Fading fast: Families are already due for more relief

President Joe Biden
Oliver Contreras / UPI / Shutterstock
President Biden's administration will distribute monthly payments to families starting this summer.

Right now, the Democrats in charge at the White House and on Capitol Hill are trumpeting a temporary change in tax law that will deliver at least another $1,500 in stimulus money to many U.S. households during the second half of this year.

As part of an expanded child tax credit, eligible families will receive monthly $300 checks for each kid under age 6, and $250 for children between ages 6 and 17. The payments will go out for six months, starting on July 15.

“Nearly 40 million families with children will soon have critical financial relief that will help sustain them during the pandemic and in the days ahead," Speaker Pelosi said on Monday, after the administration confirmed the payment schedule.

The money will cover 88% of children in the U.S., according to the announcement from the IRS and the Treasury Department.

President Biden has proposed a $1.8 trillion "families plan" that would, among other things, extend the expansion of the child credit through 2025. Pelosi and her fellow Democratic leaders want to make the beefed-up credit permanent.

Fading fast: Washington has largely moved on

When asked recently about whether there will be more stimulus checks, Biden's spokeswoman batted the question to the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue.

"We'll see what members of Congress propose, but those are not free," White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said.

Democratic congressional leaders are focusing on Biden’s families and infrastructure plans — and haven't said anything about a fourth stimulus check.

Given the efforts it took to push through stimulus check No. 3, a fourth round is anything but a sure thing.

Democrats hold the House and Senate by thin majorities and had to "target" the last checks away from higher-earning Americans in order to win over some of the more conservative Democratic senators, who were skeptical about the need for the third payments.

Still in play: A petition for a fourth check keeps growing

Big family with parents, grandparents and child shopping for food in the supermarket. Little boy exploring the freezers
d13 / Shutterstock
Many families have been using their stimulus money for essentials, like food.

Distribution of the last stimulus checks started two months ago, and for many households that money is long gone. Calls for more relief are growing louder from Americans in financial turmoil.

A Change.org petition pleading for Congress to provide $2,000 payments for adults and $1,000 payments for children and continue regular checks for the duration of the COVID crisis has now been signed by more than 2.2 million people. Lawmakers often respond to public pressure.

“Many people face large debts from last year for things like utilities, rent and child care,” the petition says.

In a census survey, most people who gave an answer said they spent their third stimulus checks on food, housing (rent or mortgage), utilities or paying down debt.

While some people did use their stimulus payments to invest in the high-flying stock market — a trend that has been widely reported on — others spent the money on other nonessential, but necessary, products including affordable life insurance. Sales of those policies have surged during the pandemic.

Still in play: More lawmakers want additional payments

In letters to the president, scores of Democrats have been calling for new stimulus payments since before the last COVID-19 aid bill was passed in March.

The latest letter came on Monday, with seven members of the House Ways and Means Committee urging Biden to include recurring direct payments in his families plan.

The letter says the last $1,400 check was not enough to get households through the year, and that additional benefits should be tied to the country’s economic conditions and not "constantly shifting legislative timelines and ad hoc solutions."

A fourth — and fifth — check, they argue, would keep millions of Americans out of poverty.

"Families and workers shouldn't have to worry about whether they’ll have enough money to pay for essentials in the months ahead as the country continues to fight a global pandemic and recession," the letter says.

What if you can't wait for Washington to decide?

Serious couple with little girl counting budget at home
Iakov Filimonov / Shutterstock
If you need another stimulus check now, you might essentially make your own.

If you're running low on money and could use another stimulus check, here are some ways to cut costs and maybe earn extra cash to help with the bills until the bigwigs in Washington settle on whether to provide at least one more direct payment.

About the Author

Nancy Sarnoff

Nancy Sarnoff

Senior Reporter/Editor

Nancy Sarnoff is a senior reporter and editor at MoneyWise. Previously, she covered commercial and residential real estate for the Houston Chronicle where she also hosted Looped In, a podcast about the region’s growth, development and economy. Her work has been recognized by the National Association of Real Estate Editors and the Society of American Business Editors and Writers.

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