The latest on stimulus checks: $600 California payments, $1,000 teacher bonuses, and more

The latest on stimulus checks: $600 California payments, $1,000 teacher bonuses, and more ...

While three stimulus checks have been approved since the outbreak to help people cover expenses, the possibility for a fourth stimulus check isn't looking good. There's still a petition calling for $2,000 recurring checks to all Americans, which has received over 2.9 million signatures, but Congress has no immediate intentions to approve another stimulus check at this time. Nevertheless, many families have been in a bind since the expired benefits, and as delta variant cases rise.

To bridge the gap in federal assistance, several states have developed programs to provide residents additional financial assistance. Millions of Californians received a second round of Golden State Stimulus checks (for $600 up to $1,100), and low-income Marylanders are eligible for direct payments of $300 or $500. Educators were paid in states like Florida, Michigan, and Tennessee, while some front-line workers in Vermont were also paid checks.

On a national level, advance monthly child tax credit payments (up to $300 yearly per child) are continuing to be given to millions of families through December, with the next one scheduled for Oct. 15. Legislators are preparing a federal budget package that may provide assistance in other ways. And some people may be eligible for up to $1,400 in additional stimulus money if they have a baby this year, though that money won't be available until 2022.

Here's what you need to know about stimulus money that''ve been approved and what other aid may be coming your way. If you haven't yet filed your 2020 tax return, don'' be wary, as it may get you extra stimulus money on Oct. 15. Here's what to know about a possible extension of the child tax credit and how to check on your unemployment tax break. This article was last updated on May 9.

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OKF Stimulus money that's been approved for the OKC Stimulus Award.

Families who receive child tax credit payments for their children will be eligible for a child's tax deduction. A temporary increase in the child tax credit for 2021 will provide qualifying families with up to $3,600 per child -- you can calculate your total here. The advance partial payments of up to $300 per dependent, which began this summer, are available monthly (the next one is on Oct. 15), with a final payment due in 2022.

Parents can also opt to pay their bill in the spring rather than waiting for the advance monthly checks. There is no limit to the credit amount a family with multiple children may claim. Families who receive the excess amount as a refund will receive it next year as an additional tax refund if the credit exceeds what's due in taxes. Plus, low-income families may qualify for the maximum credit. Here's more information on child tax credit payment dates and eligibility.

Additional federal stimulus funds are being provided by the government. Through the end of 2021, the third stimulus package of up to $1,400 will be distributed in batches to eligible individuals. The IRS is also sending out "plus-up" payments, which are extra money that covers the difference between the stimulus amount you already received (based on your 2019 return) and the amount that you're eligible for (depending on the IRS' updated 2020 return).

If a member of your family becomes ill in 2021, such as if they were conceived or adopted, they may be eligible for severance payments of $1,400. According to the tax agency, for any new qualifying dependents to be considered for the third payment, you'd have to claim A Recovery Rebate Credit on your 2022 tax return.

Stimulus payments to Californians: California has approved two rounds of state-level stimulus payments to eligible residents. These payments, known as Golden State Stimulus I and II, are intended to help low-income Californians and those in quarantine due to the epidemic, the state stated. Nearly two-thirds of residents qualify for the expanded Golden State Stimulus II, which is a one-time payment of $600 (with an additional $500 for eligible families with children).

In order to qualify, you must have lived in California for most of 2020 and still live there, file a 2020 tax return, earned less than $75,000 (adjusted gross income and wages), and have 'a Social Security number or 12 taxpayer identification number, and your children can't be claimed as dependents by another taxpayer.

Marylanders are being urged to get active in the stimulus program. Maryland has provided $500 for families and $300 for individuals who have applied for the earned income tax credit. Income caps range from $21,710 (married filing jointly with no qualifying children) to $56,844 (Married submitting jointly, with three or more qualifying kids). Maryland's legislation also includes more employment support for Maryland residents and tax relief for small businesses.

Vermont's front-line workers are paid a lot of money: Thousands of workers were paid $1,200 or $2,000 for staying on the job in the early days of the epidemic. Two rounds of approved funding have already been released to the most-risk workers, such as health care workers as well as grocery and retail workers.

Bonus payments to educators: State and local governments received $350 billion in assistance as part of the American Rescue Plan. Much of the money will go to schools, with some states offering teachers and other school personnel a "thank you" bonus of up to $1,000. Georgia, Florida, Tennessee, Colorado, Texas, and California are participating; Michigan also paid teachers $500 in hazard compensation earlier this year. As they have until 2024 to spend the funds, it's possible that other states will approve similar funds in the future.

A fourth stimulus payment isn't included in any current proposal.

Researchers have found that the first three stimulus checks reduced hardships like food insufficiency and financial insecurity. So far, during the epidemic, eligible adults have received a maximum of $3,200, while children have earned up to $2,500. For muddled families, that's not enough to bounce back from lost wages and benefits.

Since the American Rescue Plan, the White House has proposed several initiatives, including the America's Jobs Plan and the Build Back Better initiative, but those don't call for more direct aid. President Joe Biden is "open to a variety of ideas" about stimulus aid, according to White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki's June statement, but he has already suggested what would be "the most effective for the short term."

The scaled-back version of the $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure deal, which was approved by the Senate on July 28, doesn't address child care, improved wages, or job training -- it doesn;t include anything related to "human infrastructure." Instead, those elements are to be included in the $3.5 trillion reconciliation package, which is likely to get trimmed down. The White House has laid out its "Build Back Better Agenda," which includes lower health care costs, tax cuts, and investments in teachers and schools. Senate Democrats are working on the economic plan, but the process of passing final versions of the bill in Congress may take some time.

It's been a long time since Democratic members of the House and Senate have argued for another stimulus check. In late March, a group of lawmakers asked Biden to include regular stimulus payments (PDF) in his next stimulus package. In May, several members of the House Ways and Means Committee (PDF) filed a similar request. Citing rise in poverty and spiraling debt among Americans, they observed that "most people spent relief checks on monthly expenses or essentials like food, utilities, rent, and mortgage payments."

Nearly 3 million signatures on a $2,000 stimulus check petition have been received.

A Change.org petition that has more than 2.9 million signatures calls on Congress to send a fourth stimulus check of $2,000 for adults and $1,000 for children on yearly basis for the remainder of the pandemic. The petition claims that "the recovery hasn't reached many Americans" and emphasizes the need for immediate checks and recurring payments so that we may "keep our heads above water." While the Change.org petition is on its way to becoming one of the most popular on the website, whether it will have any effect is a different story.

In the near term, more money could be approved by the US Congress.

Though there's still much to learn and debate, there may be additional cash in the pockets of Americans in one of the following scenarios:

If the child tax credit increase becomes permanent, it will not be granted. This summer, millions of low- and middle-income families with children began receiving monthly payments thanks to the expanded child tax credit. In a summer speech, Biden urged Congress to extend the child tax credit until 2025. Several lawmakers and economists are now pressing for the enhanced credit, and House Democrats have proposed a permanent version, though it remains controversial.

If there's a minimum wage hike, it'll happen. Some senators are still looking for ways to raise the federal minimum wage, which is currently $7.25 an hour. A few proponents of setting the bar at $15 an hour, while others are looking to get it up to $11 an hour. In recent years, many states, municipalities, and businesses have raised minimum wages above the federal level. However, the debate over a new national rate of $15 an hour has hit snags in recent months, and the likelihood of it being implemented any time soon is low.

In the interim, here's what to know about the tax credits for those who received unemployment benefits in 2020.

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