During the heart of the COVID-19 pandemic, stimulus checks provided an important lifeline. The money that was deposited into people’s bank accounts helped to ensure that those who had to stop working or had to cut back hours were able to still afford to cover their essential costs.
Many people are still feeling the effects of the pandemic though. So, will a fourth stimulus check be coming soon?
5 Facts About Stimulus Checks
- Federal stimulus checks won’t be coming before the election
The current Congress is not going to provide another stimulus check. The last payment, authorized by the American Rescue Plan Act, was passed along party line votes through a special process called reconciliation. There is no further opportunity to pass legislation this way until after the election, and there is not broad enough support to get a bill through that would authorize the fourth payment.
- Worsening economic conditions would likely be necessary for another stimulus check
It is unlikely in the current economic climate that a fourth payment would be authorized even if there is a change in the makeup of Congress. There are no widespread lockdowns right now, and because of high inflation, many lawmakers are reluctant to pump more money into the economy which could make inflation worse.
- Parents are more likely than non-parents to get more stimulus money from the federal government
Although there’s little appetite in Washington D.C. for a fourth stimulus check to be distributed to everyone, there is some bipartisan support for an expanded Child Tax Credit.
The last stimulus bill, the American Rescue Plan Act, made more money available to parents by changing the current rules for the existing Child Tax Credit. Parents were eligible to receive up to $3,600 for children under age 6 and up to $3,000 for kids aged 6 to 17.
- Almost half of all states are sending stimulus checks or have done so already
Your best chance for a fourth stimulus check is to get one from your state. Almost half of the states across the U.S. have issued payments or will soon do so. The rules for when you become eligible vary depending on where you live, so check with local officials to find out if a payment is due.
- You may still be owed money from the last payments
Finally, you could potentially get another stimulus payment if you did not receive all of the money that was owed to you from prior stimulus payments. The stimulus checks were advances on a tax credit, so you can file a tax return to claim your money.
If you didn’t file a 2020 or 2021 tax return and it turns out you should have done so to get a stimulus payment, you can still submit a return even though the deadline has passed. If you didn’t owe any money, you won’t owe late filing penalties (penalties do apply if you were supposed to file and pay taxes but you didn’t).