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You might be able to get a $1,800 stimulus check before Christmas – check right here

man holding wallet with money

The wave of stimulus checks that the IRS issues three weeks from tomorrow will be a little different than the last several tranches of payments it’s sent out.

For one thing, this will be the last batch of child tax credit checks in 2021. The federal government has sent these out, totaling billions of dollars, every month since July. And for most people, the checks have totaled a few hundred dollars, at most. That brings us to another thing that will be different about the checks coming on December 15. For some recipients, December’s child tax credit payment will be much bigger than normal — totaling perhaps as much as $1,800.

Lump-sum stimulus check in December

stimulus check
A stimulus check from the IRS is shown. Image source: WINDSONG/Adobe

That’s because, for some recipients? December’s stimulus payment will actually be their first child tax credit check.

Some people, for whatever reason, signed up late to get the child tax credit advance payment this year. Congress, remember, structured an expansion of the credit a bit creatively when it passed the $1.9 trillion stimulus law earlier this year. We’re still in a pandemic — so lawmakers decided to give people a way to get next year’s tax credit early.

Half of the credit comes now, in the form of advance checks. The other half, families will get when they file their federal taxes in 2022.

Instead of six checks totaling as much as $1,800 per child for each child under age six, though, the parents we noted above are poised to get a lump sum advance payment in December. Provided, of course, they signed up with the IRS in time.

Child tax credit stimulus monthly payment

According to the IRS, families who signed up by November 15 are poised to get this lump-sum stimulus check. Specifically, they’ll get half of the entire child tax credit amount as an advance on December 15. “This means a payment of up to $1,800 for each child under 6,” the IRS explains. “And up to $1,500 for each child age 6 to 17.

“This is the same total amount that most other families have been receiving in up to six monthly payments that began in July.”

Obviously, the November 15 date has now passed. So, all the recipients of these advance checks are now locked in. But don’t worry if you missed the deadline. You’ll still be able to enjoy your share of the expanded child tax credit. You just won’t get it as an advance stimulus payment. It will come next year, in the form of an actual tax credit.

What happens next?

The big question about these advance checks is what will happen to them in 2022. Will the December stimulus check be the last? Or will Democrats, with an eye on 2022 as a tough midterm election year, extend these monthly payments for another 12 months?

The iteration of President Biden’s Build Back Better plan currently pending in the US Senate is key here. It includes, among other things, an extension of the payments through 2022. Meaning, in addition to the tax credit people can get when they file their taxes? There would also be 12 monthly checks coming, starting in January.

There are estimates that a 2022 extension of the credit would cover 90% of US households with children. More specifically, some 35 million households. It’s just a matter of whether Senators, including West Virginia’s Joe Manchin, go for this. Now, we wait.

Andy is a reporter in Memphis who also contributes to outlets like Fast Company and The Guardian. When he’s not writing about technology, he can be found hunched protectively over his burgeoning collection of vinyl, as well as nursing his Whovianism and bingeing on a variety of TV shows you probably don’t like.




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