Mar 25, 2021
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About this Deal
You could be eligible for way more than a $1,400 stimulus check. Here are all the special circumstances for parents and older adults.
The new stimulus bill, which includes a third stimulus check that caps at $1,400, has already gone out to millions of Americans, many of whom are receiving much more money this time around than in either of the first two payments. While eligibility rules for the stimulus check itself include stricter income limits now, there are a number of other financial perks in the bill that will benefit some of the most vulnerable Americans, including parents and the elderly.
Most prominently, the definition of dependent has been expanded to include dependents of any age -- including adults. The American Rescue Plan includes several provisions aimed at lowering child poverty rates in the US, which bring some families an extra infusion of cash this year. For instance, the Child Tax Credit has been majorly expanded, up to $3,600 for each qualifying child.
Read on for everything else in the stimulus bill that could give parents and older adults more money this year. And in the meantime, here's how to track your stimulus check, how much money you should expect to receive, what to do if you haven't received your payment yet, and what we know so far about a fourth stimulus check.
More people count as dependents
Under the plan, dependents of any age (including children, young adults and older adult relatives) are eligible for up to $1,400 each in stimulus payments. This money won't come in the form of their "own" check, however, but instead will be added to the household's total. Calculate your estimated share here.
An expanded $3,600 Child Tax Credit
Parents can usually claim a CTC of up to $2,000 on their taxes for every child under age 17. The American Rescue Plan says families with children aged 17 and under receive a credit of $3,000, while those with children under the age of 6 receive a $3,600 credit. It also makes the credit fully refundable, removing both the dollar cap and earnings limit that currently prevents many low-income families with children from receiving the full credit, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. (Read more details about the child tax credit changes here, and when the IRS could start sending Child Tax Credit payments.)
To make child care more affordable for families, the plan provides a child care tax credit for kids under age 13 -- a total of up to $4,000 for one child, or $8,000 for two or more children. The credit is refundable, and available to families making less than $125,000 per year. Those making between $125,000 and $400,000 receive a partial credit (find out what your adjusted gross income is, here). The plan also calls on Congress to provide funding to keep child care centers open, and improve wages and benefits for child care workers.
Stimulus checks for adults over 65, including dependents
Older adults (including recipients of SSI or SSDI benefits) are eligible for a third stimulus check of up to $1,400, if they meet eligibility requirements. This includes older adults who are listed as dependents on someone else's taxes, though their share of stimulus money gets added to the household's total amount. (Find out all of the rules around stimulus checks for older adults.)
Expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit
Designed to benefit people with lower incomes, this tax credit can reduce your taxable income and wages. The relief plan raises this credit for childless adults from about $530 to $1,500, and raises the income limit for the credit from $16,000 to $21,000. It also expands the eligible age range, eliminating the age cap for older workers. And if your earnings fall in 2021 due to the pandemic, you won't see your credit reduced. (Find out more about how to claim the Earned Income Tax Credit this year.)
More funding for aging and disability services
The American Rescue Plan includes additional funds for aging and disability services programs, but it doesn't go into depth about where exactly that money goes.