Parents, This Next Stimulus Check Is For You

Young family with two small children indoors in bedroom reading a book.
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Attention parents: Your next stimulus check, if it materializes, may be bigger than you expect.

Plenty has been said about President Joe Biden’s goal to distribute up to $1,400 per person in a third round of stimulus payments, but a lesser-known benefit is that each dependent—including adult dependents—would qualify for an additional $1,400, according to the latest plan. In other words, a family of four would be eligible for as much as $5,600.

Key Takeaways

  • If the current proposal is passed, the next round of stimulus checks would include up to $1,400 per dependent—more than double the amount in the previous two pandemic relief packages.
  • Adult dependents like college students would be included for the first time since the pandemic began.

“It’s pretty exciting,” said Whitney Michta, a hairdresser in New Jersey who didn’t know she and her husband would qualify for another $2,800 because of their two young children. “It will help out a lot. It’s a nice gesture for us working-class folks.”

Michta knew about Biden’s proposal, but not the amount that would apply to her kids, she said. A key tenet of his $1.9 trillion economic relief plan, the $1,400 per dependent is more than double the dependent payment in the first two rounds of stimulus, and even includes adult dependents, who were previously excluded. In 2019, there were an estimated 13.5 million adult dependents in the U.S., including college students and disabled people.

People earning up to $75,000 a year in adjusted gross income (or $150,000 if married and filing taxes jointly) would be eligible for the maximum amount, according to the Democratic proposal released this week by the House Ways and Means Committee.

The payments would be reduced proportionally for income levels above the limit, and anyone earning over $100,000 (or $200,000 for married couples) wouldn’t be eligible for anything. Here’s how it breaks out, according to the Tax Foundation, a nonprofit tax policy researcher: 

A Tax Foundation analysis anticipates more than 93% of filers would receive some sort of stimulus payment under this plan, with the average payment being $2,229.

The first round of $1,200 payments, part of the CARES Act passed in March, provided $500 per child under 17. The second round of $600 payments, enacted in December, gave $600 per child.

The higher dependent payments this time around could make a big difference for many families attempting to navigate life amid the pandemic. Michta said she’s earned less as fewer people have gotten their hair done during the pandemic. Meanwhile, other bills haven’t decreased and she hasn’t qualified for unemployment insurance, she said.

“If we don’t cut hair, we make zero dollars,” Michta said. “We’re still working, but we’re not making as much.”