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Stimulus update: Here’s how much money families can expect to get through December

Published Aug 19th, 2021 1:02PM EDT
stimulus update
Image: Jon Anders Wiken/Adobe

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By way of a new stimulus update, here’s the result of some pretty easy math that will let families with eligible children know the minimum amount of federal cash they can expect to receive between now and mid-December. It’s cash that, specifically, is the result of an expanded federal child tax credit, money that’s being sent out monthly to tens of millions of families thanks to the March $1.9 trillion stimulus law. And here’s the figure to remember: $1,000.

That’s the absolute, bare minimum that families with eligible children can expect to receive through December from the four remaining monthly federal child tax credit payments. Which, we should add, are currently scheduled to end on December 15. It’s $1,000 in total, by the way. Not from each check. And here’s how we arrive at that minimum figure.

Stimulus update — more money coming

Pinpointing a minimum amount that families can expect to get is a much simpler proposition, by the way, than estimating what all those families might actually get. That’s because of all the variables involved here. Families have different numbers of children, and children of different ages. Some of whom might eligible, and some of whom might not be. The child tax credit stimulus checks, meanwhile, include different amounts of money, per child, according to their ages.

Estimating a minimum amount of money that your family can expect to get in total through December is, however, much easier. Never mind all those variables above. You’re getting at least $1,000 in total through December 15 — and probably more, but that will depend on your unique circumstances.

Arriving at that $1,000 figure is done thus.

Why a minimum of $1,000?

Between now and December 15, there will be four more child tax credit checks. Sent out on September 15, October 15, November 15 and December 15.

The absolute smallest amount those checks will be, if you meet all the requirements and have at least one child between ages 6 and 17, is $250. So, $250 x four monthly checks equals $1,000.

If you have more than one child, the amount only goes up from there. Same, if you have at least one child under the age of 6. For those under-6 children, the minimum monthly check amount is $300.

As part of the last wave of checks, the IRS said it sent out around $15 billion in child tax credit payments earlier this month. And they went to around 36 million families, with most of the money coming in the form of a direct deposit. Not, that is, as a paper check.


Meanwhile, what’s next? As far as the next stimulus update, we still don’t know whether the White House will get behind — let alone whether Congress would even approve — a new round of stimulus checks after this one. Here’s one thing that is, however, already in the can.

Come December 15, take all of the six child tax credit checks you received this year between July and December. Add them up, and note that amount. You will also be receiving that same amount as a single tax credit next year, which will come into play when you file your federal taxes in 2022.

One thing to keep an eye on: President Biden wants the expansion of the federal child tax credit to continue. Now, there’s no guarantee that will happen. But odds are that one is more likely than the possibility of a stimulus check #4. Partly because, well, the tax credit is already in place. It’s an existing phenomenon. Even if it doesn’t get expanded? The government could still just chop the existing tax credit up into new monthly payments, and start this whole thing over again.

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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