Stimulus Checks 2022: Will a Fourth Check Be Coming?

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  • Millions of Americans want more COVID-19 stimulus money.
  • The chances of another payment are low.
  • Some people are still owed stimulus funds and will receive a fourth check this year.

Another stimulus check is probably off the table this year.

When COVID-19 was first declared a pandemic, lawmakers acted quickly on a bipartisan basis to provide the financial relief Americans needed. Under the Trump administration, several major relief bills were passed with support from both sides of the aisle. These bills provided two stimulus checks.

After President Biden took office, however, bipartisan support for stimulus programs ended. The American Rescue Plan Act was passed on a party-line basis and provided the largest stimulus payment yet, delivering $1,400 checks into the bank accounts of eligible Americans. These $1,400 payments were available for both adults and dependents.

After the American Rescue Plan Act, however, no further financial relief has been provided by Washington, D.C. lawmakers despite the fact many continue to struggle and millions have put their names on a petition calling for ongoing direct payments.

Since it has been so long since the public has been offered a stimulus payment, it's natural that many people wonder whether a fourth check will be coming.

A fourth stimulus check is possible -- but unlikely -- for most people

For most Americans, it is extremely unlikely a fourth stimulus check will be provided. Here are a few key reasons why:

  • The third check was passed on a party-line basis and there's unlikely to be any Republican support for a fourth. Republicans weren't in favor of a third check when there was arguably more justification for it. And there's a limited number of times Democrats can get a bill through Congress without Republican support. Democrats must use a procedural process called reconciliation to advance legislation unless they can get at least 10 Republicans on board. Reconciliation can be used a limited number of times, and the Biden administration has other priorities for further reconciliation bills.
  • Democratic lawmakers are not all on board for another check: Because of the way the U.S. Senate works -- and the fact the Senate is split 50-50 among Republicans and Democrats -- it's not possible for Democrats to pass legislation without unanimous support from all Democratic senators, unless they convince Republicans to cross party lines. It's unlikely another stimulus bill would get 50 votes among Democrats as some of the more moderate senators on the left were wary of providing even a third check.
  • Lockdowns aren't likely: Support for the first two stimulus checks was high because of widespread lockdowns that shut down businesses. It's unlikely lockdowns will occur on a widespread basis as there's little support for them among the public so far into the pandemic and with so many Americans vaccinated.

For all of these reasons, another check is unlikely to happen unless conditions take a dramatic turn for the worse -- such as another COVID-19 variant that is vaccine resistant, easily transmitted, and more deadly.

Some Americans will be getting a fourth stimulus check

Despite the fact a fourth check won't happen for most Americans, some will get another payment in 2022. This can happen if:

  • They did not receive their full stimulus payments in 2021. Those who missed out on part or all of their payments could include people whose incomes dropped in 2021 and who became eligible for a stimulus check despite their 2020 income being too high to qualify. Anyone who added a dependent last year may also be owed payments due for that dependent. To get this money, it will be necessary to file a 2021 tax return.
  • Their state provides another stimulus check. Some states are using money provided by the federal government for COVID-19 relief to provide payments this year.

Outside of these situations, Americans shouldn't expect more help from Washington in the form of a fourth stimulus check in 2022 unless the pandemic takes a devastating turn.

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