Lawmakers have given their final seal of approval to a $170 billion plan intended to spark the slowing economy.
The plan's centerpiece: tax rebates.
But questions remain about how the program will work, and officials at the Treasury Department and IRS are scurrying to work out the details.
In the meantime, here are some answers based on currently available government information and experts' analysis.
Do I qualify for a rebate and how much can I expect?
One-time rebates will be sent to at least 117 million low- and middle-income households, 20 million senior citizens living off of Social Security, and 250,000 disabled veterans.
To be eligible for a full rebate, single tax filers must have 2007 adjusted gross income (AGI) below $75,000 and joint filers must have AGI below $150,000.
Adjusted gross income is not your annual salary. It's equal to gross income minus "above the line deductions," which are reported on page 1 of the 1040 tax form. Above-the-line deductions include deductible IRA contributions, alimony paid and, for the self-employed, some portion of money spent on health insurance or Social Security.
Single filers with AGI below $75,000 will get rebates of as much as $600. Couples with AGI below $150,000 will receive rebates of up to $1,200.
In addition, parents will also receive $300 rebates per dependent child; there is no cap on the number of children eligible.
An example: A couple with one child and $100,000 in AGI will get a rebate of $1,500 ($1,200 + $300). If they have two children, they will get $1,800 ($1,200 + $600).
Tax filers who do not owe income taxes because of various credits and deductions but have at least $3,000 in income - which can include Social Security and disability payments - will get $300 rebates per person or $600 per couple.
I make more than the income caps. What about me?
You might get a partial rebate. It depends on how much your income exceeds the caps.
The stimulus legislation allows for a 5% phaseout rate for households above the income caps of $75,000 for single filers and $150,000 for joint filers.
That means that for every dollar a tax filer earns above those caps, he or she will lose 5 cents of the rebate, said Jason Furman, senior fellow at the Brookings Institution.
Put another way, the rebates of those taxpayers will be reduced by the amount of income above the cap multiplied by 5%, said Mark Luscombe, principal analyst at tax information publisher CCH.
Take a couple with two children. If they make less than the income cap, they will likely get an $1,800 rebate. If they make $15,000 more than the cap, they will see their $1,800 rebate reduced by $750 ($15,000 x 0.05). So instead they will receive a check for $1,050 ($1,800-$750).
A childless couple whose AGI falls below the cap will likely get a $1,200 rebate. But if their AGI exceeds the cap by $15,000, their rebate will be reduced by $750. So they'd get a check for $450.
Single filers with no kids and an income below $75,000 will likely get a $600 rebate. But if they made $80,000, their rebate will be reduced by $250 ($5,000 x 0.05). So they will get a check for $350 ($600-$250).
The point at which the rebate gets phased out entirely will vary. For example, a single filer with no kids whose income exceeds the cap by $12,000 or more will get no rebate, because it will be reduced by an amount equal to or greater than the $600 ($12,000 x 0.05 = $600).
Do I have to pay the rebate back?
No. And here's why.
Your rebate is a one-time tax cut - an advance on a credit you'll receive on your 2008 return.
It's based on your 2007 income initially. If it turns out that your 2008 income and number of children would have qualified you for a larger rebate than the one you received, you'll be sent the difference. If it turns out your 2008 income was lower than in 2007 and you should have gotten a lower rebate, you get to keep the difference.
"If you were supposed to receive a larger payment than you did, you will get the extra money," said Treasury spokesman Andrew DeSouza. "If you received more than what you should have gotten, you will not be penalized."
What do I have to do to get one?
You must file a 1040 or 1040-EZ federal tax return for 2007.
Some people are normally not required to file a return. To get the rebate, however, they have to file a federal tax return.
So when will I get a check?
Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said Thursday night that the IRS will start sending out checks in early May. Last month, he said it should take about 10 weeks to crank out all the checks. In all likelihood then, you'll see the money sometime between May and early July.
That assumes, of course, that you hit the IRS deadline and file by April 15.
If you're a laggard and have to file for an extension, you'll still get a check but it may not come until the end of the year - probably in time for Christmas shopping.
By Jeanne Sahadi, CNNMoney.com senior writer
Lawmakers have given their final seal of approval to a $170 billion plan intended to spark the slowing economy.
This is a new column for me aptly titled Around the 'Net. I will share some of my favorite websites . . .
some are fun, some are serious,
some are for you, some are for the whole family,
some are educational, some are games,
topics will everything.
This site is dangerously educational while being joyfully fun. Click on the various 'fun spots' to navigate the site and find the learning inside, well disguised as fun, of course. The games are exciting and changing constantly. Children, including those of us over 18, love the variety and colorfulness of the content. Here's everyone's chance to become a kid for the day as we play our way from kindergarten through 6th grade. See you at graduation.
