Are we going to get a fourth stimulus check?
A Fourth Stimulus Check Is Unlikely. CBS PhillyFourth Stimulus Check: Is Another Relief Payment On The Horizon?
Americans have received three separate stimulus checks so far since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. What’s coming this week, however, is something different. It’s not technically a fourth stimulus check. Rather, this week’s stimulus payment is actually an advance payment of a federal tax credit. Albeit, one that’s broken up into six monthly checks that recipients will get through December. Read on for the full details of what’s coming, and when.
As always, recipients will get this new payment in the form of either a paper check or an electronic bank deposit. This week’s stimulus payment, however, has a very specific target: Families with children. That makes the payments much more targeted than the three previous stimulus checks, which were meant for pretty much everyone.
The federal child tax credit is the benefit making the new payments possible. This credit was expanded earlier this year, as part of the $1.9 trillion stimulus legislation President Biden signed in March. And it will now give families with children under age six up to $3,600 per child.
For kids between the ages of six and 17, the amount is $3,000 for each child.
As for the checks themselves, here’s how the forthcoming stimulus payments will be structured.
Half of those amounts we mentioned above are coming to the recipient families next year as a tax credit. Because we’re still in the midst of a pandemic that pummeled the economy, though, the intent was to deliver the other half of that tax credit to families now. So, the first half of that tax credit is what’s being spread over six new stimulus payments.
Generally, these new monthly checks will be for either $250 or $300, per eligible child. So, for example, let’s say a two-parent household has one 5-year-old daughter.
The new child tax credit will give them $1,800 (half of the full $3,600 benefit) next year, after they’ve filed their federal taxes. They’ll get the other half in the form of six new stimulus payments, for $300 each (6 x $300 = $1,800).
The payment dates will be the 15th of every month, starting this month and ending with December 15. The one exception here is August. The 15th of next month falls on a Sunday. So Friday, August 13, will be the date that the IRS sends out that month’s stimulus payment.
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13 July, 2021 - 08:01am
While the first three rounds of stimulus checks have helped many families cover household expenses and meet other needs, a fourth payment isn't on the short list of items to include in President Joe Biden's next big economic bill. More aid is on the way this week: On July 15, roughly 36 million eligible families are scheduled to receive their first advance monthly payment of up to $300 per kid with the 2021 child tax credit, which will bring some immediate financial relief.
Some lawmakers had called for more stimulus money during the spring. Now, however, many in Washington argue that it's less of a priority due to signs of a post-lockdown economic rebound -- like new jobless claims dropping to the lowest since last year. At the same time, demands for payments are gaining public support. With over 2.5 million signatures, a Change.org petition states: "The true unemployment rate for low-wage workers is estimated at over 20% and many people face large debts from last year for things like utilities, rent and child care."
So what does this mean for the fate of a fourth stimulus check? We'll explain below. As for other money matters, the federal expansion of the child tax credit gives parents the option of receiving monthly checks this year or one lump sum for up to $3,600 per kid in 2022. Here's how to check on your tax refund if you haven't received it yet and what to know about the unemployment tax break. We continue to update this story.
A current Change.org petition that has collected nearly 2.6 million signatures calls on Congress to send out a fourth stimulus check of $2,000 for adults and $1,000 for children on a monthly basis for the remainder of the pandemic. The petition notes that "the recovery hasn't reached many Americans" and points to the need for immediate checks and recurring payments so that "we can keep our heads above water."
According to a recent study, the first three stimulus checks helped reduce hardships like food insufficiency and financial instability. So far during the pandemic eligible adults have received a max of $3,200 and children have received $2,500. For many struggling families, that's not enough to bounce back from lost wages and benefits. While the Change.org petition is close to becoming one of the most popular on its website, whether it will have any effect is another question.
Since the American Rescue Plan became law in March, the White House has proposed two packages -- the American Jobs Plan and the American Families Plan -- neither of which called for more stimulus aid. On June 3, a White House press conference indicated that efforts would focus on the infrastructure spending package. Biden is "open to a range of ideas" regarding stimulus aid, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said, but she said he already put forward what would be "the most effective for the short term."
The new scaled-back compromise of the bipartisan infrastructure deal, which the White House announced on June 24, doesn't include anything related to "human infrastructure" -- it doesn't address child care, improved wages or job training. At the same time, the announcement states, "President Biden remains committed to the comprehensive agenda laid out in the American Jobs Plan and American Families Plan."
It's been some months since Democratic members of the House and Senate argued for another stimulus check. In late March, a group of lawmakers asked Biden to include regular stimulus payments in his next stimulus package. In May, several members of the House Ways and Means Committee made a similar request. Citing increased poverty and spiraling debt among Americans, they noted that "most people spent relief checks on monthly expenses or essentials such as food, utilities, rent and mortgage payments."
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What about relief money that's already been authorized?
