A year & a half into this pandemic, the US government has responded to the financial crisis by sending out three stimulus checks totaling $3,200 to every eligible adult – $1,200 in March 2020, $600 in December; and an additional $1,400 just this past March under the Biden Administration’s American Rescue Plan. But with 2 in 5 people stating their income is still below what it was pre-Covid, those checks weren’t enough for many.
Recently, rumors of a Biden plan to ship out a fourth round of stimulus checks have been floating around the interwebs, but are any of them true? Here’s everything you need to know.
THE PETITION FOR MORE CHECKS
The petition for a fourth round of stimulus checks actually started on Change.org, calling for Congress to begin sending out recurring $2000 checks every month to every American for the duration of the pandemic.
The petition claims the last round of $1400 checks wasn’t enough to sustain those already struggling through the last year and a half and asks the government to do more until the pandemic ends.
While it’s true twenty-one Democratic senators signed a letter to President Biden supporting the petition on March 30th, 2021, writing that “almost 6 in 10 people say the $1,400 payments set to be included in the rescue package will last them less than three months”, it’s looking unlikely a fourth round of checks will pass.
SOME STATES ARE ALREADY ON IT
For instance, on July 12th California Governor Gavin Newsom passed the $100 billion California Comeback Plan, a stimulus package aimed at boosting the state’s economy. People making $75,000 or less per year or less are set to receive $600 checks, and an additional $500 will be sent to parents in September, or after your tax return for last year has been processed. Check you eligibility here.
Since so many were laid off in 2020, Maryland, legislation approved the repeal of all state and local taxes on unemployment benefits, while issuing checks of $500 for families and $300 for single people who filed for the Earned Income Tax Credit. This means if you applied for unemployment while getting your freelance business in check during the pandemic, you might qualify for a payment. Maryland residents can and find out more here.
Colorado Gov. Jared Polis took similar measures with the Colorado Comeback plan, allotting $375 to people who received at least one unemployment payment between March 15, 2020 and Oct. 24, 2020 – meaning that if you were laid off and got back on your freelancing feet quickly, you’re still eligible for a payment. If you filed for unemployment, you’ll receive this payment automatically, but can log in to your account to double-check your information is up-to-date.
If you’re a teacher or work part and/or freelance at a school, you’re in luck. In a few states, rather than send checks to all adults in need, state officials have made the decision to only send checks teachers and/or school staff who were made to put their health on the line while working in open schools throughout the pandemic as a retention bonus. In Florida, for instance, the state legislature approved $1,000 checks solely for public school teachers (excluding other school staff like counselors, cafeteria workers, janitors, etc). Georgia and Tennessee have similar packages in the works, with teachers and staff set to get $1,000 in both states, and in TN part-time teachers will also get paid $500.
All in all, an additional federal stimulus check is looking extremely unlikely, and recurring payments are looking even less likely – but more and more states are looking to utilize the economic recovery money to send checks to some residents.
If you believe you could be eligible for a check from your state, you can check your status on your state’s Treasury website.