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A stimulus check is a lump sum given to every eligible citizen in the US. The check is designed to boost the economy by giving households extra spending money. The amount you receive depends on a number of factors.

At several points in History the U.S. government has sent out a stimulus check to its citizens. In the past they have been used to counteract financial disasters, like in 2008. The most recent stimulus check was carried out in 2020 and another one is scheduled for 2021, under the newly elected president Biden. With another stimulus check on the horizon many are wondering what a stimulus check is and how exactly they work.

What is a Stimulus Check?

A stimulus check is carried out by the US government sent to every taxpayer. Stimulus checks are intended to stimulate the economy by providing extra spending money to consumers. A stimulus check can be part of a larger federal stimulus package designed to support the economy; this is the case with the stimulus payments which were part of the CARES Act in 2020.

When the taxpayer spends the money they are given, it boosts consumption, driving revenue for retail and manufacturers, which inevitably boost the economy. Spending is a vital part of a healthy economy and when the economy is damaged or unstable, people generally feel less inclined to spend their money. A stimulus check is designed to encourage people to begin spending again, as we often feel more inclined to spend money that has been given to us as opposed to money we have earned.

How is the amount I receive decided?

As part of President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus package bill, most eligible taxpayers, dependent under 17, and families with “mixed” US citizenship are expected to receive a relief boost of $1400 payments per individual. 

How much you receive as part of your stimulus check will depend on a number of things. Firstly, how you file your taxes will affect the stimulus check you receive, if you file jointly you will receive more than if you file as a single person. Joint taxpayers generally receive twice as much as those filing singly. Secondly, payments will depend upon how many dependent you have in your household. the more dependent you have in your household the higher your stimulus payment is likely to be. The last thing we checked with regards to your stimulus check will be your adjusted gross income (AGI). In the past, those who had unpaid back taxes saw their stimulus checks automatically applied to their outstanding balance, so this might also affect the size of check you received.

One of the big changes for the 2021 stimulus check is the hard cap on income. For this stimulus check anyone who exceeds the income ceiling will not receive a stimulus check. This is also the case for the dependence in a household that exceeds the income ceiling. This ceiling is designed to ensure that the stimulus check reaches the families who need it most. Many households are struggling financially amongst the coronavirus pandemic and the American government is trying to support those who are feeling it most. 

What do I need to do to receive my stimulating check?

For every American taxpayer your stimulus check will be automatically delivered to you.  The amount you are entitled to will be decided based on the taxes you have paid, so there’s no need to get in contact with your local government. If you are not required to file taxes, or if your income is under $12,200 ($24,400 for a married couple), you need to enter your payment information on the IRS website to get your stimulus payment.

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Charlotte Diffey

Charlotte is an expert writer with lots of experience in the financial world. Read her articles for useful guides on payday loans and advice on how to boost your savings.