Three rounds of stimulus checks have gone out to most Americans. The last round of direct aid stimulus payments sent to individuals making less than $75,000 and couples making less than $150,000. The stimulus checks were worth $1,400 and were part of the American Rescue Plan, which was signed into law in March.
Now, Congress is debating a massive infrastructure bill worth $3.5 trillion. While many struggling Americans were hopeful that a fourth round of stimulus checks would be included – the broader implications of that infrastructure spending would be a de facto stimulus check for the economy-at-large.
In fact, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said that without it – a recession in the U.S. economy is guaranteed. Some Americans are worried about a recession – as well as their personal finances, as the holiday season approaches, and the economy remains challenged.
Are fourth stimulus checks going out anywhere in the U.S.?
Many states have started issuing fourth stimulus checks. However, most have applied significant rules to them.
The only state to issue full-stimulus checks is California. They were able to do so based on a budget surplus that was realized in the middle of 2021. Those checks are going out now – and are worth $500 to $600 for those who earn between $30,000 and $75,000 per year. Children who live at home are also eligible for payments of $500.
Are seniors being left out of stimulus check talks?
Seniors say they are feeling the financial strain of the coronavirus pandemic as much as any group. However, they also say talks of helping them have gone nowhere. “Where is our help?” Belinda Maides recently asked FingerLakes1.com. She wasn’t alone. Countless seniors reached out in recent weeks asking similar questions about a fourth stimulus check. “If they are going to talk about ‘targeting’ groups of people they should target the ones who are already living on very little through Social Security,” Maides added. “Families keep getting more, but we’ve already paid our dues — we shouldn’t continue to struggle.”
Seniors like Maides, who retired more than a decade ago are not alone. Benjamin Rahim, a former New York retiree, said he moved to Georgia to save money. Now that the pandemic has come-and-gone he’s glad the move happened before. “I wouldn’t have been able to live in New York the way expenses are there. Social Security just wouldn’t be enough,” he told FingerLakes1.com. “I feel bad for seniors there. Feel bad for a lot of them across the whole country — everyone has gotten a stimulus — and everyone seems like they’re on the cusp of getting one, but not us.”
Mika Ransfield, an Ohio retiree tells FingerLakes1.com that it’s a basic math problem that’s gone wrong with Social Security, but a fourth stimulus check could make it right. “We pay our bills and there’s nothing left,” he explained. “We worked our entire lives, paid into a system that was supposed to be there for us, and here we are. It’s not good.”
At this point, there is no legislation on the table for seniors.
What about stimulus checks to states and local governments?
These funds were a major sticking point in negotiations that prevented the third round of stimulus checks from reaching Americans faster. Members of Congress fought over details, which sent hundreds of billions to states across the country. The payments were tied to tax collections in 2020.
However, states also received a minimum standard stimulus payment of $500 million. That money went further in less populated states than those with more residents. While the average state received enough stimulus money to cover 10-30% of its budget – less populated states received nearly a full-year of funds.
“That could create a once-in-a-generation opportunity to invest more than an entire year’s worth of tax revenue without taking on new debt,” the researchers from the Cleveland Reserve Bank wrote in their analysis.