The Democrats are moving quickly to pass a coronavirus stimulus package that offers the financial help they believe struggling families need during the pandemic.
The proposal includes stimulus checks, as well as an expanded Child Tax Credit. With these two sources of financial relief, a family of four could get as much as $12,800 in stimulus money, depending on income and the children’s ages.
Where would the $12,800 in stimulus funds come from?
The $12,800 in relief money would come from two primary sources:
- Stimulus checks. These are worth $1,400 per adult and eligible dependent (including adult dependents). For a family of four, these payments would provide $5,600. This money would be delivered in a lump sum via direct deposit into your bank account, or via check or debit card. Democrats hope to deliver this money by mid-March or early April.
- Expanded child tax credits: These would be worth $3,600 per child under the age of six, and $3,000 for older children up to the age of 17. A family with two children under the age of six would thus be entitled to an additional $7,200 on top of the stimulus check. Half of the year’s credit could be delivered in July, and the rest would be delivered on a monthly basis.
The expanded Child Tax Credit would be a change to the current Child Tax Credit, valued at $2,000 per child, but only partly refundable. Under the expansion, families would be entitled to the full amount of the credit even if they do not owe that much in taxes. This is similar to the way coronavirus stimulus checks have worked.
Who would be eligible for the stimulus money?
The $12,800 number is specifically the amount of money that could be available to a family of four people with two children under six.
But if you are single, or have more or fewer children, you should be entitled to stimulus money and/or Child Tax Credits as well. You can figure out how much you’d receive by assuming a $1,400 stimulus check for each person in your family and a $3,000 payment for each child over 6, or $3,600 payment for each child under that age.
However, there are income limits for both the stimulus payment and the Child Tax Credits. Under the proposal:
- You’re eligible for the full amount of stimulus money with an income up to $75,000 as a single filer, $112,500 as head of household, or $150,000 as a married joint filer. You are eligible for a partial payment with income up to $100,000 as a single filer, $150,000 as a head of household, or $200,000 as a married joint filer. Above those numbers, you receive no payment. (This is different from the first two checks.)
- You’re eligible for the full Child Tax Credit with an income up to $75,000, or $150,000 for married joint filers, after which eligibility phases out (ending at a maximum income level that hasn’t yet been reported).
Of course, in order for anyone to receive this money, Congress must turn the current stimulus proposal into law.
It’s not clear if this will happen. Democrats likely can move the legislation as-is in the House. But in the Senate, they have just 50 votes, with Vice President Kamala Harris breaking ties. Although 60 votes are normally required to overcome a filibuster and advance a bill in the Senate, Democrats can use a procedure called reconciliation to move forward without Republican support. But there are some nuances regarding what type of legislation can be passed that way, and it’s possible the expanded Child Tax Credit won’t qualify.
Still, $1,400 stimulus checks will almost certainly be on the way. And Democrats are eager to increase the Child Tax Credit, so they may look for other avenues to do so if it isn’t part of the stimulus plan. They may even be able to get bipartisan support on this issue, as some Republicans have suggested they might be interested in overhauling this tax, too.