Fourth stimulus check update: 5 programs that can get you money

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Before we turn the page on 2021, there are a few more stimulus checks still to come and going out to millions of Americans soon. However, there’s a different kind of stimulus check update that must also be shared. Because it’s not just IRS payments that are flowing to millions of Americans from the federal government. States and localities around the US have crafted their own stimulus-related programs, with all kinds of different ways that Americans can likewise get paid — beyond the receipt of a check from the IRS.

This post will take a look at some of those programs that are putting money into Americans’ bank accounts, in the form of everything from financial assistance for homeowners to government checks for the parents of eligible children. None of these payments technically represent a fourth stimulus check. But the programs kind of accomplish the same result, anyway.

Stimulus check update — the child tax credit

New stimulus check
A stimulus check is shown, surrounded by cash. Image source: Jason Raff/Adobe

This is probably the biggest effort of all the ones we’ll mention in this post. Already this year, it’s transferred tens of billions of dollars to US families.

There are two more checks, out of a total of six, still to come before the end of this year. The next up is on November 15. And then there’s one final child tax credit check after that, on December 15.

These checks are giving eligible families a few hundred dollars for each child that fits this benefit’s requirements. Depending on whether your child is under the age of six, or between ages six and 17, families will either get $300 or $250 for each of those children, respectively. Add up all six of the child tax credit checks, and that’s also the same amount that the recipient families will get next year as a tax credit.

Stimulus money — broadband bills

Meanwhile, there are lots of other different ways families can benefit from and get their hands on a slice of stimulus cash.

The Federal Communications Commission, for example, provides low-income households with a temporary discount on broadband. The thinking is that the pandemic has made connectivity more vital than ever, because of things like work-from-home scenarios. This program gives eligible households up to $50 off of their broadband bills (and up to $75 off for households on tribal lands). Some people will also be able to get a one-time discount of up to $100 on buying a computer or laptop.

Stimulus checks for renters and homeowners

If you’ve been struggling with your house note or monthly renter’s payment, there’s help for you, too.

For homeowners, there’s a federal Homeowners Assistance Fund to know about. Potential recipients of aid must demonstrate a pandemic-related financial hardship. This link includes all the details, including income requirements. And the money can be used for things like mortgage payments, homeowner’s insurance, and more.

Meanwhile, the stimulus law that President Biden signed earlier this year, as well as the final stimulus legislation from the Trump administration, set aside a total of $46.6 billion in emergency aid for rental assistance programs. To qualify for this money, generally, your income can’t exceed 80% of your local area’s median income. There are also other local requirements, including related to income, depending on where you live. And recipients of this money must demonstrate some kind of financial hardship stemming from the pandemic. More details are available here.

Farm and food workers grant

Last but not least, for now, there’s one additional program to mention. In September, US Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced a $700 million grant program for farm and food workers. It entails a one-time $600 payment going to farmworkers and the US meatpacking workforce. A portion of the $700 million, totaling up to $20 million, will also go toward helping grocery store workers. These new payments won’t come from the IRS, though. Instead, they’ll come from state agencies, nonprofits, and tribal governments.

“This relief is intended to defray costs for reasonable and necessary personal, family, or living expenses related to the COVID-19 pandemic,” an announcement of the program explains.

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