With the Consumer Price Index rising 3.4% in 2023, many Americans are feeling the pinch of inflation, though it fell drastically from a high of 8.0% in late 2022.

For many, financial help in the form of a stimulus check can make a big difference. While the CARES Act stimulus checks have already ceased, there may be other benefits you may qualify for.

What Are Stimulus Packages?

A stimulus package is a set of economic measures that are intended to increase employment and the amount of goods and services that are produced in an economy, through measures like lowering interest rates and/or taxes, or by increasing the overall money supply through outright distributions of cash directly into the pockets of its citizens. 

For example, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was a new stimulus package introduced in 2020 to provide relief to those impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Government stimulus packages are often introduced to lift an economy out of a short-term recession or even a long-term depression and help families and businesses facing financial hardship. The stimulus money that the U.S. Treasury and the U.S. Federal Reserve provide tax-paying Americans encourages spending and is frequently a necessary measure to prop up the economy.  

"When you receive a payment that could potentially be a financial lifeline for you during dire financial times, it is best not to squander it,” says Brad Reichert, a debt expert, and the founder and managing director of Reichert Asset Management LLC. “Rather, when you receive your money, take a close look at your current financial situation and apply the money where it will do you the most good, now and in the future,” Reichert encourages. 

Stimulus Definition and Meaning

An economic stimulus package refers to economic measures introduced by the government to stimulate the economy. Its goal is to encourage spending, boost employment, and help businesses sustain their operations, in order to prevent a recession or prevent an economy from falling deeper into recession.

Who Can Qualify for Stimulus Packages

Each new stimulus bill comes with its own qualification requirements. Most government stimulus programs have personal income limits as a condition of qualifying for benefits, referred to as “income-based phaseouts,” which designate that only those U.S. taxpayers who have an Adjusted Gross Income (or AGI) below a certain level can qualify for benefits. For example, stimulus checks under the CARES Act were available to individuals with an income of less than $75,000 and families with an income of less than $150,000.

Another requirement was that you must have filed your income tax returns for the current and/or previous tax year in order to qualify for the stimulus payments. Therefore, those persons who ordinarily do not file a U.S. Income Tax return did not qualify for benefits either. Therefore, the amount you qualify to receive depends on your income, filing status, and other requirements specified by the program.

Government Stimulus Packages in 2024

While there’s no new economic stimulus package planned for 2024, you may want to check if you qualify for any government assistance programs under the American Rescue Plan Act, which offers assistance to businesses, individuals, and families.

Additionally, many states are still offering specialized COVID-19 pandemic-related tax rebates in 2024, which we’ve listed below in this guide. You may be able to receive a rebate check if you live in any of these states and are a qualifying tax filer.

Stimulus Packages Before 2024

Checks were first received by eligible Americans in Spring 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic was causing significant financial hardship and driving up unemployment. Individuals with an income of less than $75,000 received a direct stimulus payment of $1,200, while married couples with an income below $150,000 received a direct stimulus payment of $2,400.

The second round of stimulus payments was authorized by the Trump Administration in December 2020, which was $600 for individuals, $1,200 for couples, and an extra $600 for children under 17 years of age.

Biden’s stimulus payment, which was part of the third round of direct-payment stimulus money, was issued in March 2021 and was another direct-payment inflow of $1,400 for individuals and $2,800 for couples.

What To Do if You Did Not Receive the Economic Impact Payments

While most people who were eligible have long since received their Economic Impact Payments (EIP), if you think you’re missing one or more payments, you may want to determine your eligibility and claim a Recovery Rebate Credit.

Access your Internal Revenue Service (IRS) online account and check the Tax Records page to view the full amount of all your Economic Impact Payments.  If you didn’t receive the third IRS stimulus check, you may have been eligible to claim it when you filed your 2021 federal tax return. Review the Letter 6475 you received to find the total amount of the third economic impact payment you qualify for.

If you didn’t receive your first and second payments, you may be able to claim the Recovery Rebate Credit by filing your return for the 2020 tax year or by filing an amended return for the 2020 tax year that includes your claim of the Credit as part of your amended tax forms.

