A small measure of relief is on its way to millions of Americans.

On Tuesday, the Treasury Department began sending out the one-time $600 checks tied to the long-stalled COVID-relief bill, with direct deposit checks expected to arrive as soon as that evening. Paper checks were mailed Wednesday.

“These payments are an integral part of our commitment to providing vital additional economic relief to the American people during this unprecedented time,” said Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

The $600 payments were half the amount in stimulus checks sent to many Americans this spring, and much less than the $2,000 payments congressional Democrats tried to pass.

But after months of a stalemate between Republicans and Democrats, Congress secured $600 payments for people making less than $75,000 a year; married couples earning up to $150,000 will receive $1,200. For each child who qualifies, families get another $600. Payments phase out $5 for every $100 earned above $75,000.

You can check the status of your payment here later this week, according to the Treasury Department.

On Monday, Democrats tried to pass a standalone bill to send out $2,000 payments to many Americans, a measure supported by President Donald Trump and many Congressional Republicans. But Republican party leadership kept it from going to a vote. After the House passed the standalone bill, GOP Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the Senate wouldn't take up the measure, describing it as a "fire hose of borrowed money."

In New York, unemployment benefits expanded and extended under the federal relief bill would begin next week, according to the state Department of Labor.

An estimated 12 million people across the country briefly lost jobless benefits on December 26th, because of President Trump's stalling. New York managed to avoid a gap in benefits for 1.1 million people, and Trump signed the $900 million bill on Sunday evening.

“This pandemic has created an unprecedented economic crisis, and New Yorkers have waited in uncertainty for far too long,” Governor Andrew Cuomo said in a statement.

Various unemployment programs would be extended or re-implemented for another 11 weeks until March 14th, 2021.

Freelancers and gig workers who typically don’t qualify for state jobless benefits will continue to receive benefits through the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program.

Those who have expired 26 weeks of traditional state unemployment can continue receiving extended benefits under Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation.

Federal pandemic payments of $300 a week will be issued in addition to other unemployment programs. Previously, that program was set at $600 until it expired in late July. It was extended through executive order at $300 a week, but lapsed again after six weeks.

Another program is on the way for people who are partially self-employed, called Mixed Earner Unemployment Compensation. The state is awaited federal guidance for the program.

The program helps people who make at least $5,000 a year in self-employment income earn another $100 a week in addition to traditional state unemployment insurance. These workers are disqualified from the heftier freelancer benefits under PUA because they may also qualify for traditional unemployment insurance.

“The extension of these federal unemployment benefits is a lifeline for many New Yorkers, and we will continue to do everything we can to bring relief to those who remain unemployed due to this unprecedented pandemic,” DOL Commissioner Roberta Reardon said in a statement.