Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images

A fourth stimulus check could mean another round of relief payments for eligible Americans. More stimulus checks have already been proposed, even while the third stimulus check is still being sent out.

During his address to Congress, Biden said that more than 85% of Americans have received their $1,400 stimulus check, but did not mention a fourth stimulus check. Then, during a press conference this week, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said, "We'll see what members of Congress propose" when asked about another round of direct payments.

Although the latest jobs report paints a shaky picture for the economic recovery, there's currently no legislation supporting a fourth stimulus check. There aren't specific stimulus check guidelines on the table. The most noteworthy economic effort in government currently is President Biden's $2.25 trillion infrastructure investment proposal.

The infrastructure bill doesn't mention a fourth stimulus check or direct payments similar to those millions have received over the course of the pandemic. Rather, it's a long-term initiative to rescue, recover and rebuild the country's financial standing.

The President's American Families Plan, which is separate from the American Jobs Plan, will seek to send stimulus payments of sorts to low-earning people with kids. Biden proposed extending the child tax credit — where families will receive a tax credit of $3,600 for children under six, and $3,000 per child over that age — through 2025, up to 12 weeks of paid leave, and subsidies for childcare.

That's not to say another widespread stimulus check can't be written into the next major economic initiative. Although the consensus is that a fourth stimulus check isn't likely, many initially questioned the need for a second and third stimulus check too.

Fourth stimulus check timeline

Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images

Right now, there is no fourth stimulus check timeline or fourth stimulus check release date. Until legislation is in motion, we can't say how soon more relief money will arrive. We can't say whether more relief money is coming, at all.

That said, the third stimulus check timeline happened rather quickly. It only took a few weeks for Congress to debate President Biden's American Rescue Plan. Once the President signed the bill, $1,400 checks were put in motion.

The IRS can begin sending out checks in the same manner it sent the previous stimulus payments. Since the framework is already in place, Americans could begin receiving the fourth stimulus checks about two weeks after a relief bill allowing another round of direct payments is approved.

Fourth stimulus check amount

Photo: Techno Hoop
Photo: Techno Hoop

The fourth stimulus check amount depends on several factors. If passed, it would probably look similar to the previous checks, although that's not guaranteed.

For reference, the first stimulus check equalled $1,200, while the second stimulus check brought $600 to eligible Americans. The third stimulus check, which the IRS is still in the process of distributing, is worth up to $1,400 per person, although the eligibility requirements are narrower.

Every check allowed people who make up to $75,000 a year, according to their most recent tax returns, to qualify for the entire payment. Couples filing jointly got the full payment if they have a joint total income of $150,000 or less.

With the first two checks, those making up to $99,000 alone or $198,000 as a couple received prorated payments. With the third check, individuals who earn more than $80,000 per year or $160,000 per year as joint filers get nothing. Our guide to the stimulus check calculator can show you what your own eligibility looks like.

How could the new stimulus plans include a fourth stimulus check?

The American Rescue Plan approved in March was Biden's first stimulus package, with its $1,400 checks, $300 extra in weekly unemployment benefits and an expanded child tax credit running into 2022. (See if you qualify for the recurring child tax credit payments.)

The Biden administration advocates two sequel stimulus bills for 2021. Neither proposal calls for a new stimulus check at this stage. However, Democratic members of the House and Senate have thrown their weight behind a fourth stimulus check, including recurring or monthly payments. Earlier this spring, a group of 10 progressive lawmakers, including Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, asked Biden to include regular stimulus payments (PDF) in his next stimulus bill.

"We urge you to include recurring direct payments and automatic unemployment insurance extensions tied to economic conditions in your Build Back Better long-term economic plan," the statement said. A few weeks later, another group of 21 Democrats made a similar request to Biden.

The $1,400 stimulus check also was left out of early proposals for what would become the December 2020 stimulus law, with an agreement to include the $600 stimulus check squeaking through as a late addition.

Are $2,000 monthly stimulus checks possible?

Photo: MARCA
Photo: MARCA

In response to President Biden's $2.25 trillion proposal, a group of 21 Senators sent a letter urging the inclusion of stimulus checks in the next bout of relief legislation. The group is calling for recurring payments, meaning people would get monthly checks from the government.

“We urge you to include recurring direct payments and automatic unemployment insurance extensions tied to economic conditions in your Build Back Better long-term economic plan,” wrote the group, which consists of Senator Elizabeth Warren, Senator Bernie Sanders and others.

An earlier stimulus check proposal suggested $2,000 monthly payments until the pandemic is over. Representative Ilhan Omar tweeted that she wants to see $2,000 per month in late January.

If this amount sounds familiar, it's because now-Vice President Kamala Harris threw her support behind $2,000 recurring checks during second stimulus check negotiations last summer.

The proposal has also gained plenty of support outside of Congress: six online petitions calling for $2,000 monthly stimulus checks until the end of the pandemic have been posted, and between them they've now gained more than 2.3 million signatures. The biggest petition, from, has been signed by more than 2.1 million people alone.

*****READ MORE: What is IRS's Get My Payment tool: How it works?

Do people need a fourth stimulus check?

According to CNBC, there is a case for a fourth stimulus check that goes beyond the calls from lawmakers. The Economic Security Project, an organization that advocates for guaranteed income, says there's a need for more stimulus checks.

“We need at least one more check,” said Adam Ruben. Ruben, the campaign director at the Economic Security Project, also said that stimulus checks should be "automatic," and not stalled as they were last summer when second stimulus check negotiations caused a long gap between the $1,200 and $600 payments.

During that period, up to 8 million people fell into poverty, according to CNBC.

In addition, according to recent U.S. Census Bureau, nearly 30% of Americans couldn’t cover all of their household expenses in late March. In addition, about 15% of renters have fallen behind on their rent.

As reported by The New York Times, Employers added only 266,000 jobs in April, according to the latest jobs report. This falls short of the million or so expected. In addition, the unemployment rate increased to 6.1%.

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