Wait a minute—are people really talking about stimulus money again? That’s right, just when you thought they were all a long lost thing of the past, here come inflation stimulus checks. The whole point of these is to, you guessed it, help combat inflation—not to stimulate the economy like those other checks did. After all, that might have a little something to do with why we have this killer inflation in the first place. But that’s a topic for another day . . .
So, what’s the deal with inflation stimulus checks, and is your state on the list for dishing one out? Let’s see what all the fuss is about.
What Are Inflation Stimulus Checks?
Inflation stimulus checks are relief funds set aside to help people cope with the high costs of groceries, gas and just about everything else (thanks to inflation). With inflation at its highest rate in about 40 years, it’s no surprise states are trying to do something to help battle the insane prices these days.
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Since 2020, we’ve all learned a thing or two about stimulus checks, right? But these inflation relief checks are a little different since they’re coming from the state level—not the federal government. On top of that, their whole purpose isn’t really to stimulate the economy here but instead to help people cover the high prices of gas and groceries.
Which States Are Giving Out Inflation Stimulus Checks?
Remember how some states were dishing out their own state stimulus checks after the pandemic? Well, these states are upping their game and giving out their own inflation relief checks now. See if your state made the list:
Residents of Alaska got a $662 energy relief payment added on top of the annual Permanent Fund dividend that all Alaskans receive (this year it was $2,622).1 Yep, Alaskans get a dividend from the state’s oil revenue.
Leave it to California to have an inflation relief check plan that’s massive—just like the state. After a pitch by Governor Gavin Newsom earlier in the year to fight inflation and gas prices, the state landed on a $17 billion inflation relief package called the Middle Class Tax Refund for California residents. Inflation relief payments from $200 up to $1,050 started going out to 23 million Californians in October either by direct deposit or debit card.2 The state has already started sending out these one-time payments, and it should finish by January 2023.3
Colorado follows something called the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (TABOR), which requires the state to refund extra tax revenue that’s above its spending limit. Because of that, Colorado Cash Back checks of $750 for individual filers and $1,500 for joint filers went out to Colorado residents in September. All Colorado residents who filed a 2021 tax return are eligible for the payment.4
In May, Delaware started giving out $300 inflation relief checks to taxpayers in the First State.5 The payments were part of the 2022 Delaware Relief Rebate Program.
The Sunshine State sent $450 per child to foster parents as part of the Hope Florida Program. The payments were made to help 59,000 foster families deal with rising prices.6
If you live in Georgia, then tax rebates are probably on your mind. Taxpayers in the Peach State got a one-time tax credit of up to $500 after they filed their 2021 state tax returns.7
In Hawaii, the governor used his State of the State address to bring up the idea of sending out direct payments to taxpayers in the form of tax refunds. Hawaiians received direct inflation relief payments of $100 or $300 (depending on income) starting in September.8
In the Gem State, taxpayers are getting two tax rebates to buffer the impact of inflation. Idaho paid out $75 for each taxpayer and dependent or 12% of their 2020 taxes—whichever amount was bigger—earlier this year. A second payment of $300 for single filers and $600 for joint fillers—or 10% of their 2021 tax bill, whichever was greater—went out to taxpayers starting in September.9
The Land of Lincoln started sending out individual income tax rebates and property tax rebates in September. The individual rebates are $50 for each person and $100 per dependent (up to three per family). The property tax rebate is worth up to a maximum of $300 based on how much you paid in Illinois property taxes.10
Most residents of the Hoosier State received inflation help in the form of two Automatic Taxpayer Refunds (ATR) that started in May. Taxpayers got up to $325 per person through either direct deposit or a check.11
Earlier this year, Governor Laura Kelly of Kansas proposed a one-time tax rebate of $250 ($500 for married couples filing jointly). But her proposal got shot down by the Kansas Legislature.12
In February, Senators in the Bluegrass State proposed a $500 rebate for individual taxpayers to be funded from the state’s budget surplus. But the $1 billion plan failed to pass the Kentucky House.13
Maine sent its residents $850 checks to help pay for everyday expenses. An estimated 858,000 taxpayers got inflation relief checks.14
Massachusetts scrapped a plan to give residents one-time stimulus payments of $250 per person ($500 for married taxpayers) to help them pay for high gas prices and deal with inflation. Instead, the Bay State is going to give eligible taxpayers a 14% refund of their 2021 income tax liability. Refunds are coming from the state’s budget surplus and are expected to be sent out in November.15
In the North Star State, Governor Tim Walz proposed the idea of cutting $1,000 inflation relief checks to help with record-high inflation prices on things like gas and food. The governor’s proposal got shot down, but the state created a Frontline Worker Program that gave $487 to a little over 1 million Minnesotans who worked on the front lines during COVID-19.16
- New Jersey
When New Jersey expanded the ANCHOR (Affordable New Jersey Communities for Homeowners and Renters) Tax Relief Program, it became one of the biggest relief programs in the history of the state. The plan includes $2 billion in direct property tax relief—with tax credits of $1,000 or $1,500 paid to homeowners and $450 given to renters. The application period is still open, and payments are set to go out in spring 2023.17 And that’s on top of the Middle Class Tax Rebate, which gave taxpayers with at least one dependent up to $500.18
- New Mexico
In the Land of Enchantment, the governor signed a bill that put a couple of different inflation relief checks into people’s hands. They were a refundable child tax credit ($175 per child) and two refundable income tax rebates. The first tax rebate ($250 for single filers and $500 for joint filers) went out in July. A second rebate ($500 for single filers and $1,000 for joint filers) was sent to taxpayers in equal payments in June and August. Add it all up and families in New Mexico got a payout of up to $1,500.19
- New York
The Empire State recently announced that 1.75 million low-income New Yorkers will receive an average payment of $270 to combat inflation.20 This is on top of the homeowner tax rebate credit (HTRC) that helped New York homeowners offset inflation by giving them property tax relief.21 The exact check amount depended on things like their income and what city they call home.
