When the American Rescue Plan was enacted in March of this year, it gave a host of relief to people to get through the covid-19 pandemic, including stimulus checks. But the bill also aided a specific group of people who were in need of aid — people who are unemployed.

Not only have jobless people been entitled to more money in their current unemployment checks, but due to their limited income, they could be in a position to max out their stimulus and take home a lot more aid.

Stimulus payments

It’s hard to say for sure exactly how much the average unemployed American is getting in stimulus funds. But based on data we have, we can make an educated guess.

As of Feb. 2020, average weekly benefits were around $387 on the federal level, according to the Center on Policy Priorities. One thing that is vital to note is that maximum benefits vary state by state, which means that even though $387 might be the average, in certain states, those payments are much higher.

Thanks to the CARES Act, these benefits quickly reached $600 weekly boost that lasted for a while last year. That boost was then replaced with a $300 weekly boost that is actually still in effect in some states but will run out in Sept..

So what does this mean for future stimulus payments in 2021? 

The IRS uses tax filers’ most recent income to decide eligibility, so this year, it is using data from 2020. Meanwhile, the average unemployment receiver in 2020 got a maximum of $987 each week for a period of time — that is calculated by taking $387 and combining it the $600 boost from the CARES Act. Based on that, it is fair to say that the average person on unemployment who did not get any outside income was eligible for a complete $1,400 stimulus check.

We can make this assumption because the income limit to get a complete stimulus payment under this most recent series was $75,000 for individuals. For couples, it was doubled to $150,000.

However, that does not mean that all jobless people got a full stimulus. Also, many unemployed Americans got more than $1,400 in stimulus this year after you factor in payments from the newly expanded Child Tax Credit.

The enhanced Child Tax Credit currently ends at $3,600 per year for children under 6 and $3,000 per year for those between 6 and 17. Half of this credit is being given this year in monthly payments between July and Dec., and the income limits to get the credit in full are exactly the same as the income limits to get a full stimulus check. This means that an individual who got the average unemployment benefit last year would qualify for a $1,400 in stimulus plus the full amount their children render them eligible for.

Author: Blake Ambrose

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