It seems like every time a stimulus check goes out, there’s a five-second pause before someone starts asking, “So . . . will there be another stimulus?” If you’re one of those people who has been wondering if a fourth stimulus will happen, we’ve got your answer: Yes . . . kind of. It’s true, a fourth stimulus check is happening—but only if you live in certain states in America.
Right now, you might be thinking, Wait. What? Really?
Yep, it’s for real. Let’s dig into this topic layer by layer and coast to coast.
Are 4th Stimulus Checks Really Happening?
They are—but they’re not coming from the federal government like the last three stimulus checks did. This time, it all depends on what state you live in. That’s right, these fourth stimulus checks are being given out to some folks at the state and city levels now.
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Back when the American Rescue Plan rolled out, all 50 states as a whole were given $195 billion ($500 million minimum for each state) to help fund their own economic recovery closer to home.1 That’s a lot of dough. But here’s the catch—they don’t have forever to spend that money. The states have to figure out what to spend the money on by the end of 2024, and then they have until the end of 2026 to use up all that cash.2 Those deadlines might sound super far away, but the clock is ticking here.
Which States Are Giving Out a 4th Stimulus Check?
Here’s the thing, all 50 states have access to this money—but they have to figure out how they want to spend it first. So far, these are the states who have made a game plan to use the money as a fourth stimulus check.
4th Stimulus Checks Given Out to Targeted Groups
Some states are digging into that wad of cash the government gave them and giving out the fourth stimulus checks to specific groups of people. The requirements look different for each state, but all seem to have a few things in common—like falling into certain income levels or going through some kind of hardship.
The Grand Canyon State has a different take when it comes to stimulus checks—they’re giving them out to people who are going back to work. Arizona’s Back to Work Program is offering $2,000 to those who got a job after being on unemployment.3 But you have to hold down your new job for at least eight weeks before getting the benefit.
The Golden State is the only one on the list to give out big ol’ broad-sweeping stimulus checks that look like the ones the federal government gave out. Here’s how their numbers break down: Californians making $75,000 or less were sent a one-time check of $600 or $1,200 as part of the Golden State Stimulus I.4 And with the Golden State Stimulus II, they could be eligible for a second stimulus payment anywhere from $500 to $1,100.5 That’s on top of extra money the state paid out through the Young Child Tax Credit to those who have children age 6 or younger.6
These guys decided to shift their focus to giving their stimulus checks to the unemployed. They sent $375 to folks who had gotten at least one unemployment check payment between March 15, 2020, and October 24, 2020.7
Up in the northeastern end of the country, Maine is giving out “disaster relief” payments. These $285 checks are going out as a thank-you to those who were in the workforce during the pandemic.8
In Maryland, anyone who filed for Earned Income Tax Credit on their 2019 taxes can get stimulus checks worth $500 (families) or $300 (individuals).9
If you live in Missouri and work in a mental health facility, nursing home or correctional facility (aka jail or prison), listen up. The state is giving out an extra $250 per paycheck for these folks to thank them for their work during the pandemic.10
- New Mexico
In the Land of Enchantment, $5 million is set to be given out to people who didn’t qualify for the federal stimulus. New Mexicans that fall in a lower-income group will get a one-time payment of $750.11
- New York
Through a program called Excluded Workers Fund, New York state is giving out $3,200–15,600 one-time unemployment benefits to workers who lost employment or income during the COVID-19 pandemic but didn’t qualify for aid like unemployment benefits or stimulus payments.12
The Vermont Frontline Employees Hazard Pay Grant Program gave checks of $1,200–2,000 to frontline workers who served during the beginning months of the pandemic.13 Workers who got a check covered a wide range of jobs like retail and grocery workers, janitors, and health care workers.
4th Stimulus Checks Given Out to Teachers
For other states, their fourth stimulus checks are taking on a new look—as teacher bonuses! It’s no secret that teachers are the unsung heroes of our communities, and they’ve been put through the wringer during the pandemic. To show them the appreciation that they more than deserve, some states are giving teachers a fourth stimulus.