Double Cross by James Patterson
Another excellent thriller by Patterson. I hated the ending... it does leave you hanging. The good news with the ending, I'm hoping, is that there is more to come. I love the Alex Cross series.
Rating (1, lowest; 5, highest): 5.
"Just when Alex Cross's life is calming down, he is drawn back into the game to confront a criminal mastermind like no other. The elaborate murders that have stunned Washington, DC, are the wildest that Alex Cross has ever seen. This maniac adores an audience, and stages his killings as spectacles in public settings. Alex is pursuing a genius of terror who has the whole city on edge as it waits for his next move. And the killer loves the attention, no doubt -- he even sets up his own Web site and live video feed to trumpet his madness.
In Colorado, another criminal mastermind is planning a triumphant return. From his super-maximum-security prison cell, Kyle Craig has plotted for years to have one chance at an impossible escape. If he has to join forces with DC's Audience Killer to get back at the man who put him in that cell -- Alex Cross -- all the better."
To learn more about me check out my sites, groups, and blog:
I still believe in the Christmas spirit, the magic, and the love.
Yahoo group: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/12_Months_of_Christmas/
Share some MAGIC this Christmas... a letter from Santa!
Elf and Buddy Team Leader for SantaSearch -- www.SantaSearch.com.
Scrapbook Your Cherished Memories.
Newsletter group: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Cherished-Memories/
Ind. Consultant for Memory Works
The moment you cherish! The products you love!
Supervisor and Ind. Consultant for Usborne Books
The books kids love to read!
Want to learn more about me... my interests, my life.
Read my blog: http://360.yahoo.com/scrapaddict01
Want to learn more about my love of scrapbooking, my layouts.
My Place: http://www.scrapbook.com/places/Storm
Want to learn more about my love of music.
Your Christmas Sprit Level: 100%
Your Christmas spirit is almost as big as Christmas itself. Christmas is definitely your thing.
You celebrate Christmas with enthusiasm. You love every minute of the holidays.
Your Christmas spirit is inspiring to everyone who runs into you during the holidays.
You make everyone's day just a little bit brighter. And that's what the holidays are all about!
Today was a roller-coaster of a day.
Cameron didn't want to get up and I had to keep using various techniques to get him out of his bed -- finally, 15 minutes late. Low.
It was pouring down rain today. We had to stand outside in the pouring rain for 25 minutes while waiting for Cameron's bus to school. The difference in time from one day to the next is baffling. Low.
Got Cassandra to school. She turned around and blew me a kiss and a hug. Awwwww. High.
I got the news via email that some child support was deposited into my account. High.
The child support didn't show up in account yet. Low.
I got 3 loads of laundry done. High.
Got more Christmas decorations down. High and low.
Cameron's daily report from school. Low.
Children fed, transported to Boys Club and Girls Club, respectively, and back home again. Is this a high or a low?
Children now quiet and in bed. High.
Today was a busy day for me. With no school this past Friday due an ice storm, I missed a lot of appointments (and the errands didn't get done) so today involved a lot of running around town.
I met with Cameron's school therapist. Not good news.
Cameron had a medicine check with the psychiatrist at the school in which several changes are being made. Hopefully, for the better.
Then I had food shopping to do. Not a good idea to do this on Food Stamp day but I had no choice so off to Aldi's and WalMart I went. Got as much as I could. Sadly, I am already out of food stamps for the month and its only the fourth.
Afterwards, I had to go to the drug store to pick up Cameron's special cleanser for his extraordinarily sensitive skin. I spent over $80.00 on all the medical creams, recommended (by the pediatrician) lotions, and the outstanding-must-have cleanser. Ugh!
Somewhere along the way I went to the bank to get the money to pay for all of this, dropped off my library books (3 days late... at least, the library will enjoy the money due to the phenomenal late fee), went back to the drug store for Cameron's prescriptions, and stop at the post office.
I also managed to get my kids up, ready for school, dropped off at their respective schools, and picked back up.
Dinner was easy -- chicken nuggets, mashed potatoes, & pineapple -- and, as usual, Cameron refused to eat.
Homework and bath time also got accomplished.
I am happy to say that the kids are all in bed and Champ is snoozing at my feet. God is good!
Q: What is the shortest chapter in the Bible?
A: Psalms 117
Q: What is the longest chapter in the Bible?
A: Psalms 119
Q: Which chapter is in the center of the Bible?
A: Psalms 118
Facts: There are 594 chapters before Psalms 118. There are 594 chapters after Psalms 118. Add these numbers up and you get 1188.
Q: What is the center verse in the Bible?
A: Psalms 118:8
The next time someone says they would like to find God's perfect will for their lives and that they want to be in the center of His will, just send them to the center of His Word!