Other than the Economic Impact Payments, the American Rescue Plan was a major stimulus package that dedicated $1 trillion to help working families recover economically. Here are the major features of the stimulus package.

Unemployment Insurance Benefits

The unemployment insurance benefits under the stimulus package provided an additional $300 per week supplement to your state’s normal unemployment insurance benefits for those eligible under their state’s unemployment benefits program. The benefit also protected Americans from any surprise tax bills on the unemployment benefits they received the previous year.

Emergency Rent Aid

The bill offered emergency aid to help Americans cover any back rent they may have owed during that time. In addition, families struggling with mortgage loan payments and utility costs were provided assistance so they could catch up. Individuals and families at risk of homelessness received additional funding.

Child Tax Credit

The stimulus package also increased the Child Tax Credit to $3,000 per child and $3,600 for children under the age of six. A typical family with two children received an additional $3,200 to cover the costs of raising children.

Earned Income Tax Credit

The Earned Income Tax Credit was increased by $1,000 for Americans who worked as home health aides, food servers and preparers, and cashiers.

Additional Child Care Tax Credit

Families also received an additional refundable tax credit to reduce childcare costs. Eligible families received up to half of their childcare spending, up to $4,000 per child for children under the age of 13.

Future Stimulus Programs

The benefits provided under the CARES Act stimulus program officially expired quite some time ago, but you may still qualify for some benefits under the American Rescue Plan. No new stimulus programs have been announced for 2024. However, you may still qualify for tax rebates issued by some states.

If you need more financial assistance, we recommend exploring other local and federal programs that you may qualify for.

Fourth Stimulus Checks

Contrary to claims still floating around out there on social media posts, there are absolutely no plans for a fourth stimulus check or any additional stimulus program benefits left to be distributed. There have been a number of posts online claiming that fourth stimulus checks have been set to be mailed in 2024. However, these posts are either incorrect or potential scams, as the government hasn’t approved any such payments.   

Potential Changes to Stimulus Check Programs

The federal government isn’t issuing any new stimulus checks for Americans in 2024, including those that are geared toward people on Social Security. However, if a new stimulus check program is introduced in the future, it may come with its own eligibility criteria and payment amounts.

If there are any new stimulus updates on the Economic Impact Payments, the information will be posted on IRS.gov.

Stimulus Checks in Your State

This tax season, you may be eligible to receive two child tax credit payments, one from the federal government and the other from your state, for Tax Year 2023. Currently, there are 15 states sending additional child tax credit checks:

  • Arizona: Stimulus checks in Arizona vary for families with dependents.
  • California: Families earning less than $25,000 may qualify to receive a $1,000 stimulus check in California.
  • Colorado: Families with an income of less than $75,000 may receive a credit of up to $1,200 for children under the age of six.
  • Idaho: Families with children under the age of 16 may receive a nonrefundable child tax credit of up to $205.
  • Maine: Taxpayers may be able to claim a dependent exemption tax credit of $300 for qualifying children.
  • Maryland: The state provides a refundable tax credit of $500 for qualifying children under the age of 17.
  • Massachusetts: The state offers $180 for one child and $360 for multiple children under the age of 12.
  • Minnesota: Roughly 300,000 Minnesota residents will qualify for a child tax credit of around $1,200.
  • New Jersey: The state offer a refundable tax credit of $500 for each child under the age of six for families with an income of $30,000 or less.
  • New Mexico: The state provides up to $600 per qualifying child, depending on family income.
  • New York: The state offers either $100 per qualifying child or 33% of the federal child tax credit and additional child tax credit.
  • Oklahoma: Residents may receive 5% of the federal child tax credit for families with an income of less than $100,000.
  • Oregon: Families with an income of under $30,000 receive $1,000 for each qualifying child under the age of five.
  • Utah: The state provides $1,000 for each child between one and four years of age.
  • Vermont: Households with an income under $125,000 may receive $1,000 per child under the age of five.

Find Alternative Economic Assistance

While there’s no new stimulus package through which you can receive stimulus checks in 2024, there are several other ways you may be able to receive economic assistance. We recommend starting with the American Rescue Plan.

Check to see if you qualify for any tax rebates in your state. Check Benefits.gov for a list of benefits you may qualify for based on your situation.