How Much Would the Fourth Stimulus Check Be Worth If It Comes?

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Apr. 27 2021, Published 11:48 a.m. ET

The CPI (consumer price index) was up 0.6 percent in March and jobless claims are at the lowest level since March 14, 2020. All of this points to a recovering economy, even though the COVID-19 cases have remained pretty steady over the last week. For many people, the current circumstances still feel dire—enough, even, for a fourth stimulus check.

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The question of whether Congress will pass another round of stimulus checks feels moot, but it's a real possibility given the trajectory of economic stimulus. If it does go through, how much could Americans see?  

Progressives are calling for $2,000 recurring payments.

Some senators including Alex Padilla, Cory Booker, Elizabeth Warren, and Bernie Sanders are calling for President Biden to "include recurring direct payments and automatic unemployment insurance extensions tied to economic conditions in [his] Build Back Better long-term economic plan." Biden hasn't responded to their letter and shows no signs of developing a subsequent stimulus program to cater specifically to direct payments.

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However, these senators aren't the only ones taking a stand. Representatives took the liberty of writing a letter to the administration as well. From Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to Ilhan Omar, supporters suggested recurring direct stimulus payments for all Americans. Their goal is to help people "meet their basic needs, provide racially equitable solutions, and shorten the length of the recession."

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While Omar didn't specify how much the payments should be for in her letter, she did tweet later and said that there should be "$2,000 monthly payments until the pandemic is over." 

The Build Back Better plan might focus more on jobs than stimulus checks.

fourth stimulus
Source: Getty

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi

Biden's emphasis on clean energy and general infrastructure development could be a cue that he wants to use funding to create jobs rather than give direct payments. From restructuring the energy grid for more sustainability to installing nationwide broadband for equitable internet access, his to-do list is sweeping.

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What might not be on that to-do list, however, is sending out additional stimulus checks.  

Unemployment tax refunds could serve in lieu of a fourth stimulus check.

We know that people who paid taxes on their unemployment insurance benefits in 2020 will be receiving a refund for the amount they paid. Those refunds are expected to come in May, according to a news release from the IRS.

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According to the IRS, "For those who have already filed, the IRS will do these recalculations in two phases, starting with those taxpayers eligible for the up to $10,200 exclusion. The IRS will then adjust returns for those married filing jointly taxpayers who are eligible for the up to $20,400 exclusion and others with more complex returns."

With that in mind, individual filers get the priority and married couples who filed jointly will come next. Much like the stimulus checks, it might take a few months to get all of the payments out. However, it could really help individuals who received a lower unemployment payout or had to pay extra come tax time. 

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