After two years of living in a perpetual state of crisis over the Covid pandemic, some huge changes have now come to fruition. The face mask mandate, for example, is no longer in effect on planes, trains, and other forms of public transport. And, likewise, federal stimulus checks meant to mitigate some of the economic pain associated with the pandemic, are a thing of the past.
Over the past 12 months, there were more than a half-dozen stimulus checks distributed by the federal government. That wave of payments includes a third stimulus check for $1,400, as well as six monthly child tax credit payments. So many stimulus payments, in other words, that answering the question “Where’s my stimulus check?” must first be preceded by, well, which one are you talking about?
Ultimately, the checks flowing from the federal government transferred as much as $16 billion to taxpayers on a monthly basis. For at least six months, according to the IRS. And that only refers to the child tax credit payments. Meanwhile, there’s still a smattering of stimulus checks at the state level going out to different constituent groups. Below, we’ll take a closer look at it all.
Stimulus payment background
New stimulus check updates pop up all the time, which is why we’ve created this informative roundup. Make sure you check back here often because we’ll provide new stimulus check updates anytime new info becomes available. In the meantime, before we answer the “Where’s my stimulus check” question, let’s take a quick look at how we got here.
The catalyst was the $1.9 trillion stimulus package that Congress passed in early 2021, called the “American Rescue Plan.” It sailed through Congress and landed on President Biden’s desk less than two months after he took office. The legislation was a follow-up, of sorts, to the stimulus package signed by President Trump in December 2020. That earlier package is the one that gave Americans a new round of $600 stimulus checks.
In the stimulus plan that Biden signed on March 11, 2021, a new wave of checks was again a centerpiece of the legislation.
That bill authorized the IRS to send out a third wave of stimulus checks, generally for $1,400. This was the third such one-and-done direct coronavirus relief payment from the federal government since the start of the pandemic. The two previous amounts were for $1,200, and then the $600 check.
Also authorized in the American Rescue Plan was an expansion of the federal child tax credit, which normally maxed out at $2,000. Because of the pandemic, that amount got bumped up to $3,600 — but, here, the legislators got creative. Congress structured the expanded benefit so that recipients get half of it in 2021. That first half came as an advance payment. Spread over six monthly checks from July 15, 2021, through December 15, 2021.
Importantly, as was pretty clear early on in this process, Democrats boxed themselves into a political corner regarding the possibility of a fourth stimulus payment. Essentially, they got tens of millions of Americans acclimated to the lifeline of a monthly stimulus payment from the federal government. And then abruptly took it away.
As we saw with West Virginia Democratic Senator Joe Manchin’s refusal to support an extension, a continuation of these payments in 2022 — which is what the Biden administration wants — remains in limbo.
Where’s my stimulus check?
There is, however, at least one benefit related to this that’s already guaranteed for 2022.
If you add up all six child tax credit check amounts you got last year? You should have also gotten a tax credit for that same amount this year when you filed your federal taxes. That will represent the second half of your child tax credit. And, for now, that will be the end of the enhanced credit.
There’s always a chance the Senate could revisit the legislation supporting an extension of these checks. For the moment, though, that possibility seems highly unlikely.
The latest stimulus check updates
There’s plenty of information in this article, but the situation is always evolving. Check out some of our recent coverage if you want to read the latest information about a potential fourth stimulus check and more along these lines:
- Stimulus check update: New $500 payments are coming to people in this state
- $2,000 stimulus checks could be coming for people in this state
- Stimulus check 2022: See if you’re eligible for $900 monthly payments
Broadly speaking, checks — or, at least, the idea of them — remain a popular policy concept among voters. It’s the increasingly dicey task of bringing new legislation supporting them to fruition that’s befuddling lawmakers at the moment.