With the distribution of federal stimulus payments looking as though it is approaching the terminal stage, many Americans who are still dependent on these payments for their financial security for the remainder of the pandemic may be facing an uncertain future. For residents of at least one state, however, additional help may be on the way.
With its most recent batch of payments, the IRS has now sent 164 million stimulus payments worth roughly $386 billion dollars to eligible Americans, but has now also sent out over 85 percent of the funds earmarked for use in stimulus payments. The most recent batch was also the smallest batch distributed so far, and was focused primarily on sending payments to those Americans who were only eligible following the filing of their 2020 tax returns. This suggests that the majority of eligible Americans may now have received their payments.
With stimulus payments set to wind down soon, many Americans are now looking to the future and calling for additional payments, with several online petitions now cumulatively including over two million signatures advocating for further payments. They have been joined by a growing number of Congressional Democrats who have also been calling on the Biden administration to push for additional stimulus payments.
Residents of California hoping for more payments may be in luck. Many eligible Californians will already have received additional help from the state in the form of $600 or $1,200 stimulus payments as part of California’s Golden State Stimulus program, which was tied to qualifications based on 2020 tax returns.
Now, California Governor Gavin Newsom has announced plans for an additional relief program that will reportedly cost the state $100 billion, including $8 billion in direct stimulus payments. As part of the plan, Californian’s who make up to $75,000 in gross annual adjusted income will be eligible for a one-time payment of $600, with an additional $500 available to families with dependents. Worth noting, Californian’s who already received a stimulus payment from the state earlier in the year will not be eligible for the $600 payment, but families with dependents will still be eligible for the $500 payment.
Also included in the proposed plan is $5.2 billion for rental assistance, which will aim to cover 100 percent of back rent owed by residents of California that have been heavily impacted by the pandemic, along with $2 billion designed to help Californians pay off overdue utility bills.
The plan has not yet been approved by California’s state legislature, with the governor’s budget plan not due until the end of this week. The legislature will then have until June 15 to pass the budget.
The announcement of Governor Newsom’s plan comes as the federal government recently distributed guidelines to state and local governments regarding funding as part of the State and Local Coronavirus Fiscal Recovery Fund, which could result in additional stimulus payments for some Americans.
Eli Fuhrman is a contributing writer for The National Interest.