Here’s the Most Money You Could Possibly Get From Stimulus Checks

Since March of 2020, Americans have received financial relief in the form of stimulus checks from the federal government.

In 2021 alone, Americans making less than $65,000 per year will receive an average of $3,450 in stimulus payments, according to the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy.

If you’re wondering what the highest possible amount of stimulus money you could get is, the answer is that there actually is no upper limit. That’s because the amount of money you are owed depends on the number of people in your family.

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Why maximum stimulus check amounts varied

There were three stimulus checks issued in total in 2020 and 2021, with the amounts of the payments equaling:

  • $1,200 per adult and $500 per dependent under the age of 17 under the CARES Act in 2020
  • $600 per adult and $600 per eligible child dependent from the stimulus check authorized in December of 2020
  • $1,400 per adult and $1,400 per dependent (including all dependents) from the American Rescue Plan signed into law in March of 2021.
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This means:

  • The maximum total amount of stimulus money each adult could have received for themselves, assuming they were not a dependent, was $3,200.
  • The maximum total amount a child dependent under 17 could have received was $2,500
  • The maximum total amount an adult dependent could have received was $1,400.

For a single adult, that $3,200 that hit their bank accounts was the total maximum stimulus funds they could get (not including other sources of aid such as unemployment benefits). But for families, the maximum combined size of their three checks depends on family structure. For example:

  • A married couple with two dependent children could have received a collective total of $11,400
  • A single parent with one dependent child could have received up to $5,700 in total
  • A married couple with six dependent children under 17 could have received $21,400 in total.

There were income thresholds applicable to each of these checks that could have reduced these maximums for some people. Those thresholds varied, and were the most stringent for the third payment.

Did you receive all your stimulus money?

If you didn’t receive the full amount of money you were entitled to, it is possible you are still going to get a plus-up payment from the IRS.

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The IRS is sending out additional money from the third stimulus check as it processes 2020 tax returns. Individuals or families may be eligible for plus-up payments if their 2020 returns show they have added a qualifying dependent to their family (such as by having a baby) or if a decline in income entitled them to more cash.

Those who didn’t receive the full amount of the first or second payment can claim it by filing a 2020 tax return. While the April deadline for 2020 returns has passed, those who requested an extension in the time to file have until October to submit their returns. It is also possible to file a past due tax return to claim the early stimulus check payments.

It’s best to act quickly if you are missing money so you can get the full stimulus funds you deserve from the IRS.

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