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Fourth stimulus check is coming for Christmas – find out if you get one

stimulus check with IRS form

‘Tis the season — for both holiday cheer, as well as a copious amount of stimulus money. As the final month of 2021 winds down, there’s going to be no shortage of emergency cash flowing to millions of Americans. Some of which amounts to a fourth stimulus check, even, as the emergency response to the coronavirus pandemic continues unabated.

If we step back for a moment to consider this year, the stimulus efforts have in fact been so expansive and so extraordinary, it’s almost hard to believe that, back in January? We were still months away from even the idea of a third stimulus check being a reality. And the six-check child tax credit payment series, of course, only came to fruition months after the March passage of the $1.9 trillion law that made stimulus check #3 possible. Meanwhile, as we get closer to the final days of 2021, here’s a look at some of the final payments of 2021 — which might even come as a kind of stimulus-related surprise to some people.

Surprise stimulus payments

hand holding stimulus check and envelope
A hand is shown holding a stimulus check and envelope. Image source: Jason Raff/Adobe

For some people, the surprise isn’t the check itself — but, rather, how big it is.

Take December’s child tax credit payment, for example. Most of the checks the IRS issues will be for the standard amount. A few hundred dollars, per eligible child. Some families, however, will have only just now started to get these checks in December.

If that’s you, and if you signed up by November 15? The IRS is actually going to send you a sort of catch-up check this month.

What took other families six checks to receive will come to others as a lump-sum, catch-up payment. This is a way to ensure that even latecomers, as it were, still get the money they’re owed — as much as $1,800, per eligible child, via these lump-sum catch-ups. The sixth and final checks, by the way, are going out on December 15. Also this month, on a related note, we might get word that these checks will be extended into 2022.

Fourth stimulus check in certain states

The wave of stimulus checks coming around Christmas also includes payments from other sources, not just the federal government.

States like Maine, for example, are sending out checks to residents. In that state, a one-time payment worth $285 is going to more than 500,000 residents. Those checks are going out in waves through the end of the year.

Same with California, where the Golden State Stimulus II is paying residents as much as $1,100. Likewise, in Florida, where Gov. Ron DeSantis proposed another round of $1,000 payments to teachers.

Plus-up payments

Meanwhile, the end of December also marks the end of what’s known as “plus-up” payments. Basically, the IRS describes these as “supplemental payments for people who … received payments based on their 2019 tax returns but are eligible for a new or larger payment based on their recently processed 2020 tax returns.”

The IRS is sending these out through December 31. The payments, by the way, could also include a situation where a person’s income slipped in 2020 compared to 2019, or a person had a new child or dependent listed on their latest tax return, among other situations.

Andy Meek profile photo

Andy Meek is a reporter who has covered media, entertainment, and culture for over 20 years. His work has appeared in outlets including The Guardian, Forbes, and The Financial Times, and he’s written for BGR since 2015. Andy's coverage includes technology and entertainment, and he has a particular interest in all things streaming. Over the years, he’s interviewed legendary figures in entertainment and tech that range from Stan Lee to John McAfee, Peter Thiel, and Reed Hastings.