Stimulus Check Update: California Payments, Teacher Bonus, Child Tax Credit

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

Angela Lang / CNET

Stimulus checks have provided households across the United States with much-needed financial assistance throughout the pandemic, as has this year’s monthly advance child tax credit Payments. Last week, 35 million families were scheduled to receive their third check for up to $ 300 per child. And about 2 million additional California residents received their second set of Golden State Stimulus checks for $ 600 (or up to $ 1,100) on September 17.

Given the generalized financial insecurity and the growing importance of delta variant In this case, there is a lot of support across the United States for more direct relief – a petition calling for recurring checks for $ 2,000 has garnered more than 2.89 million signatures. Yet Congress has not authorized another stimulus check this year and has no plans to do so. Lawmakers focus on $ 1 trillion infrastructure bill and the $ 3.5 trillion federal budget package.

While a fourth stimulus payment is not expected, some households could benefit from an additional stimulus check of up to $ 1,400 if they have had a baby or adopted this year – although the money does not arrive until 2022. Other assistance from the IRS includes additional “plus-up” payments for stimulus amounts owed, as well as unemployment benefit tax refunds 2020.

Below we will explain the latest developments in stimulus funds, the enhanced child tax credit, and other funds. here’s how check your tax refund if you haven’t received it yet, and what you need to know about unemployment tax relief. We update this story regularly.

Is a fourth stimulus check still on the agenda?

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 “the more 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. 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 “.

What stimulus money has 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).

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.

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. 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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What’s going on with the $ 2,000 stimulus check petition?

A Change.org petition that has garnered over 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

Will Congress approve more money this year?

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 being passed 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 the future of federal unemployment benefits.


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