Now isn't that odd how this worked out . . . or was God in the center of it?
Do your clothes make you hurt? Mine do! Bras, waistbands, even the tie on my old bathrobe -- anything that puts pressure on my chest or abdomen can at times set off either burning or intense, stabbing pains.
I've tailored my entire wardrobe to accommodate this particular symptom, but I've never read a word about it anywhere. Wondering if I was crazy or if it was a common thing among those of us with fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS), I asked others who suffer from Fibromyalgia.
Turns out, I'm not alone. A lot of people posted that they have the same problem and thought they were the only ones. One woman described the pain as feeling like a "terrible sunburn." Clothes can cause pain all over, on your tender points, and on areas that are numb or tingly.
With the help of others, I've put together these tips for dressing when you have fibromyalgia:
Spare Your Waist
Unless you want to wear long, flowy dresses all the time, you've got to find ways to spare your waist from all of those waistbands. I've found several ways to get around this:
Pitch the Pantyhose -- Buy Thigh-Highs
Forget control tops! They might feel OK when you put them on, but the last thing your body wants is to be squeezed for hours on end. Thigh-highs keep your legs looking nice while keeping your mid-section much happier.
When it comes to underwear, try bikini briefs that sit down on your hips instead of the fuller styles that go clear up to your waist. And while you may not like the thought of low-rise pants that expose your belly button, try on a pair to see how much kinder they are to your gut. For those of us who don't want to bare all that skin, a long shirt can cover your midsection nicely.
Do the Sit Test
When you try on pants, don't just stand in front of the mirror. Sit down. Slouch. Lean forward. If they're still comfortable, you've got a winner.
Venture into the Maternity Section
I'm not talking about those horrid pants with the big baggy section in front, but about the ones with the "under belly" band. It's a nice wide band at the top that's designed to sit lower on an expanding belly. For the non-pregnant, these pants are just an incredibly comfortable way to go. I got this style of pants and skirts while I was pregnant, and I'm still wearing them. No one knows they're maternity, and I can keep them on all day.
Draw-String v. Elastic
When it comes to sweat pants, a draw string wins out over an elastic waistband because it's adjustable. If your weight fluctuates or you eat a lot while wearing them, you can give yourself a little more room. True, the elastic will stretch, but you'll find it puts more pressure on you when it does. Some people have luck with loosening or removing the elastic.
Let's face it -- some days, clothes are just out of the question. A lot of us have spent entire days, maybe even weeks in attire most people consider only appropriate for sleeping. For those times, I recommend a bathrobe with a zipper instead of a tie. Also, a lot of pajamas these days are shirts with pants or shorts. A nightgown is kinder to your body, but of course, your legs might get cold. I'm considering leg warmers, especially now that 1980s styles are all the rage.
Beating the Bra Blues
An underwire may support you nicely, but you'll likely be ready to rip it off before lunch. Here are some alternatives:
Even if you're a larger size, you can find soft-cup bras that will give you support. Check out the selection at a specialty shop or a plus-size boutique. Also, get a bra fitting. Most women don't wear the right size, and a too-tight band is doing you no favors. Look for wide shoulder straps as well -- they don't dig into the shoulders like thinner straps often do.
As long as they're not too tight, sports bras are comfortable and put far less of a squeeze around your rib cage. They also hold everything right in place.
Bralettes or Bandeaus
If you're smaller, one of these styles might be the way to go. A bralette is an unlined soft-cup bra that's designed for comfort. It's most popular among teenagers because it doesn't provide much lift. A bandeau is basically a tube of fabric that goes around your chest. Again, the support isn't the best, but it won't poke you anywhere and cause pain.
A Feel for Fabrics
The texture and weight of a fabric can make a big difference in how it feels to you. Here are the ones that come highly recommended for those with fibromyalgia:
- Stretchy knits
Some people also prefer shirts with the tags printed on the fabric instead of sewn in.
Socks that Squeeze
Ah, that elastic dilemma again. This is a tough one, since many of us seem to have chronically cold feet, but no one wants loose, sloppy socks bagging around their ankles. So what can you do?
Experiment with Length
Look at where your socks hurt you, and see if a different length will miss those spots.
Try Thinner Fabric
A heavy sock will put more pressure on your foot when you wear shoes. Thinner might be better.
Look into Diabetic Socks
Fibro pain has a lot in common with diabetic neuropathy, so this makes a lot of sense. "Sensitive foot" socks are widely available online and at specialty shoe stores.
Take it Off!
Lastly, if you're in the privacy of your own home, take off everything that's not comfortable and find something that is. The UPS guy has seen it all, I'm certain, and you'll feel better for it. And really, isn't that the most important thing?
Adapted from Adrienne Dellwo, http://chronicfatigue.about.com/.