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4th stimulus check: Will you get more money this year?

Fourth stimulus check update: Possible amount, timeline and White House comment
(Image credit: Getty Images)

A fourth stimulus check could send another round of relief payments to some Americans. Monthly stimulus checks and $2,000 stimulus checks have been proposed, even while third stimulus checks are still being distributed.  

During his first address to Congress, Biden said a majority of Americans have received their $1,400 stimulus check, but did not mention a fourth stimulus check. Then, during a press conference last week, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said "we'll see what members of Congress propose" when asked about another round of direct payments.

Although the latest jobs report paints a shaky picture for the economic recovery, there's currently no legislation supporting a fourth stimulus check. There aren't specific stimulus check guidelines on the table. The most noteworthy economic effort in government currently is President Biden's $2.25 trillion infrastructure investment proposal.

The infrastructure bill doesn't mention a fourth stimulus check or direct payments similar to those millions have received over the course of the pandemic. Rather, it's a long-term initiative to rescue, recover and rebuild the country's financial standing. 

The President's American Families Plan, which is separate from the American Jobs Plan, will seek to send stimulus payments of sorts to low-earning people with kids. Biden proposed extending the child tax credit — where families will receive a tax credit of $3,600 for children under six, and $3,000 per child over that age — through 2025, up to 12 weeks of paid leave, and subsidies for childcare.

That's not to say another widespread stimulus check can't be written into the next major economic initiative. Although the consensus is that a fourth stimulus check isn't likely, many initially questioned the need for a second and third stimulus check too. 

The third stimulus check is still going out, having reached some 165 million Americans. Be sure to check your stimulus check status or call the IRS stimulus check phone number with questions regarding your payment. Read on for everything there is to know about the possibility of another round of payments.

Fourth stimulus check amount

The fourth stimulus check amount depends on several factors. If passed, it would probably look similar to the previous checks, although that's not guaranteed.

For reference, the first stimulus check equalled $1,200, while the second stimulus check brought $600 to eligible Americans. The third stimulus check, which the IRS is still in the process of distributing, is worth up to $1,400 per person, although the eligibility requirements are narrower.

Every check allowed people who make up to $75,000 a year, according to their most recent tax returns, to qualify for the entire payment. Couples filing jointly got the full payment if they have a joint total income of $150,000 or less. 

With the first two checks, those making up to $99,000 alone or $198,000 as a couple received prorated payments. With the third check, individuals who earn more than $80,000 per year or $160,000 per year as joint filers get nothing. Our guide to the stimulus check calculator can show you what your own eligibility looks like.

Fourth stimulus check timeline or release date

Right now, there is no fourth stimulus check timeline or fourth stimulus check release date. Until legislation is in motion, we can't say how soon more relief money will arrive. We can't say whether more relief money is coming, at all.

That said, the third stimulus check timeline happened rather quickly. It only took a few weeks for Congress to debate President Biden's American Rescue Plan. Once the President signed the bill, $1,400 checks were put in motion.

The IRS can begin sending out checks in the same manner it sent the previous stimulus payments. Since the framework is already in place, Americans could begin receiving the fourth stimulus checks about two weeks after a relief bill allowing another round of direct payments is approved.

Are $2,000 monthly stimulus checks possible?

In response to President Biden's $2.25 trillion proposal, a group of 21 Senators sent a letter urging the inclusion of stimulus checks in the next bout of relief legislation. The group is calling for recurring payments, meaning people would get monthly checks from the government. 

“We urge you to include recurring direct payments and automatic unemployment insurance extensions tied to economic conditions in your Build Back Better long-term economic plan,” wrote the group, which consists of Senator Elizabeth Warren, Senator Bernie Sanders and others.

An earlier stimulus check proposal suggested $2,000 monthly payments until the pandemic is over. Representative Ilhan Omar tweeted that she wants to see $2,000 per month in late January.

If this amount sounds familiar, it's because now-Vice President Kamala Harris threw her support behind $2,000 recurring checks during second stimulus check negotiations last summer. 

The proposal has also gained plenty of support outside of Congress: six online petitions calling for $2,000 monthly stimulus checks until the end of the pandemic have been posted, and between them they've now gained more than 2.3 million signatures. The biggest petition, from, has been signed by more than 2.1 million people alone.

Plus-up payments

While a fourth stimulus check is not likely for now, in the meantime the IRS has released information about plus-up payments and Recovery Rebate Credits, two ways to get additional money from the three stimulus bills passed since the COVID-19 pandemic began. 

Both the plus-up payment and the Recovery Rebate Credit might get you more stimulus money, depending on your 2020 tax return. The plus-up payments, detailed in an IRS news release April 1, are supplements to the third stimulus check. 

