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Biden’s stimulus checks are giving one group of people a huge payday

Published Mar 18th, 2021 3:02PM EDT
Third stimulus check
Image: SkyLine/Adobe

The first tranches of stimulus checks made possible by the $1.9 trillion economic relief legislation President Biden signed into law started hitting bank accounts this week, in what we’ve said before felt a little like a new kind of payday in America. The millions of electronic credits, transferring billions of dollars of wealth from the federal government’s coffers to ordinary taxpayers, mean that a third stimulus check since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic is arriving now for Americans.

If you’ve been following our coverage at all or even paying attention to the broader media narrative here, you’re probably already at least generally aware that the base amount of the new checks, for most people, will be $1,400. Some of you, however, will get a bit less than that because of your income situation, while some of you will get more — a lot more, in fact. Read on for the details.

In the weeks leading up to this inauguration, Democratic voters had been promised $2,000 stimulus checks once the Biden administration took office. Setting the base amount at $1,400 raised eyebrows, though, with Biden officials having to do a bit of an awkward messaging dance by saying that payment actually equals $600 when coupled with the second stimulus check everyone received under President Trump (for $600, meaning $1,400 + $600 = $2,000).

The payments that families with dependent children receive, however, will easily get that promised $2,000, and then some. Families, in fact, will make out the best once all the direct deposits have been finished and the final paper check under this new stimulus plan has been mailed out. That’s because both parents will receive a payment that includes $2,800 ($1,400 for each of them), plus an additional $1,400 for every eligible dependent child. That’s another $2,800 for a family of four, which would get $5,600 total.

For families, the stimulus bounty also doesn’t stop there. They can also reap the benefits of an expanded child tax credit of $3,600 for children up to age 6 and $3,000 for children ages 6 to 17, which could mean an extra $6,000 to $7,200 for that hypothetical family of four. Check out our earlier post here, for more detail along these lines, and especially for a reminder that the stimulus bill is significant for reasons that go well beyond the $1,400 direct payments.

While the $1,400 payments have gotten an outsized share of attention, for example, most people have overlooked the fact that the Biden stimulus bill includes not one but three benefits that will pay out in a form you could describe as a stimulus check. There are the $1,400 checks, of course, but also the expanded child tax credit — that one will pay out as a monthly check over the course of a year. That’s check #2, with the third stimulus-related check being expanded jobless aid made possible by the $1.9 trillion stimulus package. That one will pay out in the form of a $300/week check through September 6.

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.