The IRS continues to send millions of stimulus checks to eligible individuals and families. The latest wave is going out to 4 million Americans, the IRS said. That $1,400 amount, however, is just one piece of aid the federal government is making to people struggling through the pandemic.
Along with the third stimulus check, two other payments promise long-term support for individuals and families: renewed weekly $300 federal payments to unemployed workers and an expansion to the child tax credit that'll send periodic payments to eligible families throughout the year -- here's when those CTC payments could arrive.
Here's what you need to know about all the ways you can get more money through these federal programs, and here are seven ways to get more money back on 2020 taxes. This story was recently updated.
Check 1: The $1,400 third stimulus payment
The $1,400 stimulus check has already gone out to tens of millions of Americans, with more batches of payments going out over the coming weeks -- you can track the status of your payment. Under new eligibility rules, some folks who qualified for the first two payments may not make the cut for the third. A hard ceiling on income, designed to exclude higher earners from getting a check, comes with a rule change regarding the use of dependents in the stimulus check formula. Check out our stimulus payment calculator to see how the income cap affects you.
The new legislation gives the IRS a deadline of Dec. 31 to finish sending the stimulus checks.
With this third round of payments, adult dependents as well as children and families with mixed-status citizenship are included. Here are all the ways a third check could bring you more money, including if you had a baby in 2020. Here's how tax season could affect your payment, what to do if you run into a stimulus check problem -- and how to report it -- and how the third check compares with the first two payments approved in 2020.
Check 2: Expanded child tax credit for 2021, which is more than double the amount of the stimulus checks
The new American Rescue Plan expands the child tax credit that currently allows families to claim a credit of up to $2,000 for children under 17. The plan extends the benefit to lower-income families who otherwise wouldn't receive the credit. Families can claim as much as $3,600 per year for a child under 6 and up to $3,000 per year for those between 6 and 17. Here's how often you can expect to get the payments and how to find out if you qualify for the larger payments.
Check 3: $300 in additional weekly unemployment benefits, including a new tax break
Under the new legislation, federal unemployment checks have been extended to Sept. 6 at a $300 weekly rate. The package also reduces the tax burden on the unemployment money for households earning less than $150,000 a year. The new law renewed the weekly $300 federal unemployment checks, which would've expired March 14, without a gap in funding.
The plan also removes a provision that you have to make $2,500 a year to receive the credit and makes the credits fully refundable. In addition, it expands tax credits for one year to help cover the cost of child care. Families could get back as a tax credit as much as half their spending on child care for children under age 13, up to $4,000 for a single child and $8,000 for two or more children.
What's going on with the student loan debt forgiveness?
In March, President Joe Biden's administration approved a $1 billion loan forgiveness for students who were defrauded by their colleges, or if their school shut down. The change is projected to affect 73,000 people.
Though forgiving student loan debt has been part of the discussion since January, Senate Democrats and the president have different dollar figures in mind for how much to cancel. Biden on Feb. 16 said he supports canceling $10,000 in student debt per borrower and extending the pause on student loan repayment. His figure is at odds with a Senate Democrat proposal, however, that calls for canceling up to $50,000 in student debt per borrower.
"I do think that, in this moment of economic pain and strain, that we should be eliminating interest on the debts that are accumulated, No. 1. And No. 2, I'm prepared to write off the $10,000 debt, but not $50,000," Biden said. While the House and Senate versions of the bill don't forgive student debt, the legislation includes a provision that will make tax-free any forgiven student loan, according to The New York Times.
What about money for coronavirus vaccine distribution?
More than 161 million vaccine doses have so far been administered in the US -- and over 207 million distributed. More than a month early, the country reached Biden's goal of 100 million jabs during the first 100 days of his administration (April 30 marks his 100th day in office), with a new goal of 200 million shots in the first 100 days.
The president's plans set aside $160 billion for a nationwide vaccine program that's been helping state and local governments get the vaccine into people's arms.
More funding to help reopen schools during the pandemic
Getting students back in physical classrooms is a critical piece of the economic recovery. The new law works to return students to schools by having a majority of kindergarten to eighth-grade classrooms safely reopen in the first 100 days of the administration.
More money for state, local and tribal governments
Since the fall, economists have pushed for Congress to provide funding for state and local public jobs. "The case for additional aid is strong because the downside risk of doing nothing is quite real," the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank, said at the end of last year. "The fact that over 1 million state and local government workers have lost their jobs is a sign that fiscal distress has had real consequences." In addition to state and local funding, the law provides funds for food and water assistance and food stamps.
The eviction moratorium now extends through June
Days before the moratorium was set to expire, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky extended the federal halt on evictions and foreclosures through June 30. On Jan. 20, Biden signed an executive order extending the eviction ban through this month.
No $15 minimum wage increase right now
Senate Democrats jettisoned a provision in the relief bill to boost the minimum wage, after the Senate parliamentarian, who determines which items can and can't be included in the bill under a technique known as budget reconciliation, determined that the provision fell outside of guidelines. Proponents will look to include the $15 hourly rate in another bill.
"If any Senator believes this is the last time they will cast a vote on whether or not to give a raise to 32 million Americans, they are sorely mistaken," Sen. Bernie Sanders tweeted March 5. "We're going to keep bringing it up, and we're going to get it done because it is what the American people demand and need."
For more information about stimulus money, here are the top facts you need to know about stimulus checks, how to calculate the size of your check and how your dependents could figure into your payment.