SOME families could receive as much as $14,000 in COVID stimulus payments thanks to enhanced child tax credits.
The historic $1.9 trillion America Rescue Plan, which was signed earlier this month, may hand some families several thousand extra dollars in relief, on top of the standard $1,400 checks.
Under the bill, stimulus checks provide $1,400 all adults earning $75,000 or less, and to all dependants within that household.
So married couples who file jointly with up to $150,000 in income would be eligible for the full amount.
Equally, a family of four earning less than the same amount in annual income would receive an additional $1,400 per-child, amounting to $5,600 in overall payments.
That amount comes in addition to the $2,400 (or $600 per person) they would've received during the last round of stimulus in January, amounting to $8,000 overall.
Then, the expanded child tax credit under the latest bill could provide an additional $6,000 to $7,200 per family.
Prior to the bill being signed, families received $2,000 per child under 17, so long as their income is under $200,000 for individuals or $400,000 per married couple.
But the America Rescue Plan raised those numbers to $3,600 per child up to age 6, and $3,000 for those ages 6 to 17, for married couples with under $150,000 in income.
The plan also allows families to receive the child tax credits monthly.
So, beginning in July, a family could receive up to $300 per month for children up to age 6, and $250 per month for children from six through 17.
Altogether, that would add up to more than $14,000 for a family of four.
This excludes federal unemployment benefits, should they qualify.
The latest round of stimulus payments were aimed at helping individuals and families stay afloat during the pandemic as the virus begins to slow.
But the financial relief is also re-configuring the social safety net, Ed Mills, Washington policy analyst at Raymond James, told CNBC.
"A test of universal basic income has arrived in the United States," he said.
Universal basic income gives individuals a monthly stipend to survive on.
The concept began receiving widespread attention in 2019 when then-Democratic presidential candidate, Andrew Yang, called for monthly $1,000 checks to be sent to every American.
Yang's proposition brought the concept out of fringe conversations and directly into the mainstream spotlight.
"There was a clear constituency there for this," Mills said.
And when the pandemic struck last March, providing additional income through stimulus checks, unemployment insurance and now the child tax credit became one of the tools that were used.
“In the financial crisis, Democrats felt as if they ultimately did too little,” Mills said. “Here they’ve decided they want to err on the side of doing too much.”
GOP lawmakers, meanwhile, have questioned the extra unemployment benefits, which represented the first wave of an experiment with universal income, Mills said.
With the experiment firmly underway, Mills said the only remaining question is how long the additional financial support will last.
"What we see in D.C. is that, once the toolkit has been expanded, once a federal benefit has been established, it’s very difficult to walk that back," he said.
The most likely provision to be expanded is the child tax credit, Mills forecasted.
"This has all the workings of trying to be a test run for something more permanent," he said.
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