The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 from March contained three types of direct payments to individuals:
Child tax credit: A temporary expansion of the child tax credit for 2021 sends qualifying families up to $3,600 for each child -- you can calculate your child tax credit total here. These monthly partial payments, which will begin this month, will last through the end of the year, with a final payment in 2022.
Federal unemployment bonus: A weekly $300 unemployment bonus was extended to Sept. 6, as was Pandemic Unemployment Assistance to gig workers and freelancers (the self-employed). However, over half of state governments have since chosen to opt out of the extended benefits before Sept. 6, so millions of jobless Americans in those states were cut off from those funds as early as mid-June.
Could Washington approve more money in other ways?
There's a lot to consider when evaluating the future of stimulus aid for families. The White House could put additional cash in the pockets of Americans in the following scenarios:
If it makes the child tax credit raise permanent: Money from the expanded child tax credit is set to start this week with monthly payments to lower- and middle-income families with children. In a July 7 speech on the Build Back Better Agenda for Working Families, Biden called to extend the expanded child tax credit to 2025. Other aspects of the American Families Plan related to health care costs and medical leave have also yet to be negotiated.
If it passes a minimum wage hike: Some senators continue to look for ways to boost the federal minimum wage, which stands at $7.25 per hour. A few proponents want to set the bar at a $15 hourly wage, and others are looking to only go up to $11 an hour. In recent years, many states, localities and businesses have implemented minimum wage increases above the federal level. However, the discussion of a new national rate of $15 an hour has hit a roadblock in recent months, and the likelihood of it being enacted anytime soon is low.
If it renews federal unemployment bonuses beyond the fall: Some lawmakers originally petitioned for federal unemployment assistance to extend beyond Labor Day. However, dozens of states have already cut off extended benefits early, and enhanced unemployment relief is not likely to continue beyond the expiration date in other states. On June 4, Biden indicated that the temporary boost in jobless benefits should expire in early September as planned.
In the meantime, here's what to do if there's a problem with your stimulus check. And here's what we know about the new IRS portals that'll help you get money via the child tax credit checks that will start on July 15.
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12 July, 2021 - 06:08am
A petition calling for monthly $2,000 payments as the economy continues to recover from the coronavirus pandemic has picked up more than 70,000 signatures in a week, bringing the total to more than 2.577 million.
The petition was started last year by Colorado restaurant owner Stephanie Bonin and calls for monthly payments of $2,000 for adults and $1,000 for dependents. As of July 11, the petition has 2,577,291 signatures. At 3 million signatures it will become one of chang.org’s most popular petitions.
Without the payments, Bonin said, “laid-off workers, furloughed workers, the self-employed, and workers dealing with reduced hours will struggle to pay their rent or put food on the table.”
Congress has approved three rounds of stimulus payments. The first, passed in March 2020, included direct payments of $1,200. The second, paid in December 2020, was $600 and the third, approved in March 2021, was for $1,400.
Studies showed the first three stimulus checks helped reduce hardships such as food insufficiency and financial instability for millions of Americans. Congress has not shown any interest in another round of stimulus checks, however, pointing instead to more targeted strategies such as an expansion of the child tax credit and programs to provide free or reduced healthcare to people who have received unemployment in 2021.
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12 July, 2021 - 04:28am
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More than two dozen Democrats have called on the White House to introduce automatic stabilizers tied to a relief package.
The proposal is designed to prevent delays as lawmakers continue to quarrel in Congress, Yahoo Finance reports.
The proposed legislation includes unemployment as an automatic stabilizer, which would enable the current number of eligible jobless Americans to claim an automatic relief payment.
When the unemployment rate eventually rises above that pre-determined level, the relief would be automatically pulled back again.
Lawmakers believe that "almost six in 10 people say the $1,400 payments will last them less than three months".
They also argued that additional payments could help lift more than 18million Americans up above the poverty line.
It comes as many Americans call on the White House to introduce monthly recurring checks worth up to $2,000.
It reads: “I'm calling on Congress to support families with a $2,000 payment for adults and a $1,000 payment for kids immediately, and continuing regular checks for the duration of the crisis.
"Otherwise, laid-off workers, furloughed workers, the self-employed, and workers dealing with reduced hours will struggle to pay their rent or put food on the table."
She urges lawmakers to target checks at Americans who are struggling to pay debts such as rent and childcare.
Bonin wrote: "Moving forward Congress needs to make recurring checks automatic if certain triggers are met.
"No more waiting around for our government to send the help we need."
More than 80 Democrats have called on Biden to provide extra relief cash but the president remains hesitant as his focus appears to be on tax credits for childcare expenses.
American families with kids under the age of six will receive monthly payments worth up to $300 from Thursday, July 15.
They can use the cash to cover expenses or to treat their children.
Parents with children aged between six and 17 will receive $250.
Americans will receive six payments this year with the rest coming as a lump sum during next year’s tax season.
Families can choose to opt-out of the payments and receive the full tax credit next year if they wish.