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Biden isn’t sending out any more stimulus checks, but there’s another way you might get one

Published May 19th, 2021 1:39PM EDT
New stimulus check
Image: cabania/Adobe

Here’s a pretty clear indication of how fervently many people are still hoping that Congress soon passes legislation that gets signed and implemented by the Biden administration involving the distribution of yet another round of new stimulus checks.

More than 2.2 million people as of the time of this writing have signed a petition calling on the federal government not only to approve another round of stimulus checks but to establish a recurring series of those stimulus payments. To give people some predictability and some regular emergency financial aid that they could build their budgets around. But so far, unfortunately, there’s no indication that President Biden wants to spend any of his remaining political capital on a new round of coronavirus relief payments, something that he’ll probably be increasingly less likely to do since in 2022, believe it or not, it will already be time for midterm elections. But this assessment also isn’t necessarily the death knell for new stimulus checks that it might seem to be.

Because what’s also true is that just because the federal government — which previously sent out three stimulus checks, generally for $1,200, $600, and $1,400, though some people received more and some people got less than those amounts — might not be sending out more payments, that doesn’t mean those same payments can’t come from other sources. For example? The states can, and some already are, stepping into the gap.

At least two states are already going down this route. They include California and Maryland.

Regarding the former, a statewide relief package announced by California Gov. Gavin Newsom is funding an estimated 5.7 million stimulus checks for residents of the Golden State. It includes sending one-time $600 payments to households receiving the California Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) for 2020, while some taxpayers with Individual Tax Identification Numbers (ITINs) 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.

Meanwhile, the state of Maryland has also sent out payments — of $300 to individuals and $500 to families — who claimed the earned income tax credit on their 2019 state tax returns. And along these same lines, the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan that President Biden signed into law back in March also includes a mechanism whereby this kind of thing can also continue at the state and local level.

It’s called the State and Local Coronavirus Fiscal Recovery Fund. Basically, states, counties, and cities will get a tranche of money from a pot of funds made possible by that stimulus law, and they’ll be allowed to distribute it to households that have experienced hardship because of the pandemic.

Here’s what the US Treasury has to say about the pot of money, for which rules were released in recent days: “Local governments will receive funds in two tranches, with 50% provided beginning in May 2021 and the balance delivered approximately 12 months later. States that have experienced a net increase in the unemployment rate of more than 2 percentage points from February 2020 to the latest available data as of the date of certification will receive their full allocation of funds in a single payment; other states will receive funds in two equal tranches.”

Finally, we should: Just because the Biden administration doesn’t release a fourth check styled as a stimulus payment along the lines of the previous three, that doesn’t mean the federal government won’t be sending out related payments under a different moniker. Indeed, that very thing is about to start in July. To learn more, check out our previous reporting below:

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.