This Group Has $37 Billion in Stimulus Funds Coming Its Way

by Maurie Backman | Published on Nov. 20, 2021

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Three female roommates sitting around the dining table in their apartment.

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A fourth stimulus check may be off the table, but that doesn't mean there's no more aid available.

Key points

  • At this point, a fourth stimulus check seems highly unlikely anytime soon.
  • Renters could be in line for additional aid in the not-so-distant future.

At this point, it's become pretty obvious that a fourth stimulus check just isn't in the cards, or at least not anytime soon. With October's unemployment rate reaching a pandemic-era low and plenty of jobs being available, it's hard to make the case for a widespread round of aid.

But that doesn't mean there isn't more stimulus funding to be had. For one thing, those in line for the boosted Child Tax Credit should still see one more installment payment hit their bank accounts this year. And those in line for rental assistance could end up getting a windfall, too.

There's more rent relief money to go around

Countless Americans struggled with income loss and increased expenses in the course of the pandemic. That put many people in a position where they couldn't pay their rent.

For much of the pandemic, there was an eviction ban in place that barred landlords from having tenants removed from their homes due to an inability to pay. That ban expired over the summer, though, and while some states and cities now have their own extended protections in place, many Americans remain at risk of losing their homes.

The good news is that there's a massive pool of rent relief funds that many struggling renters are eligible for. Between the last two stimulus bills, nearly $46 billion in rent relief dollars was made available to the public. Of that, only about 20% has been disbursed. That means there's still roughly $37 billion in rental assistance to go around, and those who haven't yet applied for it should do so immediately.

Do you qualify for rental assistance?

For the most part, the rules surrounding rent relief eligibility are the same no matter what state you live in. To qualify, you must attest to the fact that you or a member of your household lost income during the pandemic, incurred added expenses, or lost a job. You must also prove you're at risk of becoming homeless. Since the aforementioned eviction ban is no longer in place, a past due notice from your landlord should suffice for that purpose.

Meanwhile, your income cannot exceed 80% of your area's median income to qualify for rent relief funds. But generally, the size of your household is taken into account when setting those thresholds -- meaning, the income limits for a two-person household are lower than the income limits for a five-person household.

If you qualify for aid, you could receive up to 18 months' worth of rent. Some state programs have a cap on the total amount of aid you can receive, though.

If you haven't yet applied for rent relief but meet the qualifications, it pays to apply as soon as you can. In some cases, your landlord may be willing to file the application on your behalf, which is allowed. Even if you live in a state with extended tenant protections, at some point, landlords will be allowed to move forward with evictions. The sooner you set yourself up for relief, the better.

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