Many Americans have endured substantial financial struggles throughout the COVID-19 pandemic but have been able to get by with the help of government stimulus checks. To date, eligible recipients have received $3,200 via three separate stimulus checks in the last 12 months. And with continued financial hardship on the horizon even as the economy recovers, there is substantial debate as to whether additional stimulus payments are needed. Many people are wondering whether the government will issue another round of stimulus checks. Continue reading to learn about the prospects of a fourth stimulus check.
PROSPECTS OF A FOURTH STIMULUS CHECK
The simple answer to this question is that a fourth stimulus check is unlikely. For one, the Biden administration has shifted the focus to its Build Back Better plan, and Republicans on the other side of the aisle are staunchly opposed to spending additional money following the most recent third round of stimulus checks. 21 senators sent a letter at the end of March calling for recurring $2,000 payments, but so far the Biden administration has yet to respond. With that said, however, many people said a third round of stimulus checks was unlikely, but Congress did ultimately push this measure through.
POTENTIAL IMPACT OF A FOURTH STIMULUS CHECK
So what exactly would a fourth stimulus check do, if it were to eventually pass? To answer this question, let’s examine the impacts of the most recent third stimulus check thus far:
- Kept ~11 million people out of poverty
- Along with other targeted measures, the $1,400 checks reduced the projected 2021 poverty rate from 13.7% to 8.7%
- Retail sales grew to 9.8% in March
Looking at the future needs of Americans around the country, 28 million Americans are projected to be in poverty in 2021. Another round of $1,400 payments would have a significant impact on overall poverty and would specifically help minority groups:
- Overall poverty reduction to ~6.5%
- Poverty reduction among Blacks from 10.5% to ~7.7%
- Poverty reduction among U.S. Latinos from 13.3% to ~9.5%
While direct cash payments would have a substantial impact as shown by the numbers above, economists have stated that recurring payments to the poorest Americans would have a longer lasting impact. Those who are against the fourth stimulus check, however, argue that the government has already spent a considerable amount on stimulus measures and say that the associated tax increases could hamper economic recovery.
CHILD STIMULUS PAYMENTS ON THE HORIZON
While the prospect of a fourth round of stimulus checks is uncertain, there are child stimulus payments on the horizon that are most definitely certain. Child stimulus payments are set to begin in July for families with $75,000 or less in gross adjusted income, $150,000 for married couples filing jointly, or $112,500 for heads of household. Families with $75,000-$95,000 in gross adjusted income will still be eligible but will receive lower benefits. The stimulus payments will total $3,000 annually per child aged 6-17 and $3,600 per child under 6. Distribution will take the form of monthly payments from July through December 2021, along with a lump sum payment in April 2022.