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Here’s an important stimulus check update if you’re hoping for more payments

Published May 5th, 2021 1:58PM EDT
New stimulus check
Image: cabania/Adobe

A reporter asked White House press secretary Jen Psaki this week about the possibility of new stimulus checks being issued by the federal government — specifically, whether a fourth round of coronavirus relief payments would be forthcoming, following the third round of checks that were funded as part of the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan that President Biden signed into law in early March.

Her answer should worry anyone who’d been holding out hope that more payments would be on the way. Biden officials, Psaki said, would “see what members of Congress propose,” but she also added that those checks “are not free.” This is certainly quite an understatement; for proof, just check out our previous post from the end of last week, explaining that the IRS had just announced it had distributed another nearly 2 million stimulus payments that comprise the seventh batch of checks stemming from the American Rescue Plan. Including these newest payments, that brings the total number of checks distributed thus far to 163 million stimulus payments, with an approximate value of $384 billion. Not free, indeed.

This is why the Biden administration also decided to do something a little shrewd. Rather than making this all about stimulus checks as we know them, the administration since March has also found ways to pay out other, different kinds of direct aid to Americans that manage to look and feel like stimulus checks — just without the bruising political battle that would be required to approve another round of, well, actual stimulus checks.

For example, the administration right now is trying to garner support for its $1.8 trillion child care and education initiative that it’s calling the American Families Plan, which as we noted here calls for everything from greater access to Medicaid to paid family leave, free community college tuition, and much more. More importantly, it proposes expanding the existing 1-year expansion of the federal child tax credit, which starting in July will begin sending working families under a certain income threshold a monthly string of stimulus checks totaling as much as $3,600 for each eligible child.

Meantime, did you know there’s also a way you can receive a kind of stimulus “bonus” check?

The IRS has started sending out what it calls “plus-up” payments. Basically, these include “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 plus-up payments 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 2020 tax return, among other situations.

These payments will continue to be sent out on a weekly basis going forward. In fact, the overall batch of stimulus checks that we said were sent out last week included more than 730,000 of these “plus-up” payments, with a value of over $1.3 billion, according to the IRS. To see if you’re eligible for one of these payments, head over to your online tax account with the IRS, where you’ll be able to view your history as well as whether you’re eligible for another check.

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.