The second wave of stimulus checks is being distributed as the year of 2021 begins. The IRS has begun distributing the checks and will have all of them distributed by January 15th. This financial aid, which has taken 9 months to arrive, has brought up many questions. How much money is it? Who gets it? Will there be any more stimulus checks?
First, the amount of money people will be receiving. The first stimulus check was $1200, and was part of the CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) act in March 2020. According to the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, this act cost almost $3 trillion but provided many other benefits. The new bill, passed in December 2020, contains $600 stimulus checks, half of the last check, with a total cost of $900 billion.
A bill to increase the stimulus checks to $2000 was passed in the House of Representatives, and supported by politicians like Bernie Sanders and President Trump. However, even with lots of support from many members of the Senate, Mitch McConnell, Senate Majority Leader, didn’t allow a vote on the topic. Since the senate did not approve the bill, the stimulus check remained at a value of $600.
Fuller Collins, a senior at North Attleboro High School, said about the proposed bill, “I’m not going to get a stimulus check so it doesn’t really affect me, but if there were a $2000 stimulus check I would probably have to pay a bunch of taxes for it.”
So the value of the stimulus check has gone down from $1200 to $600, but who will actually be receiving this check?
First, there are restrictions based on how much you make. If your income is above $87,000, you will not receive a stimulus check at all. There are also restrictions based on age. All adults under the income limit will receive a check, but on top of this parents will receive an additional $600 for each child they support. But, If you are 17 or older and a dependent (being supported by your parents), you will not receive a check. So, parents will receive extra money to support their children, unless they are above 18.
At first it may seem like everyone who needs the stimulus check gets it, but the broad requirements hurt many who need it. College students, who are often claimed as dependents even though they live at school, will not receive checks, even though they pay for housing and tuition. Seniors who receive support and are also marked as dependents, will not get any money; neither will their caretakers. This provides an extremely tough situation for seniors who cannot work, and will not receive any help during this pandemic.
Jack Callahan, a senior at North Attleboro High School, said, “Personally I think it should be more because i think there are a lot of people who really need the money and it’s been a long time since the last check.”
There has been complaints about not enough people getting the checks, and the value being way too low, so how did the relief act cost 900 billion dollars? Where did the rest of the money go?
According to the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, only $166 billion was spent on the stimulus checks. But, money is going to people in other ways. $325 billion was spent on aiding small businesses to make sure employees can get paid, $120 billion was spent on extending unemployment benefits for people who have lost their jobs during the pandemic. $151 billion was spent on education and healthcare. So, although this money isn’t directly going to people, it is helping many of them pay their bills.