Fourth stimulus check update: Status, proposed amount and latest news
A fourth stimulus check could send another round of relief payments to many Americans. Both monthly stimulus checks and one-time stimulus checks worth up to $2,000 have been proposed so far.
Recently, several Democratic members of the House Ways and Means Committee sent a letter to President Biden requesting the administration add recurring stimulus checks to the American Families Plan announced earlier this spring.
The White House has said little about a fourth stimulus check. On May 4 during a press conference, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said “we’ll see what members of Congress propose” when a reporter asked about another round of direct payments.
Although the post-pandemic economic recovery is ongoing, there’s currently no legislation in Congress supporting a fourth stimulus check. There aren’t even any specific stimulus-check guidelines on the table.
The most noteworthy economic effort in government currently is President Biden’s $2.25 trillion infrastructure investment proposal, the American Jobs Plan. That proposal doesn’t include a fourth stimulus check or anything like the direct payments that millions of people received over the course of the pandemic. Rather, it’s a long-term initiative to rescue, recover and rebuild the country’s financial standing.
Fourth stimulus check update
Biden’s American Rescue Plan Act, which created the third stimulus checks, did boost tax credits for most parents with children under 18, but only for the year 2021. Most parents and legal guardians will receive a tax credit of $3,600 for children under six, and $3,000 per child aged six through 17.
Half of that credit will come in the form of monthly advance payments to parents beginning July 15 — $300 per month for younger kids, and $250 for older ones. Biden’s American Families Plan, which is separate from the American Jobs Plan, will seek to extend those tax credits, including the advance payments, through the end of 2025.
The American Families Plan would also mandate up to 12 weeks of paid parental leave and subsidies for childcare.
That’s not to say another widespread stimulus check can’t be written into the next major economic initiative. Although the consensus is that a fourth stimulus check isn’t likely, many lawmakers and economists initially questioned the need for a second and third stimulus check too.
The third stimulus check is still going out, having reached some 165 million Americans. Be sure to check your stimulus check status or call the IRS stimulus check phone number with questions regarding your payment. Read on for everything there is to know about the possibility of another round of payments.
Fourth stimulus check amount
The fourth stimulus check amount depends on several factors. If passed, it would probably look similar to the previous checks, although that’s not guaranteed.
For reference, the first stimulus check amounted to as much as $1,200, while the second stimulus check brought $600 to eligible Americans. The third stimulus check, which the IRS is still in the process of distributing, is worth up to $1,400 per person, although the eligibility requirements are narrower.
All three checks gave the full amounts to taxpayers who made up to $75,000 a year, according to their most recent tax returns. Couples filing jointly got the full payment if they had a joint total income of $150,000 or less.
With the first two checks, those making up to $99,000 alone or $198,000 as a couple received prorated payments. With the third check, individuals who earned more than $80,000 per year or $160,000 per year as joint filers got nothing. Our guide to the stimulus check calculator can show you what your own eligibility looks like.
Fourth stimulus check timeline or release date
Right now, there is no fourth stimulus check timeline or fourth stimulus check release date. Until legislation is in motion, we can’t say how soon more relief money might arrive. We can’t say whether more relief money is coming, at all.
That said, the third stimulus check timeline happened rather quickly following Biden’s inauguration Jan. 20. It only took a few weeks for Congress to debate his American Rescue Plan. Once the president signed the bill on March 11, $1,400 checks were put in motion.
The IRS can begin sending out possible fourth stimulus checks in the same manner it sent the previous stimulus payments. Since the framework is already in place, Americans could begin receiving the fourth stimulus checks about two weeks after a relief bill allowing another round of direct payments is approved.
Are $2,000 monthly stimulus checks possible?
In response to President Biden’s American Jobs Plan proposal, a group of 21 senators on March 30 sent a letter urging the inclusion of stimulus checks in the legislation. The group called for recurring payments as long as the pandemic lockdown continued, meaning people would get monthly checks from the government. No amount for the payments was specified.
“We urge you to include recurring direct payments and automatic unemployment insurance extensions tied to economic conditions in your Build Back Better long-term economic plan,” wrote the group, which consisted of Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Massachusetts, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont, and others.
An earlier stimulus check proposal, put forward during the early days of the American Rescue Plan in late January, also suggested monthly payments until the pandemic is over, but did not mention an amount. However, Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minnesota, tweeted earlier in January that she wanted to see $2,000 per month.
If that amount sounds familiar, it’s because now-Vice President Kamala Harris threw her support behind $2,000 recurring checks during the negotiations for the second stimulus check legislation in the summer of 2020.
The proposal has also gained plenty of support outside of Congress: Six online petitions calling for $2,000 monthly stimulus checks until the end of the pandemic have been posted, and between them they’ve now gained more than 2.3 million signatures. The biggest petition, on Change.org, has been signed by more than 2.2 million people alone.
While a fourth stimulus check does not seem likely for now, in the meantime the IRS has released information about plus-up payments and Recovery Rebate Credits, two ways to get additional money from the three stimulus bills passed since the COVID-19 pandemic began.
Both the plus-up payment and the Recovery Rebate Credit might get you more stimulus money, depending on your 2020 tax return. The plus-up payments, detailed in an IRS news release April 1, are supplements to the third stimulus check.
