90 million stimulus check payments have been sent out, totaling $242 billion, IRS says

FILE - In this Feb. 5, 2021 file photo, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen speaks during a virtual roundtable with participants from Black Chambers of Commerce across the country to discuss the American Rescue Plan in Washington.  The Treasury Department says it has sent out 90 million economic impact payments totaling $242 billion since President Joe Biden signed a $1.9 trillion pandemic relief plan. The bulk of those payments were made by the IRS as direct deposits, which recipients starting seeing in their bank accounts last weekend, officials said Wednesday, March 17.  (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)
FILE - In this Feb. 5, 2021 file photo, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen speaks during a virtual roundtable with participants from Black Chambers of Commerce across the country to discuss the American Rescue Plan in Washington. The Treasury Department says it has sent out 90 million economic impact payments totaling $242 billion since President Joe Biden signed a $1.9 trillion pandemic relief plan. The bulk of those payments were made by the IRS as direct deposits, which recipients starting seeing in their bank accounts last weekend, officials said Wednesday, March 17. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File) (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

WASHINGTON – The Treasury Department says it has sent out 90 million economic impact payments totaling $242 billion since President Joe Biden signed a $1.9 trillion pandemic relief plan last week.

The bulk of those payments were made by the IRS as direct deposits, which recipients starting seeing in their bank accounts last weekend, officials said Wednesday.

In addition, Treasury has mailed out roughly 150,000 checks worth about $442 million.

Processing of the payments began last Friday, the day after Biden signed the American Rescue Plan, which authorized direct payments of up to $1,400 to qualifying individuals.

Treasury said the first batch of payments went to eligible taxpayers who provided direct-deposit information on their 2019 or 2020 tax returns. Included were people who don't typically file a return but who used a non-filers tool at IRS.gov last year to be included in two earlier rounds of COVID-19 relief payments.

Officials said additional batches of payments will be sent in coming weeks by direct deposit and through the mail as a check or debit card.

No action is needed by most taxpayers to receive the payments, which will be automatic and similar to how people received their first and second round of economic impact payments in 2020.

The payments, which are being made to cushion the blow from the coronvirus pandemic, started with $1,200 payments in the first round last spring and $600 payments in a second round of payments approved by Congress in December.