Some states are sending more stimulus money. This is what it means for you


Three stimulus checks helped many people pay for household expenses during the pandemic.

Angela Lang / CNET

So far, the federal government has sent out three stimulus checks. Some families receive additional financial relief with monthly payments child tax credit payments (up to $ 300 per month for each child). But the delta variant still has major impacts on families, spending and the economy. And the cut-off for increased unemployment benefits means that many families will continue to face financial hardship. And some people may qualify for up to $ 1,400 in additional stimulus funds if they had a baby this year, although that money doesn’t arrive until 2022. And right now, Congress doesn’t plan to approve a fourth federal stimulus check this year.

In the meantime, several state governments have implemented their own programs to provide residents with additional financial assistance. Educators received bonuses in states like Florida, Michigan, and Tennessee, and some frontline workers in Vermont received checks. And millions of Californians just received a second round of Golden State Stimulus Checks for $ 600 (or up to $ 1,100), and low-income Marylanders are eligible for direct payments of $ 300 or $ 500.

A petition calls for financial relief with recurring checks of $ 2,000 for all families. So far, it has reached over 2.9 million signatures. But the money still doesn’t seem likely because lawmakers are crafting a $ 3.5 trillion federal budget that could provide aid in other ways. We’ll tell you what you need to know. here is a update on the child tax credit extension and how to check your unemployment tax relief. We have updated this story.

What stimulus funds have been approved so far?

Child tax credit payments for families: A temporary expansion of the child tax credit for 2021 sends eligible families up to $ 3,600 for each child – you can calculate your total here. Partial advance payments of up to $ 300 per dependent, which began this summer, are issued monthly (the next will be October 15) until the end of the year, with a final payment in 2022 .

Parents also have the option of defer advance monthly checks and instead receive their payment in the spring. There is no limit on the total amount of credit that a family with several children can apply for. If the credit is more than what is owed in taxes, families will receive the excess amount as a tax refund next year. In addition, low-income families may be eligible for the maximum credit. Here is more on child tax credit payment dates and eligibility.

Additional federal stimulus funds: Third stimulus payments of up to $ 1,400 are still paid in batches to those who are eligible until the end of 2021. IRS also sends “plus-up” payments, which is additional money offsetting the difference between the stimulus amount you’ve already received (based on your 2019 return) and the amount you’re eligible to receive (based on your updated 2020 return).

Additionally, if a family member becomes a dependent in 2021, such as a newborn or foster child, they may also be eligible for a payment of $ 1,400. According to the tax agency, for any new eligible dependent who will receive the third payment, you will need to claim a recovery refund credit on your 2021 tax return that you will file in 2022.

Stimulus Payments to Californians: California has approved two rounds of state-level stimulus payments to eligible residents. Called Golden State Stimulus I and II, these payments are intended to support low-income Californians and help those facing hardship due to the pandemic, the state said. Almost two-thirds of residents are eligible for the expanded Golden State Stimulus II, which equates to a one-time payment of $ 600 (with an additional $ 500 for eligible families with children).

The checks started going out in late August and will continue in batches every two weeks until the fall, with the last round mailed out on September 17th. To qualify, you must have been a resident of California for most of 2020 and still live there, filed a 2020 income tax return, earned less than $ 75,000 (gross income and salary adjusted), have a Social Security number or individual taxpayer identification number, and your children cannot be claimed as a dependent by another taxpayer.

Stimulation Aid to Marylanders: Maryland issued payments of $ 500 for families and $ 300 for individuals who claimed the earned income tax credit. Income limits range from $ 21,710 (married deposit together with no eligible children) to $ 56,844 (married deposit jointly with three or more eligible children). Maryland’s legislation also includes increased support for unemployed residents and tax breaks for small businesses.

Vermont frontline worker risk pay: Thousands of workers were rewarded with a payment of $ 1,200 or $ 2,000 for staying on the job in the early weeks of the pandemic. Both rounds of approved funds have already gone to employees most at risk, such as healthcare workers as well as grocery stores and retailers.

Premium payments to educators: As part of the US bailout, state and local governments received $ 350 billion in aid. Much of this aid will go to schools, with some states deciding to pay their teachers and other school staff a “thank you” bonus of up to $ 1,000. The participating states are Georgia, Florida, Tennessee, Colorado, Texas and California. Michigan also sent teachers $ 500 in risk bonuses earlier this year. It is likely that other states will approve similar funds in the future, as they have until 2024 to spend the funds.

Could there be a fourth stimulus check this year?

The short answer is no.

The researchers found that the first three stimulus checks helped reduce hardships such as insufficient food and financial instability. So far during the pandemic, eligible adults have received a maximum of $ 3,200 and children have received up to $ 2,500. For struggling families, this is not enough to recover from lost wages and benefits.

Since American rescue plan, the White House has proposed several packages, including the American Jobs Plan and the Build Back Better agenda, but these do not call for more direct help. President Joe Biden is “open to a range of ideas” regarding stimulus aid, according to a June statement by White House press secretary Jen Psaki, but he has already put forward what would be ” most effective in the short term “.

The scaled-down compromise of the $ 1,000 billion bipartisan infrastructure deal, which was agreed to in the Senate on July 28, does not include anything related to “human infrastructure” – it does not deal with guardianship. children, improved wages or vocational training. . Instead, these elements must be included in the proposed $ 3.5 trillion reconciliation package. The White House introduced its “Build Better” agenda, incorporating lower health care costs, tax cuts and investments in teachers and schools. Senate Democrats are working economically, but the process of approving final drafts of the bill in Congress could take some time.

It has been a long time 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 (PDF) in his next stimulus package. In May, several members of the House Ways and Means Committee (PDF) made a similar request. Citing rising poverty and skyrocketing debt among Americans, they noted that “most people spend relief checks on monthly expenses or on essentials such as food, utilities, rent and mortgage payments “.


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What’s the latest on the $ 2,000 stimulus check petition?

A Change.org petition that has garnered more than 2.89 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 has not reached many Americans” and stresses the need for immediate checks and recurring payments so that “we can keep our heads above water.” As the Change.org petition is poised to become one of the most popular on its website, whether it will have any effect is another question.

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The IRS will continue to send stimulus payments until all eligible Americans have received their checks.

Sarah Tew / CNET

What are the chances that Congress will approve more money?

While there is still a lot we don’t yet know and a lot to debate, there could be additional money in the pockets of Americans in the following scenarios:

If the increase in the child tax credit is made permanent. The expanded child tax credit money began this summer with monthly payments to millions of low- and middle-income families with children. In a speech this summer, Biden called on Congress to extend the extended child tax credit until 2025. Some lawmakers and economists are now pushing for improved credit, and House Democrats recently put forward a proposal. aimed at making it permanent, although it is still controversial. .

If there is an increase in the minimum wage. Some senators continue to look for ways to increase the federal minimum wage, which is $ 7.25 an hour. Some supporters want to set the bar at an hourly wage of $ 15 an hour, and others seek to raise only up to $ 11 an hour. In recent years, many states, towns and businesses have implemented higher minimum wage increases at the federal level. However, discussion of a new national rate of $ 15 an hour has run into a hurdle in recent months, and the likelihood of it passing anytime soon is low.

In the meantime, here’s what you need to know about outgoing tax refunds for those who have received unemployment benefits in 2020 and improvement federal unemployment benefits which ended on Labor Day.

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