While stimulus check payouts are winding down, some Americans may see additional relief in the coming weeks and months. Teachers and school staff in several states have or will receive raises or bonuses, some amounting to $1,000 per person.
These funds are being distributed as part of an educational-grant program provided by the Biden administration's American Rescue Plan Act, passed earlier this year. In Georgia, for example, nearly every school employee — including teachers, teacher's aides, bus drivers and custodial and cafeteria staff — was paid a $1,000 "thank-you" bonus this spring.
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School districts in several other states, including Tennessee, Texas, California and Colorado, are offering similar incentives for teachers and staff in the hopes of retaining employees and improving morale. Michigan issued $500 hazard payments to teachers and $250 to school staff in February.
Florida's state government has also approved $1,000 bonuses for teachers and school principals, although the details of the payout plan appear to clash with federal guidelines for spending the stimulus aid. State officials say they still expect the relief to be distributed in August.
Hawaii's state legislature also took up a proposal to send one-time $2,200 bonuses to teachers, but Governor David Ige vetoed the bill. A similar plan also failed in Oregon.
More aid for essential workers?
As the Associated Press reports, the relief being considered for school staff and other essential workers varies widely from state to state. Some state governments have used federal aid to distribute hazard pay early in the pandemic to certain groups, including healthcare professionals, prison guards, child-care providers and retail and grocery employees,.
While the American Rescue Plan Act provided more aid to state and local governments to support workers, only a handful of states have actively worked to distribute those funds (such as those mentioned above providing teacher bonuses).
The other type of relief still being paid out is the expanded child-tax credit, which provides up to $3,600 per child under 6, and up to $3,000 per child ages 6 through 17, for families earning up to $75,000 (single filers) or $150,000 (married filers).
Half of those funds are being paid out in advance (up to $300 or $250 per month, respectively) through the end of 2021. Families can opt out and receive a lump credit on their 2021 taxes instead.
Families earning more than the income caps will still receive some relief. The expanded child tax credit phases out by $50 for every $1,000 in additional annual income, and all families are still eligible for the existing credit of $2,000 per child up to age 17.