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Is a 4th stimulus check coming? Here’s what’s happening – CNET

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Families living paycheck to paycheck could benefit from more economic impact payments. 

Angela Lang/CNET

Have stimulus payment discussions for a fourth check ended now that the US economy is reopening? Last week, President Joe Biden and a bipartisan group of senators worked out the details of a possible infrastructure deal, but nothing resembling pandemic-related money was officially introduced. In early June, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said that Biden was “open to a range of ideas” regarding stimulus aid, but that he had already put forward what would be “the most effective for the short term.”

But some lawmakers are asking for additional direct financial relief for those in need — whether through a one-time payment or multiple payments — citing broad support from the public and financial analysts. Others in Washington have argued that as the financial situation improves, stimulus money should be lower on the agenda. According to a recent study, the first three stimulus checks helped reduce hardships like food insufficiency and financial instability.

We’ll explain more about these economic measures and decisions affecting you. As for other money matters, here’s how to check on your tax refund, what to know about the unemployment tax break and how to see if you qualify for the recurring child tax credit payments set to begin next month. We have updated this story recently.

Since the American Rescue Plan became law in March, the White House has put forward two packages — the American Jobs Plan and the American Families Plan — neither of which called for more stimulus aid. Then, on June 3, a White House press conference indicated that the Biden administration was going to focus its efforts on passing an infrastructure spending package. 

The new scaled-back compromise of the bipartisan infrastructure deal, which the White House announced on June 24, doesn’t include anything related to “human infrastructure,” that is, it doesn’t address child care, improved wages or job training. At the same time, the announcement states, “President Biden remains committed to the comprehensive agenda laid out in the American Jobs Plan and American Families Plan.”

Some Democratic members of the House and Senate have thrown their weight behind a fourth stimulus check. In late March, a group of lawmakers asked Biden to include regular stimulus payments in his next stimulus package. On May 17, several members of the House Ways and Means Committee made a similar request. Remarking on increased poverty and spiraling debt among Americans, they noted that “most people spent relief checks on monthly expenses or essentials such as food, utilities, rent and mortgage payments.”

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What relief money was already approved for this year? 

The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 from March contained three types of direct payments to individuals:

Stimulus checksStimulus payments of up to $1,400 have gone out to those who meet the requirements. There’s also money going to certain individuals in the form of “plus-up” payments

Child tax credit: A temporary expansion of the child tax credit for 2021 sends qualifying families up to $3,600 for each child — you can calculate your child tax credit total here. These monthly partial payments, which will begin in July, will last through the end of the year, with a final payment in 2022. 

Federal unemployment bonus: A weekly $300 unemployment bonus was extended to Sept. 6, as was Pandemic Unemployment Assistance to gig workers and freelancers (the self-employed). However, over half of state governments have chosen to opt out of the extended benefits before Sept. 6, so millions of jobless Americans in those states were cut off from those funds as early as June 12.

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Wages and benefits have been slashed for millions in the US as a result of the pandemic. 

CNET Staff

Could the White House provide more money through other means?

There are many what-ifs when it comes to future stimulus aid. Still, as part of a broader economic stimulus strategy, the Biden administration could put additional cash in the pockets of Americans via the following scenarios: 

If it makes the child tax credit raise permanent: Money from the expanded child tax credit is set to start in July with monthly payments to lower-income and middle-income families with children. In his speech before Congress, Biden called on the House and Senate to extend the expanded child tax credit to 2025. Other aspects of the American Families Plan related to health care costs and medical leave also have yet to be negotiated. 

If it passes a minimum wage hike: Some senators continue to look for ways to boost the federal minimum wage, which stands at $7.25 per hour. A few proponents want to set the bar at a $15 hourly wage, and others are looking to only go up to $11 an hour. In recent years, many states, localities and businesses have implemented minimum wage increases above the federal level. However, the discussion of a new national rate of $15 an hour has hit a roadblock in recent months, and the likelihood of it being enacted anytime soon is low.

If it renews federal unemployment bonuses beyond the fall: Some lawmakers originally petitioned for federal unemployment assistance to extend beyond Labor Day. However, dozens of states have already cut off extended benefits (or plan to), and enhanced unemployment relief is not likely to continue beyond the expiration date in other states. On June 4, Biden indicated that the temporary boost in jobless benefits should expire in early September as planned. 

Here’s how to report a problem with your stimulus check. And here’s what we know about the new IRS portals that’ll help you get money with the child tax credit.