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Fourth federal stimulus check: amounts, requirements and what I need to know

While there is no federal government initiative for more direct payments to stimulate an already red-hot economy, there is some financial relief from inflation.

Update:
No fourth federal stimulus check but states provide financial help
Drew AngererGetty

The covid-19 pandemic produced a once in a century situation, keeping fingers crossed on monkey pox, that brought an unprecedented reaction from local, state and federal governments. Borders were closed, factories and businesses shuttered and people were told to stay at home unless going out was absolutely necessary.

That though sent the economy into a nosedive with unemployment hitting levels not seen since the Great Depression. To avert a repeat of that dark moment in history the federal government took steps above and beyond anything previously seen to stave off a complete economic collapse.

Also see:

Federal government takes historic steps to avert economic disaster

Numerous programs were put into place to shore up the finances of businesses, households and social programs, injecting vast sums of money into the economy. One of the most well-known, and searched for, are the stimulus checks or Economic Impact Payments by their official name.

During the course of the worst of the pandemic the US government sent eligible Americans three direct payments for up to $3,200 in total. The US economy has since recovered, the fastest recovery from a depression in history, and unemployment is now near where it was before the pandemic.

Inflation is now the problem to tackle

This and the sky-high inflation the economy has experienced, among other factors, is why there will not be a fourth federal stimulus check. However, those that didn’t receive the full amount that they were entitled to can still apply for a Recovery Rebate Credit from the tax year that the stimulus payment in question was sent out.

Rising prices, due to disruptions in supply chains induced by the pandemic and to a degree the massive financial stimulus, on the other hand have become the issue of the day. To counter the increased cost of living for residents, states have taken measures to ease the financial burden affecting households in their jurisdictions. And depending on the results of the Midterm Elections further federal government measures could be in the offing to assist families with rising costs.

Financial help that is still available and could be coming

Consumers have felt the impact of inflation across the board but perhaps most so at the grocery store and when filling up with gas. The latter spurred six states to take specific actions through gas tax holidays to lower the price at the pump or in the case of California, a gas tax rebate.

At the national level no such measure was implemented given that it had to go through Congress, and with the Senate evenly split between the Republican and Democratic caucuses, passing legislation can be challenging to say the least. However, the prospect of Democrats picking up more seats in the upper chamber looks more of a possibility than it did just a few months ago as inflation slows, thanks in large part to gas prices continuing to come down.

Should Democrats avoid a rout in the House of Representatives and gain a stronger majority in the Senate they may try to push forward some of the programs that were part of President Biden’s plan to assist families with the cost of childcare, elderly care, healthcare and renew the expanded Child Tax Credit.

The last on the list sent families with eligible children monthly advance payments on a tax credit families can claim when filing their annual returns. It was highly touted among Democrats and proponents for easing the economic hardship of families and reducing poverty.

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