Stimulus Control Update: California Payments, Teacher Bonuses, More

A fourth stimulus payment is not on the agenda in 2021.

Angela Lang / CNET

Three stimulus checks have been sent to millions of people in the United States since the start of the pandemic to help cover basic expenses and bills. But despite everything, families continue to face many difficulties as delta variant cases are increasing and the increased unemployment benefits have expired. There is a petition calling for recurring checks for $ 2,000 to all Americans, which has garnered over 2.9 million signatures. Still, Congress has no plans to approve a fourth federal stimulus check at this time.

In response, several state governments have implemented their own programs to provide residents with additional financial relief. Millions of Californians have 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. Educators received bonuses in states like Florida, Michigan, and Tennessee, and some frontline workers in Vermont received checks.

At the national level, advance monthly child tax credit payments (up to $ 300 per month for each child) continue to be distributed to millions of families until December, with the next October 15th. Lawmakers are crafting a federal budget that could provide assistance in other ways. And some people may qualify for up to $ 1,400 in additional stimulus funds if they had a baby this year, although that money will not come until 2022.

Here’s what you need to know about the stimulus funds that have been approved and what other help you might get. If you have not yet filed your 2020 income tax return, don’t miss the October 15th deadline next week – it might get you more stimulus money. Here’s what you need to know about a possible extension of the child tax credit and how to check your unemployment tax relief. We recently updated this story.


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Child tax credit: everything we know


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Stimulus money that’s been approved

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 cap 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 making up the difference between the amount of stimulus you have already received (based on your 2019 return) and the amount you are 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).

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.

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

Sarah Tew / CNET

A fourth stimulus check is not in any proposal

The researchers found that the first three stimulus checks helped reduce hardships like food shortage 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 trillion 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 the care of people. ‘children, improved wages or vocational training. . Instead, these items must be included in the proposed $ 3.5 trillion reconciliation package, which is likely to be scaled back. 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 called on 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 “.

$ 2,000 stimulus check petition has nearly 3 million signatures

A Change.org petition that has garnered more than 2.9 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.

Congress may approve more money soon

While there is a lot we still don’t know and a lot to debate, there could be extra 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 have put forward a proposal for it. make 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.

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