Could you get a 4th stimulus payment in 2021? Here’s what we know about another check – CNET

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Another economic impact payment could assist Americans living paycheck to paycheck. 


Sarah Tew/CNET

Will Washington send a fourth stimulus check with one of the next two stimulus packages Congress and President Joe Biden are working on? Biden is right now negotiating the detail of the next stimulus bill and, according to a recent study, the first three checks significantly helped reduce hardships. That’s why some members of Congress are calling for more relief money — either as a one-time direct payment or a recurring payment — throughout the pandemic. 

According to a study based on Census Bureau surveys, food insufficiency and financial instability fell through the end of 2020 and into 2021 because of the stimulus aid Washington approved. Biden hasn’t committed to a fourth check, but some members of Congress are pushing the White House to approve another payment, citing widespread support from the public and financial analysts. Others in Washington have argued that as the economy begins to pick up, no more stimulus money is necessary. 

We’ll summarize what we know about these economic measures that could affect you. As for other money matters, here’s how to check on your tax refund and how to see if you qualify for the recurring child tax credit payments. This story was recently updated.

Is a 4th stimulus check still on the table?

Approved in March, the American Rescue Plan was the Biden administration’s first stimulus package and included $1,400 checks$300 extra in weekly unemployment bonuses and an expanded child tax credit running into 2022. 

Two more stimulus bills have been proposed since then: the American Families Plan and the American Jobs Plan. As outlined in a May 28 White House fact sheet on the budget for fiscal year 2022, neither proposal calls for a new stimulus check at this stage. However, it’s possible one of these bills could extend or introduce more money through direct payments that go to specific groups of recipients, such as parents who earn below a certain income or people who are out of work.

Some Democratic members of the House and Senate have thrown their weight behind a fourth stimulus check, including recurring or monthly payments. In late March, a group of 10 progressive lawmakers, including Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, asked Biden to include regular stimulus payments in his next stimulus package. A few weeks later, a group of 21 Democrats made a similar request to Biden.

The most recent pitch for additional stimulus money came May 17 from several members of the House Ways and Means Committee. Remarking on increased poverty and spiraling debt among Americans, their letter noted that “most people spent relief checks on monthly expenses or essentials such as food, utilities, rent and mortgage payments.”


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Child tax credit: Everything we know

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What about other stimulus relief approved for this year? 

The American Rescue Plan in March contained three types of direct payments to individuals:

Stimulus checks: The stimulus payments for up to $1,400 have gone to those who meet the requirements. There’s also money going to certain individuals in the form of “plus-up” payments

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 payment checks, which begin in July, 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, some two dozen state governments have chosen to opt out of the extended benefits, so millions of jobless Americans in those states will be cut off as early as June. 

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Millions of people in the US have seen their wages and benefits slashed as a result of the pandemic. 


Sarah Tew/CNET

What do we know about the proposed American Families Plan?

As part of the White House’s economic stimulus strategy, the future American Families Plan could include direct money to individuals and families. 

If it approves recurring payments: The proposal would be the next likely place for Congress to provide more funding in the form of a fourth, or even fifth, stimulus check. 

If it makes the child tax credit raise permanent: Money from the expanded child tax credit is set to start in July, sending periodic payments to lower-income and middle-income families with children. In his speech before Congress, Biden called on the House and Senate to extend the expanded child tax credit to 2025. Others, including Republican Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah, also support making the credit permanent, saying it could lift millions of children out of poverty.

If it passes a minimum wage hike: Some senators continue to look for ways to boost the federal minimum wage, which currently stands at $7.25 per hour. In his speech before Congress, Biden called on the legislators to raise the minimum wage to $15. Sens. Romney and Kyrsten Sinema have also pitched a wage hike. Some proponents want to set the bar at a $15 hourly wage, but others are looking to go to $11 an hour. A February report from the Brookings Institute models how a $15 minimum wage could help make 37% of US households financially self-sufficient.

If it renews federal unemployment payments beyond September: Along with recurring payments, some lawmakers had originally petitioned for federal unemployment assistance to extend beyond Labor Day this year. However, as dozens of states cut off extended benefits, many Democratic members of Congress are now expressing skepticism about allowing enhanced unemployment relief to continue past the September expiration date, as Politico reported in early May.

Here’s how to report a problem with your stimulus check. And here’s what we know about the new IRS portals that’ll help you get money with the child tax credit. 

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