Toward the end of December 2020, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the U.S. Department of the Treasury began sending out Economic Impact Payments (commonly known as stimulus checks) to millions of Americans. The government will continue distributing these emergency financial assistance payments in March 2021.
This stimulus is an advance payment on a tax credit known as the Recovery Rebate Credit. It is part of the new American Rescue Plan. If you need help paying bills or other assistance in addition to this credit, the government also offers cash assistance in the form of free grants for qualifying Americans. Read on to learn more about these types of aid.
Eligibility for the stimulus check mostly depends on either your 2019 or 2020 returns, but there are a few additional guidelines to meet. If you qualify, the IRS will deliver your payment through direct deposit, a paper check or a prepaid Visa debit card.
Those who received a government stimulus check earlier in 2020 will be likely to receive this second payment. For the most part, the requirements to get this second check are the same as those for the first stimulus payment. However, a new rule allows some more people to qualify for this free government money for individuals.
Generally, individuals can get up to $1,400 and married couples can get up to $2,400. Recipients may also receive up to $1,400 for dependent children, up from $500 per dependent for the first stimulus payment. However, some people with higher incomes may receive a smaller payment.
Unlike previous checks, however, there is an income limit in terms of dependents, which means that once you reach that limit, regardless of the number of dependents you have, you will not receive more money.
In addition to stimulus checks, the federal government also works with states to provide other forms of assistance, such as food stamps, Medicaid and even cash assistance. Also known as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), cash assistance is an essential part of the social safety net for low-income families.
Stimulus checks will not be counted as income to determine eligibility for benefits or the amount of assistance you can receive through a state or federal program.
Federal cash assistance through free monthly TANF grants is different from other forms of assistance. This is because the funds you receive through TANF do not need to be used on a specific product like food or rent. Instead, you can use them to pay for many different goods and services in order to meet your household needs. Read on to learn more about the requirements for cash assistance and for the stimulus checks.