Here's Why Some People Are Being Sent a Bonus $1,000 Stimulus Check

by Christy Bieber | Published on July 29, 2021

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A smiling teacher standing at the front of an elementary school classroom while students raise their hands.

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Are you eligible for the money?

Most Americans have received three stimulus checks from the federal government since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. This included two payments authorized by the Trump Administration in 2020 as well as a $1,400 stimulus payment that President Biden made a top priority when he came into office in January of 2021.

For most people, this money has long been spent, and the wait is on for a fourth stimulus check to be deposited into American's bank accounts. But despite having broad support and despite the fact close to three million people have signed a petition requesting ongoing stimulus checks during the pandemic, a fourth check is likely not going to happen for everyone.

Some Americans, though, are being sent a bonus fourth stimulus check -- which could be valued at up to an additional $1,000.

These are the Americans on track for another stimulus check

The next stimulus payments will be going to a far narrower group of people than the last payments. Specifically, the money will be available only to teachers in certain states.

Georgia, Michigan, and Florida are currently the first three states to make concrete plans to send a special bonus payment to teachers. These states have already used federal stimulus money that was made available as part of COVID-19 relief efforts to send out these payments, or they will be doing so soon. Specifically:

  • Georgia sent out around 230,000 "retention bonuses" valued at $1,000 each to K–12 teachers and public school staff. The money for these bonuses was provided by the federal government, which sent Georgia $660.6 million in stimulus aid.
  • Florida will be sending out $1,000 payments to an estimated 175,000 teachers and 3,600 principals. The payments are not available to other school staff. The money is a "thank you" bonus and it will be distributed as soon as next month. It was slated to come from federal stimulus aid that Florida received, but a dispute over whether this is an eligible use of the funds may necessitate getting the money from elsewhere in the state's budget.
  • Michigan sent out a total of $73 million in stimulus money at the end of February. This included $500 in hazard bonus pay for eligible teachers and $250 in hazard bonus pay for school staffers.

Why are teachers and school staff getting more stimulus money?

Some state governments and local school boards have made the decision to send stimulus money to teachers as a thank you for the efforts they made during the COVID-19 pandemic. Many teachers risked exposure by offering in-person instruction, while many others had to scramble to transition to online coursework during an unprecedented global public health crisis.

Although some question whether this is an appropriate use of federal aid, there's reason to believe that many other states will follow the lead of Georgia, Florida, and Michigan. In fact, a bill in Hawaii would've provided teachers with a one-time $2,200 payment, but the governor vetoed it. And California, Colorado, Tennessee, and Texas have also considered providing stimulus payments to teachers.

For those in the education field, it's a good idea to keep tabs on whether your state authorizes another stimulus check for you. And if you aren't a teacher, you should also see what programs your state may be offering that you could take part in. States received millions of dollars in federal coronavirus relief funds, and this money will need to be spent over time to help citizens.

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