Could a 4th stimulus check still be on the table in 2021? Here’s the scoop – CNET


Families living paycheck to paycheck could benefit from another round of stimulus payments. 

Angela Lang/CNET

What is the chance that Americans will see a fourth stimulus payment before the end of the year? On Thursday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki indicated the odds are somewhat unlikely, stating that President Joe Biden has already proposed “what he thinks is going to be the most effective for the short term” in getting the economy to move forward. Congress is still hammering out and negotiating the details of the next two stimulus packages

According to a recent study, the first three stimulus checks helped reduce hardships like food insufficiency and financial instability. Some lawmakers are calling for more relief money — either as a one-time direct payment or a recurring payment — throughout the pandemic, citing broad support from the public and financial analysts. Others in Washington have argued that as the economy rebounds, 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, what to know about the unemployment tax break and how to see if you qualify for the recurring child tax credit payments set to begin next month. This story was recently updated.

Is the door really open for more stimulus payments?

Two more stimulus bills have been proposed since the American Rescue Plan was made law March. But, as a May 28 White House fact sheet on the budget for fiscal year 2022 lays out, neither the American Families Plan nor the American Jobs Plan calls for a new stimulus check at this stage. It’s still possible one of these bills could extend or introduce more money through direct payments for 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. In late March, a group of lawmakers asked Biden to include regular stimulus payments in his next stimulus package. On May 17, several members of the House Ways and Means Committee made a similar request. Remarking on 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.”

A White House press conference on June 3 indicated that Biden is still “happy to hear a range of ideas” to get the economy on track. However, the administration has focused most of its recent efforts on passing an infrastructure spending package. 

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Child tax credit: Everything we know


What about the stimulus relief approved already this year? 

The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 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, half of 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 next week. 


Wages and benefits have been slashed for millions in the US as a result of the pandemic. 

CNET Staff

What about the American Families Plan and the child tax credit?

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

If it approves recurring payments: This plan would be the next likely place for Congress to provide more funding in the form of a fourth 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

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. 

If it renews federal unemployment payments beyond the fall: Along with recurring payments, some lawmakers had originally petitioned for federal unemployment assistance to extend beyond Labor Day this year. However, dozens of states have cut off extended benefits, and enhanced unemployment relief is not likely to continue beyond those expiration dates. On June 4, Biden indicated that he thinks the temporary boost in jobless benefits should expire as planned in early September. 

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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