If you qualify for a plus-up payment, you will receive an extra check as part of the weekly rounds of stimulus payments that the IRS has been making every Wednesday.
The Recovery Rebate Credit, as explained in an IRS news release April 5, is a tax credit related to the first ($1,200) and second ($600) stimulus checks. If you qualify for the Recovery Rebate Credit, your 2020 taxes will be reduced and you may receive the credit as part of a tax refund.
Both the plus-up payment and the rebate credit will be determined by your 2020 tax return. But while the plus-up payment will come to you automatically once your return is processed by the IRS, the rebate credit is something you have to claim on your 2020 return. We have more info on both the plus-up payment and Recovery Rebate Credit.
Fourth stimulus check approval: Here’s what it’ll take
The White House hasn’t responded to any of the proposals for additional stimulus checks, and the general sentiment is that a fourth stimulus check isn’t likely. Economists have suggested we’ve already moved past the pandemic’s worst financial woes, although there are signs that Americans could still use relief.
Experts certainly seem in agreement that there won’t be a fourth stimulus check. The latest stimulus package, the American Rescue Plan, is “gonna be the last on that front,” Deutsche Bank senior U.S. economist Brett Ryan told Fortune. “No more checks.”
Ed Mills, Washington policy analyst at Raymond James, agreed, telling CNBC recently “I think it’s unlikely at this time. D.C. has largely started to pivot towards the recovery and an infrastructure bill.”
Many economists and financial experts are worried that the third stimulus checks have contributed to a growing inflation rate, which in April hit an unexpected 0.6% month-over-month rate and a 6.2% year-over-year rate — the highest since the early 1980s.
Are we getting another stimulus check in 2021?
Whether we get another stimulus check in 2021 depends on how much momentum the proposals for more checks gain.
There are still some people who’ve not yet received the third stimulus check, but we’ve got a handy guide for what to do if you’re missing your stimulus check payment. It’s worth checking if you’re eligible for most recent stimulus check as it’s worth up to $1,400 per person.
The IRS has reported that taxpayers whose direct-deposit information is on file should have seen their payments reach their bank accounts in April. Those who are waiting on paper checks and debit cards can expect to receive their funds in the coming weeks.
If you have received the third stimulus check and feel it’s too low, then take a look at our guide to the stimulus check calculator as that can show you what your own eligibility looks like. Keep in mind that there are a few factors that will affect the amount you are due or have received.
Do people need a fourth stimulus check?
According to CNBC, there is a case for a fourth stimulus check that goes beyond the calls from lawmakers. The Economic Security Project, a progressive organization that advocates for guaranteed income, says there’s a need for more stimulus checks.
“We need at least one more check,” said Adam Ruben. Ruben, the campaign director at the Economic Security Project, also said that stimulus checks should be “automatic,” and not stalled as they were last summer when second stimulus check negotiations caused a long gap between the $1,200 and $600 payments.
During that period, up to 8 million people fell into poverty, according to CNBC.
As reported by The New York Times, employers added only 266,000 jobs in April, according to the latest jobs report. This falls short of the million or so expected. In addition, the unemployment rate increased to 6.1%.
Meanwhile, Reuters reported that hiring had recently stalled with some small businesses. In addition, management firm UKG says that early May data shows that work in manufacturing, retail and health sectors are all down.
“Nearly one million new people are filing for unemployment every single week,” said Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal. “This unprecedented moment demands an unprecedented response. People don’t only need relief, they need stability, certainty, and predictability and the ABC Act delivers them exactly that. Our legislation acknowledges that a one-time survival check isn’t enough to get people through this crisis. Instead, we send out recurring checks every month during the crisis and for a year after it ends. That is money in people’s pockets, and certainty in their lives.”
However, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, didn’t appear to agree. In an interview, McConnell told 44News of Evansville, Indiana, “This economy is poised to boom. I can’t imagine the economy is going to need a fourth round.”
Nearly half of small businesses said in a March survey that they had job openings they could not fill.
“We have had an unbelievable amount of people schedule an interview and not show up,” a bar owner in Los Angeles told CNBC. “We have never had this problem before.”
California stimulus check
While the possibility of a fourth stimulus check from Congress is not very high, there is a chance that Californians may see a fourth stimulus check. As part of Governor Gavin Newsom’s $100 billion “California Comeback Plan,” the governor is proposing sending $600 checks to those earning less than $75,000, with an additional $500 per child.
Newsom said this would represent nearly 11 million California residents, approximately 78 percent of the state. However, any such payments would require the approval of the legislature.
The number of Covid-19 cases has been falling since late April as more Americans get vaccinations, and that is spurring hope for a further economic recovery and for life returning to normal. As of May 23, 38.9% of adults in the U.S. have been fully vaccinated, according to the CDC.
There’s still a long way to go, but the CDC has changed its guidance regarding masks. It now says that those who are fully vaccinated no longer need to wear a mask outdoors or indoors, with some exceptions. Everyone must still wear masks when traveling on planes and public transit. However, while some states are lifting their own mask mandates, others are being more conservative and are taking a wait-and-see approach.
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