likely based on the child tax credit that provides a break for dependents under 17.

Initially, that credit was $500 per child.

“What it appears is that Congress picked $500 which is roughly where the child tax credit started back in the 90s,” says Poulos.

Many Americans are still waiting on a stimulus check while others are hungry for another one.

RELATED: You can now call the IRS with your stimulus check questions

 

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