Less than a month ago, we laid out in detail the reasoning around why we think fourth stimulus checks aren’t happening anytime soon. And definitely not happening this year.
If, and it’s a big if, one does end up coming to fruition at some point in the back half of 2021, however, we’ll at least partly owe that fourth COVID-19 payment to Denver restaurant owner Stephanie Bonin. She launched a Change.org petition calling for exactly this. More stimulus, but not merely a one-and-done new stimulus check. No, she’s pushing for recurring checks — for $2,000 per month, until the pandemic finally ends.
Are fourth stimulus checks possible?
That might sound like a stretch, but here’s the thing. Her petition has now garnered more than 2.5 million signatures. And that number keeps climbing. “Our country is still deeply struggling,” the petition notes. “Moving forward, Congress needs to make recurring checks automatic if certain triggers are met. No more waiting around for our government to send the help we need.”
The thing to keep in mind, which complicates any discussion about a fourth stimulus check, is the following. A whole new round of stimulus check distribution is about to begin. It’s not a fourth check, even though sequentially it technically is by virtue of coming after the third stimulus check.
Nevertheless, these forthcoming payments — which begin next week — are a kind of advance payment of a tax credit. A quick recap:
Don’t hold your breath for check #4
The first in a new six-month series of stimulus checks is coming one week from today, on July 15. It’s the result of an expanded tax credit that millions of families are getting, half of which will come next year — while the other half arrives in increments. Once a month, starting July and running through December.
President Biden hasn’t said anything concrete about fourth stimulus checks yet. He has, however, gone on record in support of extending this federal tax credit we’ve just noted, which is the federal child tax credit.
March’s $1.9 trillion stimulus legislation is what already expanded that child tax credit once. The way this credit is structured, it looks like Americans are getting six new stimulus checks in the coming months — even though this is all really part of one thing.
These new checks that are related to the child tax credit, meanwhile, are also the wild card in any discussion about a fourth COVID-19 related payment. Acclimating families to expect a stimulus check once a month, and then to have those checks dry up come January of 2022, might be politically problematic. Especially with next year being a crucial midterm election year.
Our take: If anything new gets done about all this, it’ll be more child tax credit stimulus checks. As opposed to stimulus check #4.