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Fourth stimulus check update: Deadline approaching for $1,400 payment

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Now that the final month of 2021 is here, an unprecedented year-long stretch of sending billions of dollars to Americans in the form of stimulus payments is at last drawing to a close. Tens of millions of Americans got as many as eight payments, and perhaps even more, thanks to the six child tax credit stimulus checks. Plus a third payment from the federal government, as well as payments sent out at the state level in many parts of the US. Along these lines, the month of December will be particularly noteworthy for many Americans. Because at some point this month, many of them will get what could be considered a fourth stimulus check. And we’ve got all the details below.

Fourth stimulus check coming

For some people, this means a stimulus check that’s pretty big. The new payments could be much bigger than most of the child tax credit payments going out this month, in fact.

To be sure, most recipients on December 15 will get the same amount that’s come over the past five checks. They’ll total a few hundred dollars per eligible child, in other words. Meanwhile, some families have only just now started to get these checks. If that’s you, and if you signed up by November 15? The IRS is actually going to send you a sort of catch-up check in December.

This means that what took other families six checks to receive will come as a lump-sum payment for the latecomers in December. With some of those checks totaling as much as $1,800 per eligible child. And that’s not the only way someone can get a fourth stimulus check in the coming weeks.

Payments in specific states, plus a plus-up refresher

As noted above, individual states are also doing their own thing (separate from the federal government). That includes states like Maine sending out checks to residents. In that state, a one-time payment worth $285 is going to more than 500,000 residents. Those checks are going out in waves through the end of the year.

In California, where the Golden State Stimulus II is paying residents as much as $1,100, it’s a similar story.

Meanwhile, the end of December also marks the end of what’s known as “plus-up” payments. Basically, the IRS describes these as “supplemental payments for people who … received payments based on their 2019 tax returns but are eligible for a new or larger payment based on their recently processed 2020 tax returns.”

The plus-up payments could also include a situation where a person’s income slipped in 2020 compared to 2019, or a person had a new child or dependent listed on their latest tax return, among other situations.

More checks in 2022?

Again, everything we noted above represents what we know for sure. A sort of winding down, if you will, of the stimulus payments that’s happening in December.

What we don’t know for sure yet is what, if anything, new will happen next year along these lines. The Senate has not yet taken final action on President Biden’s Build Back Better legislation. Among other things, it extends the child tax credit expansion throughout 2022. Meaning, 12 more monthly stimulus checks could be on the way — depending on the Build Back Better vote, of course. As it stands now, it seems extremely likely that the child tax credits will indeed be extended at least through the end of 2022.

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Andy Meek is a reporter based in Memphis who has covered media, entertainment, and culture for over 20 years. His work has appeared in outlets including The Guardian, Forbes, and The Financial Times, and he’s written for BGR since 2015. Andy's coverage includes technology and entertainment, and he has a particular interest in all things streaming. Over the years, he’s interviewed legendary figures in entertainment and tech that range from Stan Lee to John McAfee, Peter Thiel, and Reed Hastings.