A March 10 2021 Facebook status update about the March 2021 stimulus appeared to contain further information about what the relief bill entailed:
$1400 stimmy per adult.
$1400 stimmy per child
$300 a month per child starting in July (5 and younger)
$250 a month per child starting in July (6 and older)
Facebook text-based status updates in graphic form limited the amount of text any one person could share, but the post’s detail was relatively straightforward to the many Americans who had been following economic stimulus talks in the time between Joe Biden’s inauguration and the passage of the bill in March 2021.
According to the post, the pending relief included:
- $1400 as a one-time payment to eligible adults;
- $1400 as a one-time payment to eligible children*;
- $300 per child under five per month beginning July 2021, and;
- $250 per child over five per month beginning July 2021.
The first provision ($1400 one-time payments to adults) was, again, fairly straightforward due to the previous two economic stimulus payments between March 2020 and March 2021.
Previous Stimulus Packages
The CARES Act was signed into law on March 27, 2020, and the first stimulus check, which maxed out at $1,200 per person (with an extra $500 per dependent), would have arrived as early as mid-April 2020, either as a paper check in your mailbox or via direct deposit into your bank account.
Notably, that initial April 2020 stimulus payment included payouts for child dependents — but only those 16 and under:
Washington lawmakers passed a $2 trillion stimulus bill called the CARES Act in March. That legislation authorized the U.S. government to send Americans stimulus checks of up to $1,200 per individual or $2,400 per married couple, as well as $500 per child.
But there is a catch: Those children must be under 17 years old, in keeping with the definition for the child tax credit.
Not only did parents whose dependent children were over the age of 16 not receive the dependent credit, but emancipated minors and a group of young adults were notably bypassed in the “first stimulus.”
At the tail-end of December 2020, a much smaller “second stimulus” was distributed:
Generally, U.S. citizens and resident aliens who are not eligible to be claimed as a dependent on someone else’s income tax return are eligible for this second payment. Eligible individuals will automatically receive an Economic Impact Payment of up to $600 for individuals or $1,200 for married couples and up to $600 for each qualifying child. Generally, if you have adjusted gross income for 2019 up to $75,000 for individuals and up to $150,000 for married couples filing joint returns and surviving spouses, you will receive the full amount of the second payment. For filers with income above those amounts, the payment amount is reduced.
Changes with the Third Stimulus
Regarding the third stimulus in March 2021, CNet reported:
The rules around the third check are different in many ways from the first two. For one thing, it changes the definition of an eligible dependent, making people of any age eligible for a payment. So how will you be affected if you’re between the ages of 17 and 24 (the group that was left out with the first two payments)?
… If you’re unmarried, you don’t claim children as your own dependents, your parents provide you with financial support equal to or greater than half of your annual income and you made less than $4,200 in 2019, then your parents can still claim you as their dependent. Another is the residency test: If you’re a full-time student under the age of 24 who resides with an adult taxpayer more than half of the year (unless you’re living on a college campus), you can be claimed as a dependent, no matter how much money you make.
Given the limited number of letters available for Facebook posts of that format, the first two points were accurate — the “third stimulus” included $1400 per adult, and $1400 per dependent of any age.
$250 to $300 per Child Starting in July 2021
The third and fourth points in the post were about monthly payments of $250 (for children over five) and $300 (for children under five) beginning in July 2021.
A March 7 2021 New York Times article about the American Rescue Plan mentioned the $250 and $300 payments:
… a mold-breaking plan, on the verge of congressional passage, to provide most parents a monthly check of up to $300 per child.
Obscured by other parts of President Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus package, which won Senate approval on Saturday, the child benefit has the makings of a policy revolution. Though framed in technocratic terms as an expansion of an existing tax credit, it is essentially a guaranteed income for families with children, akin to children’s allowances that are common in other rich countries.
The bill, which is likely to pass the House and be signed by Mr. Biden [in March 2021], raises the maximum benefit most families will receive by up to 80 percent per child and extends it to millions of families whose earnings are too low to fully qualify under existing law. Currently, a quarter of children get a partial benefit, and the poorest 10 percent get nothing.
While the current program distributes the money annually, as a tax reduction to families with income tax liability or a check to those too poor to owe income taxes, the new program would send both groups monthly checks to provide a more stable cash flow.
Much of this story was about the tax code in general, the source of the funding, and the programs of peer nations like Canada. But the amount in the post was mentioned at least once:
The president now promotes projections that the monthly checks — up to $300 for young children and $250 for those over 5 — would cut child poverty by 45 percent, and by more than 50 percent among Black families.
A March 9 2021 Washington Post Q&A was similarly scattered on specifics, explaining:
How much more will I get under the Child Tax Credit provision?
The bill would expand the Child Tax Credit for the 2021 tax year to a fully refundable $3,600 for children 5 and younger and $3,000 for those ages 6 to 17. Paying the benefit for 17-year-olds provides an extra year of eligibility, [former taxpayer advocate Nina] Olson points out.
How will I receive the money under the Child Tax Credit?
Details of how — and how often — the money will be sent by the IRS still need to be worked out.
The stimulus measure directs the Treasury Department to advance these payments “periodically,” which most likely will mean monthly, but we’ll need confirmation from that agency and the IRS in the weeks ahead, [the Tax Foundation’s Garrett] Watson pointed out.
Overall, the windfall for parents could bring an estimated 40 percent of children in America out of poverty. This would be long overdue for our nation’s families, and at a time they need it the most.
On March 11 2021, CNBC reported:
The new child tax credit will temporarily increase the amount of money parents get by up to $1,600 more per child: $3,000 per child under 17 and $3,600 per child under 6.
Parents will also be able to get an advance on half of their 2021 credit, with monthly payments of $250 or $300 per child starting in July and running through December . The remaining child credit will be given after filing 2021 taxes next year.
News outlets confirmed provisions for payments between $250 and $300 per month, per child “starting in July” 2021, expected to cease in December 2021 (with a possible extension.)
A viral social media post described a “$1400 stimmy per adult”, plus a “$1400 stimmy per child”, along with “$300 a month per child starting in July (5 and younger)”, and “$250 a month per child starting in July (6 and older).” In the context of previous stimulus bills, the post was largely accurate. The March 2021 American Rescue Plan included $1400 per adult, expanding dependent credits to dependents over the age of 16 and to $1400, and additional payments of $250 to $300 were expected monthly for parents of young children.