Is a Fourth Stimulus Check Ever Coming? Here’s the (Harsh) Truth

close up shot of stimulus package.
Kameleon007 / Getty Images/iStockphoto

In tandem, conversations have been swirling around a fourth stimulus check and President Biden’s American Families Plan.

See: Is the American Families Plan Too Expensive? Take Our Poll
Find: Fourth Stimulus Checks Now On the Table – Here’s How You’d Get the Money

Both could provide direct payments and benefits to Americans — but are they the same thing?

In short, no.

Biden’s American Families Plan is a piece of proposed legislation that needs to be approved by Congress before it will become law — and the benefits get paid to you. Media outlets have been touting the proposed benefits as a type of “fourth stimulus,” as many families are slated to receive money this year in addition to the other three stimulus payments already doled out.

See: More Stimulus Money May Be Coming Your Way – Here’s What to Do With It
Find: A Petition With Over 2 Million Signatures Calls for $2,000 Monthly Stimulus Checks for Every American

This money will largely be for parents, in the form of an extended Child Tax Credit. This tax credit will give payments out to parents from July until December, for children up to the age of 17, as a part of the American Rescue Plan COVID relief and stimulus package.

This has been labeled as a form of “fourth stimulus” for those who were able to take advantage of it, as it is a temporary benefit included in the COVID stimulus and relief bill. Important to note, this is a separate piece of legislation that was passed as part of the American Rescue Plan and is entirely separate from the American Families Plan introduced last week.

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Biden is proposing to extend this temporary credit until 2025 by making it a part of his new legislation, the American Families Plan, essentially borrowing the credit from one plan and transferring it to another.

See: Biden’s American Families Plan Extends Expanded Child Tax Credit
Find: Your Third Stimulus Check Could Be Eligible for a Bonus Payment

This extended tax credit would not be available to as many people as a stimulus check would be. This particular credit is available to parents only.

There has also been extensive coverage on bonus “plus-up” payments for those who received a stimulus check based on a 2019 tax return but had changes on their 2020 return that qualify them for additional money. This bonus is tied to the stimulus payments and is available to qualifying citizens regardless of whether or not they have children. You might have heard of these payments as a type of fourth stimulus as well, but in actuality, they are adjusted payments based on your 2020 tax return.

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As far as a fourth stimulus is concerned, there is no official information just yet as to if it will happen at all. Over 70 legislators have been pushing to make it happen, but nothing of actual significance has come to fruition.

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About the Author

Georgina Tzanetos is a former financial advisor who studied post-industrial capitalist structures at New York University. She has eight years of experience with concentrations in asset management, portfolio management, private client banking, and investment research. Georgina has written for Investopedia and WallStreetMojo. 
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