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How you can get up to $40,000 in stimulus payments starting right now

Published Jul 21st, 2021 12:36PM EDT
IRS stimulus payments
Image: WINDSONG/Adobe

The petition to garner 3 million signatures in support of ensuring $2,000 IRS stimulus payments to Americans for the duration of the coronavirus pandemic keeps getting closer to its goal. The tally now stands at more than 2.6 million signatures, as of the time of this writing. Proof, as if any was really needed, that there is a huge base of support that’s behind the federal government continuing its extraordinary giveaway of money to Americans as a consequence of the health crisis.

But it also indicates a failure to understand just how expansive the $1.9 trillion stimulus law from March really was. Not to mention other adjacent stimulus efforts that coincided with it, such as at the state level in places like California.

IRS stimulus payments

The thing that many don’t seem to fully grasp, even at this late stage of the game, is just how much money the federal government has been throwing at people over the last 18 months, since the start of the pandemic. And this year, the money started pouring forth even more from the federal spigot. Such that it’s not inconceivable that some people could end up with stimulus payments and other related benefits from the government that, taken together, amount to the equivalent of a not-too-shabby yearly salary.

Adding up the stimulus checks, for example, plus the expanded federal child tax credit benefit and other such stimulus giveaways, led CBS News to calculate the following. To get a sense of the scope of the giveaway that we’re talking about here, according to the news network, a low-income working family — with two children, both under the age of 6 — could end up with as much as $40,000. That’s through a mix of checks and IRS stimulus payments, plus tax credits and more, from the federal government.

Adding it all up

Here, this is how quickly you can see that all the benefits start to stack up:

An eligible family of four with two children under 17 years old, for example, should have gotten a total of $11,400 in direct payments. That’s via the three stimulus checks, according to the CBS calculation, plus extra payments for children. Biden’s stimulus law also included benefits to cover the expenses associated with caring for dependents. As well as the child tax credits that we mentioned above.

Other stimulus benefits

Speaking of those child tax credits, those will give parents $3,600 for each child they have under the age of six. And $3,000 for each child between ages six and 17. That money, by the way, is coming via once-a-month checks through December 15.

Meanwhile, the Earned Income Tax Credit also got increased this year. Single taxpayers with no children can get $1,502 in 2021, up from about $500 before. At the same time, low- to moderate-income families with three or more kids will receive more than $6,700 per household.

Another tax credit steering more money to families is the Child and Dependent Care tax credit. Among the benefits here is that families can claim up to 50% of qualified child care expenses. Suppose, for example, your day care costs run to as much as $16,000 each year. With this tax credit, you can claim $8,000 as a tax credit when you file your federal tax return.

As you can see, the federal government is pushing out a lot more than just IRS stimulus payments right now. There’s also a $50/month Internet assistance benefit for low-income households, available via the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program. Per CBS, the American Rescue Plan also extended a temporary 15% bump in food-stamp benefits through September 30. That adds about $27 in extra benefits per person each month.

Andy Meek
Andy Meek Trending News Reporter

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.