The Beaver State sent out one-time $600 assistance payments to low-income households earlier this year.22 If you qualified for the Oregon Earned Income Tax Credit, you were eligible for the assistance payment.
Pennsylvania targeted tax rebates for people with disabilities (older than 18), widows and widowers (older than 50), and all residents 65 or older. Residents of the Keystone State who qualified and satisfied income requirements received $650, and can apply for a $455 bonus rebate. If they owned a home, they received $975, and qualify for a bonus of $682.23
- Rhode Island
The cost of everything related to taking care of kids has gone up. To help with those expenses, Rhode Island created a Child Tax Rebate of $250 per child (up to a maximum of $750 for three kids). Families started receiving their payments in October.24
- South Carolina
Just in time for the holidays, people living in the Palmetto State will see inflation rebate checks coming their way in November or December. Any South Carolina resident who paid at least $100 in taxes will get a $100 income tax rebate check (with the max rebate being $800).25
Virginia is for lovers—and it’s for inflation stimulus checks too. After some back-and-forth, the state finally settled on giving taxpayers one-time tax rebates of $250 for individuals and $500 for joint filers. Payments started going out in September depending on when you filed.26
How Are States Paying for Inflation Stimulus Checks?
It’s time for the question on everyone’s mind—who’s paying for all of this? Most states are funding these inflation rebate checks through their state budget surpluses. Cool, cool. But what the heck does that mean? Well, it’s like when you do your monthly budget and have some money left over. Basically, states budget out how they plan to spend cash throughout the year. When they have money left over, that’s the state’s budget surplus. That “extra money” is how these states are paying for those inflation relief checks.
So, where did those surpluses come from? Many states have gotten record sales tax revenue because of inflation. When groceries and other necessities cost more, you end up paying more sales tax. And every state also got piles of federal aid money during the pandemic that increased their budget surpluses.
Most states haven’t said exactly how much of their surplus they’re giving back to taxpayers, but some have been pretty open about it. In places like Maine, the state is putting over half of the budget surplus back in the pockets of the taxpayers.27
Will the Federal Government Give Out Inflation Stimulus Checks?
Oh, it’s trying. With the way the government likes to cut checks these days, we’re actually surprised it hasn’t dished out inflation stimulus checks yet. But so far, there are no inflation stimulus checks coming from the federal level anytime soon.
That said, a few senators banded together to try to get something rolling when it comes to gas stimulus checks. It’s called the Gas Rebate Act of 2022—legislation that would give a $100 monthly rebate (and $100 for each dependent) to help Americans deal with these nutty gas prices we’re seeing.28 The Gas Rebate Act was supposed to send payments in any month when the national average gas price is $4 or more, but it never really picked up much support in the Senate.
While a proposed federal gas tax holiday also didn’t get a vote, several states decided to have their own gas tax holidays.
Whether You’re Getting an Inflation Stimulus Check or Not, You Need a Budget
Here’s a crazy idea—instead of hoping for Uncle Sam to swoop in and save the day with an inflation stimulus check, give yourself a raise to tackle inflation. Okay, it might not be as easy as snapping your fingers, but it is as easy as making a budget.
Most people feel like they got a raise after making their very first budget! That’s because doing a monthly budget actually puts you in control of your money. When you tell your money where to go instead of wondering where it went, you feel like you just got a raise. And with this record-breaking inflation we’re having, that will really come in handy.
The easiest way to make a budget? Our free budgeting app, EveryDollar. It’s an awesome stress-free way to make your first budget. So, if you live in a state that’s cutting an inflation stimulus check, EveryDollar will have your back when it comes to putting that money to work for you. And let’s be real—that’s a lot more than the government can say.