Your Guide to Stimulus Checks and How They Work

The federal government established a stimulus package to provide Economic Impact Payments, also known as “stimulus checks,” to qualifying Americans starting in April 2020. This financial assistance program was designed to alleviate financial hardship caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, quarantines and business shutdowns, unemployment and medical expenses.


Stimulus check assistance continued in 2021 with the passing of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. These payments are considered advanced payment on the Recovery Rebate Credit, which is a tax credit that puts money back into the economy to help residents pay for necessities and goods.

How Much Money Can I Get in Stimulus Checks?
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These checks were discontinued in March 2021, but many qualified Americans have yet to receive their first, second or third stimulus check. Keep reading to learn more about the values of each stimulus check, where you can claim your stimulus check and whether there will be more stimulus checks in the future.

How much money you receive in stimulus checks depends on a few different factors. It’s important to understand these factors so you know what amount of money to expect, which can better help you budget and make good use of the check.

Your eligibility for the stimulus check depends primarily on how much money you earned and reported to the IRS in 2019 and 2020. This money is known as “verifiable income,” referring to the amount you pay taxes on.

If you meet the income requirements for the stimulus check, you should receive a payment from the IRS via paper check in the mail, a stimulus check debit card or a direct deposit into the bank account where you receive your income tax refund.

If you meet the requirements, then you are eligible to receive up to $3,200 total in stimulus checks (per individual taxpayer). The first stimulus check was for up to $1,200 and was sent out in April 2020.

Then, the second round of Economic Impact Payments was for $600 in December 2020 to January 2021. Finally, the third round of stimulus checks went out in March 2021 for up to $1,400.

Your filing status as single or married and the number of dependents in your household can also impact how much money you receive from stimulus check payments. For example, married couples could qualify for $2,400 plus money for each dependent during the first round of stimulus checks.

However, if your income is above a certain amount compared to the number of dependents you have in your household, you may not qualify for this financial assistance.

While it’s likely that qualifying for the first and second stimulus checks means you should also qualify for the third check, that might not be the case. That’s because the third check’s income requirements changed, which could disqualify some people who earned just above the maximum income requirements.

In addition to stimulus payments, there are other government-funded financial assistance programs that can help you stay on top of your bills and be able to buy necessities for yourself and your family. For example, the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program provides resources and programs that help reduce dependency on government programs and promote strong family structures.

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