In Florida, teachers will be getting a $1,000 bonus—although some of the details of who qualifies are up in the air. If you’re a teacher in the Sunshine State, check with your district to see if you can get in on this.14
Georgia is extending the $1,000 bonus to both full-time teachers and administrators. Part-time teachers will still score a bonus of $500, and there’s even a plan in place to give a bonus to pre-K teachers.15
Earlier in 2021, Michigan used a grant to pay bonuses of $500 to its teachers and $250 to school support staff. No word yet on whether they’ll give out another bonus, though.16
Our very own Tennessee is giving full-time teachers $1,000 and part-time teachers $500 to thank them for their hard work.17
Now, nothing has happened statewide yet, but some districts in the Lone Star State are giving out their own bonuses. Districts are gifting things like 2–4% raises, a $500 bonus, and even a $2,000 incentive for some teachers to return to the classroom.18
Which Cities Are Giving Out 4th Stimulus Checks?
That’s right—cities are now getting in on the stimulus check action too (it was only a matter of time, right?). See if your town made the list:
Low-income residents of The Windy City have been given stimulus checks at random. You read that right. Chicago will give out $500 checks to 5,000 people each month throughout 2022. They’ll be selected at random for this stimulus lottery.19
- Los Angeles
Like Chicago, LA is handing out payments to low-income residents for a year. Their program, called BIG:LEAP, will give 3,200 randomly chosen people $1,000 each month.20
Pittsburgh’s program is called the Assured Cash Experiment and gives 200 low-income residents $500 each month—for two years. The program will spend $2.5 million on lower-income zip codes.21
- Santa Ana
The close-by neighbors of LA are getting a stimulus program of their own called the Revive Santa Ana Resident Stimulus Program. It will give out $6 million to neighborhoods that fall below the poverty level in Santa Ana. Payments of $300 will be loaded onto prepaid debit cards and given out door to door to about 20,000 residents.22
Seattle has one of the more generous payouts on the list. The Seattle Relief Fund is a $16 million program that gives payments of $1,000–3,000 to low-income residents of the Emerald City.23
Will There Be Another Stimulus Check From the Federal Government?
Most people agree that getting another big stimulus check from the federal government is a long shot at this point. Still, some lawmakers keep pushing for another stimulus check to help Americans who are struggling to rebuild thanks to COVID-19 and its economic impact. And with the Delta and Omicron variants out there—would another stimulus check happen for everyone? You never know. Only time will tell, really. A lot of people didn’t think we’d see a third stimulus check either—but it happened.
With the economy and jobs both on the upswing, the need for a stimulus check is way less than it’s been since the start of the pandemic. Not to mention, a lot of people have been getting extra cash each month from the Child Tax Credit. Add all of that up and it’s easy to see that there might not be another stimulus check. But if there is one, don’t worry—we’ll let you know.
How Have Americans Spent Their Stimulus Checks?
There have been three—count them—three wide-reaching stimulus checks from the government since the pandemic hit. And now that a good chunk of time has gone by since they dished out the first one, we’re starting to see how people spent that money. Our State of Personal Finance study found that of those who got a stimulus check:
- 41% used it to pay for necessities like food and bills
- 38% saved the money
- 11% spent it on things not considered necessities
- 5% invested the money
And on top of that, here’s some good news: Data from the Census Bureau shows that food shortages went down by 40% and financial instability shrank by 45% after the last two stimulus checks.24 That’s a big deal. But the question here is—if people are in a better spot now, will they be more likely to manage their money to make sure things stay that way?
Don’t Wait for a 4th Stimulus Check to Take Control of Your Money
Getting your hands on some extra cash when you’re in a tough spot can feel like a breath of fresh air, but don’t depend on a stimulus as your money plan. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again and again (as many times as we need to)—don’t wait around for the government to take care of you. It’s never a good bet.
And truth be told, you’ll be waiting around for a long time. Sure, a fourth stimulus check can help you out, but it isn’t going to be your lifeline. If you really want to take control of your money, you need a proven plan that you are in charge of.
Sooner or later, stimulus checks run out. But knowing how to budget, save, and make your money goals happen is something that keeps on giving. And we know just the thing to get you there. The premium version of our budgeting app EveryDollar, and Financial Peace University (only available in Ramsey+) are the trusted tools you need to build habits that keep you on track with your money goals. Get your money working for you and start creating the life you want—without waiting on the government.