If you qualify for a plus-up payment, you will receive an extra check as part of the weekly rounds of stimulus payments that the IRS has been making every Wednesday.

The Recovery Rebate Credit, as explained in an IRS news release April 5, is a tax credit related to the first ($1,200) and second ($600) stimulus checks. If you qualify for the Recovery Rebate Credit, your 2020 taxes will be reduced and you may receive the credit as part of a tax refund. 

Both the plus-up payment and the rebate credit will be determined by your 2020 tax return. But while the plus-up payment will come to you automatically once your return is processed by the IRS, the rebate credit is something you have to claim on your 2020 return. We have more info on both the plus-up payment and Recovery Rebate Credit

Fourth stimulus check approval: Here's what it'll take

The White House hasn't responded to the renewed support for stimulus checks, and the general sentiment is that a fourth stimulus check isn't likely. Economists have suggested we're moving past the pandemic's worst financial woes, although there are signs that Americans could still use relief.

Experts certainly seem in agreement that there won't be a fourth stimulus check. The latest stimulus package, the American Rescue Plan, is "gonna be the last on that front," Deutsche Bank senior U.S. economist Brett Ryan told Fortune. "No more checks."

Ed Mills, Washington policy analyst at Raymond James, agreed, telling CNBC recently "I think it’s unlikely at this time. D.C. has largely started to pivot towards the recovery and an infrastructure bill."

Are we getting another stimulus check in 2021?

Whether we get another stimulus check in 2021 depends on how much momentum the proposals for more checks gain. 

There are still some who've not yet received the third stimulus check, but we've got a handy guide for what to do if you're missing your stimulus check payment. It's worth checking if you're eligible for most recent stimulus check as it's worth up to $1,400 per person. 

The IRS has reported that taxpayers whose direct deposit information is on file should have seen their payments reach their bank accounts last month. Those who are waiting on paper checks and debit cards can expect to receive their funds in the coming weeks. 

If you have received the third stimulus check and feel it's too low, then take a look at our guide to the stimulus check calculator as that can show you what your own eligibility looks like. Keep in mind that there are a few factors that will effect the amout you are due or have received. If you are missing any funds, then make sure to claim them by filing a federal tax return before the deadline of May 17. 

Do people need a fourth stimulus check?

According to CNBC, there is a case for a fourth stimulus check that goes beyond the calls from lawmakers. The Economic Security Project, an organization that advocates for guaranteed income, says there's a need for more stimulus checks.

“We need at least one more check,” said Adam Ruben. Ruben, the campaign director at the Economic Security Project, also said that stimulus checks should be "automatic," and not stalled as they were last summer when second stimulus check negotiations caused a long gap between the $1,200 and $600 payments. 

During that period, up to 8 million people fell into poverty, according to CNBC.

As reported by The New York Times, Employers added only 266,000 jobs in April, according to the latest jobs report. This falls short of the million or so expected. In addition, the unemployment rate increased to 6.1%. 

Meanwhile, Reuters reports that hiring has recently stalled with some small businesses. In addition, management firm UKG says that early May data shows that work in manufacturing, retail and health sectors are all down. 

"Nearly one million new people are filing for unemployment every single week,” said Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal. “This unprecedented moment demands an unprecedented response. People don’t only need relief, they need stability, certainty, and predictability and the ABC Act delivers them exactly that. Our legislation acknowledges that a one-time survival check isn’t enough to get people through this crisis. Instead, we send out recurring checks every month during the crisis and for a year after it ends. That is money in people’s pockets, and certainty in their lives.”

However, Republican Senate Leader Mitch Mcconnell doesn't appear to agree with this. In an interview Mcconnell told 44News:  "This economy is poised to boom. I can't imagine the economy is going to need a fourth round."

California stimulus check

While the possibility of a fourth stimulus check from Congress is not very high, there is a chance that Californians may see a fourth stimulus check. As part of Governor Gavin Newsom's $100 billion "California Comeback Plan," the governor is proposing sending $600 checks to those earning less than $75,000, with an additional $500 per child.

Newsom said this would represent nearly 11 million California residents, approximately 78 percent of the state. However, any such payments would require the approval of the legislature.

Vaccination impact

The number of Covid-19 cases has been falling since late April as more Americans get vaccinations, and that is spurring hope for a further economic recovery and for life returning to normal. As of May 15, 36% of adults in the U.S. have been fully vaccinated, according to the CDC.

There's still a long way to go, but the CDC has saw fit to change its guidance around masks. It now says that those who are fully vaccinated no longer need to wear a mask outdoors or indoors with some exceptions. Those include traveling on planes and public transit. However, while some states are lifting their own mask mandates, others are being more conservative for now and are taking a wait-and-see approach.