Billions in stimulus relief still available

This photo illustration of Ben Franklin wearing a healthcare surgical mask on a one hundred dollar bill.
Ricardo Reitmeyer / Shutterstock

Though Washington has turned its attention away from stimulus checks, billions in other government support is still available from the earlier pandemic rescue packages.

'Family stimulus checks' from the child tax credit

Through December, most households with children ages 17 and under are receiving cash payments through a temporary expansion of the child tax credit.

Households can get a total of up to $1,500 for kids 6 to 17, and as much as $1,800 for each child younger than 6.

The money has been going out automatically, based on information supplied through tax returns. Families who don't file taxes have until Oct. 4 to go on the IRS website to sign up and start receiving money on Oct. 15.

Assistance for struggling renters

The government's last two stimulus packages earmarked $46.6 billion in aid for Americans who've gotten behind on their rent during the pandemic. The Treasury Department revealed on Friday that only about $7.7 billion has been distributed so far.

The money is being doled out via hundreds of state and local housing programs, and the benefits can be hefty. In Illinois, tenants and landlords who qualify can request one-time grants of up to $25,000.

Money for distressed homeowners, too

Homeowners who've had trouble keeping up with their house payments and utility bills can still seek financial relief through a $10 billion mortgage assistance program that was part of the massive stimulus package Biden signed in mid-March.

You can receive money if you own your home and have a loan balance that, in most parts of the U.S., doesn't top $548,250.

Aid for food workers

Some workers who've kept America fed throughout the pandemic are now eligible for stimulus grants from a new program announced this month by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Some grocery, farm and meat-packing workers dipped into their own funds to pay for child care, personal protective equipment and other expenses to continue their essential work. Eligible working Americans can receive grants of up to $600 that are being distributed through local agencies and nonprofits.

Other ways to stimulate your finances

Unhappy Family Sitting On Sofa Looking At Bills
Monkey Business Images / Shutterstock

If you aren’t eligible for any of these types of stimulus funds — or if you are, but the aid just isn’t enough — here are some other strategies to give yourself a financial lift.

  • Tame your debt. The pandemic may have forced you to rack up high balances on your credit cards or take out a loan with an unsavory APR. A lower-interest debt consolidation loan can help you regain control by simplifying your payments and shrinking the total cost of your debt.

  • Save when you shop. The pandemic drove many people to do the bulk of their shopping via smartphones and computers. To shave a little off the online price tags, consider downloading a free browser add-on that automatically hunts for lower prices and coupons.

  • Refinance to slash your housing payments. Today’s average mortgage rates are lower than pre-pandemic levels, and if you own a home, a refinance could mean major savings. A recent Zillow survey found almost half the homeowners who refinanced between April 2020 and April 2021 are now saving $300 or more each month.

  • Put your pennies to work. The stock market may seem unapproachable to a newcomer, but a popular app helps you get started using little more than "spare change" from your everyday purchases. You can quickly build your pennies into a portfolio.

About the Author

Adam Hardy

Adam Hardy

Freelance Contributor

Adam Hardy is a freelance contributor to MoneyWise. His work has appeared in the Asia Times, Business Insider, Forbes, Tampa Bay Times, The Penny Hoarder, Verge Magazine and several other publications. Adam also lived in Seoul where he taught grade schoolers and North Korean refugees.

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