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A fourth stimulus check is coming soon, but there’s a very big catch

Published May 3rd, 2021 12:37PM EDT
New stimulus check
Image: Roman Lipovskiy/Adobe

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If you caught our post from over the weekend, then you’re aware that there’s tremendous support right now among members of the general public for a new stimulus check — a fourth such stimulus payment, to be more specific, following the third direct payment for $1,400 that the federal government under President Biden began sending out in waves starting last month.

We know this because a Colorado restaurant owner named Stephanie Bonin started a petition on calling for more stimulus checks, and as of the time of this writing, her petition has garnered almost 2.1 million signatures. Moreover, she’s actually getting her wish, in a manner of speaking. Starting in July, monthly payments that amount to quasi-stimulus checks will start being sent out to millions of American families. And an actual fourth stimulus check is coming soon, albeit to residents of one state.

Earlier this year, California Gov. Gavin Newsom as well as state legislators unveiled a $9.6 billion coronavirus relief bill for the state that, among other things, included funding to support a one-time stimulus payment of $600 to 5.7 million eligible California residents. The stimulus plan will actually send either $600 or $1,200 to Californians who’ve already filed a 2020 tax return this year, though the most unsatisfying aspect to this stimulus is no doubt the distribution cadence.

The stimulus checks will be sent out bimonthly. In other words, you could be waiting up to two months, until the next batch of checks is sent out, to get yours. Assuming, of course, that you live in the Golden State.

The governor’s website goes on to explain that in addition to sending one-time $600 payments to households receiving the California Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) for 2020, taxpayers with Individual Tax Identification Numbers (ITINs) who didn’t receive $1,200 stimulus checks last spring or $600 federal payments earlier this year will also get $600 payments from the state. Furthermore, any ITIN taxpayers who also qualify for the California EITC will receive a total of $1,200. Anyone with questions about these checks as part of California’s “Golden State Stimulus” program is recommended to call 800-852-5711 or for those outside the US, 916-845-6500. You can also communicate with a representative online.

Meantime, don’t forget: While the checks we just mentioned are specifically for California residents, families with eligible dependent children will start receiving stimulus checks of as much as $300 a month ($3,600, over the course of a year) for each eligible child starting in July. These payments were made possible thanks to an expansion of the federal child tax credit, which was included in the $1.9 trillion stimulus legislation that President Biden signed into law in early March.

How eligibility for the payments breaks down: if you’re part of a married couple earning $150,000 in total or less, or are an individual making $75,000 or less, you’ll get $250 for each child between the ages of 6 and 17 from July through December for a total of $1,500 (6 months x $250). You’ll get $300 for each child under the age of 6. The balance of the $3,600 will come as a tax credit next year.

Andy Meek Trending News Editor

Andy Meek is a reporter based in Memphis 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.

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