- Florida’s Governor said low-income families will receive $450 per child.
- Maine will be sending payments of up to $850 – more than any other state government.
- Some economists have warned relief payment checks may drive up inflation.
Families across the US are feeling the strain of soaring prices but some states are stepping in to help.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ administration on July 21 announced it would reallocate some COVID-19 relief funds and send $450 a child directly to low-income families in the state. 17 other states have also announced similar plans.
Florida has set aside $35.5 million from the $1 billion the state received from the American Rescue Plan Act to fund inflation-offsetting plans.
In response to the pandemic, the Biden administration sent out direct payments in March 2021 as part of the American Rescue Plan, though critics at the time argued that those payments could help fuel inflation, and similar questions exist around states’ check-based efforts.
Relief payment checks are not the same as the Child Tax Credit that took effect in July last year. The American Rescue Plan – which was President Joe Biden’s first major legislative victory – was to help increase the Child Tax Credit from $2,000 per child to $3,000 for those over the age of six and from $2,000 to $3,600 for children under the age of six, and raised the age limit from 16 to 17.
The rescue plan was set out to help combat the virus, struggling families, and the economy.
What is a relief payment check?
Stimulus or relief payment checks are sent to taxpayers by the US government and are intended to stimulate the economy by providing consumers with extra spending money.
During the financial crisis in 2008, the Obama administration set up stimulus checks and estimated that sending them out would prevent unemployment rates from going beyond 8%.
The Biden administration doesn’t appear to have plans in place for such payments at the federal level. But, while it may not seem obvious, President Joe Biden is still sending cash to struggling families as part of the $1.9 trillion stimulus law that Democrats enacted in March 2021.
The stimulus isn’t necessarily seen as helpful by everyone. James Furman, former economist for President Obama shared the view that relief payments could drive up inflation, rather than truly help the situation.
Am I eligible for a payment?
While a stimulus check is meant to support struggling families, the amount is agreed upon by state governments, and eligibility criteria can vary.
In Florida, to be eligible you must be a foster parent, a caregiver, or a participant in the Guardian Assistance Program or the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program.
The scheme distributes federal cash aid to impoverished families and funds must be spent by September 30 or be returned by state governments.
Florida’s Department of Children and Families said the funds will help about 59,000 families, and like other COVID-19 relief funds, there’s no application.
In Maine, which is offering $850 – more than any other state – eligible recipients include singles who earn less than $100,000, heads-of-household making less than $150,000, and couples earning less than $200,000 combined. It will help an estimated 858,000 people.
Here are all the other states that are giving money to residents and their criteria.