The IRS is still paying out third stimulus checks, and you could get more cash

The IRS is still paying out third stimulus checks, and you could get more cash
The IRS is still paying out third stimulus checks, and you could get more cash

More than three months in, the IRS is still churning out checks from the third round of stimulus payments, which were included in President Joe Biden's COVID relief bill from back in March.

The tax agency says it continues to send out millions of "bonus" payments, based on updated information provided in recently filed tax returns. Also, many Americans who never got any Round 3 stimulus check are finally receiving their payouts, thanks to their taxes, too.

If you submitted your 2020 tax return in the last few weeks, a full or supplemental stimulus check may be on its way — to help you pay off debt or bills, or give you some cash to save, invest or splurge with.

New checks still going out weekly

Young woman checking her mailbox for new letters
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The IRS says it's continuing to send out stimulus checks "on a weekly basis." Most recently, the tax agency made another 2.3 million direct payments, worth around $4.2 billion, within a two-week period.

More than 1.1 million of those fresh stimulus checks were what the IRS calls "plus-up" payments: bonus money for people who previously got third-round stimulus checks, but not the full $1,400.

If you received only a partial payment, it may have been based on your 2019 tax return. If the IRS now has your 2020 return and it shows you made less last year than you did in 2019, you might qualify for a plus-up.

So far, more than 8 million of those supplemental payments have gone out this year, the IRS says.

169 million payments and counting

Stimulus economic tax return check and and 1040 Form.
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The tax agency has yet to say it has wrapped up the most recent stimulus disbursement.

Officials have been known to make formal announcements once a round of payments is done. In February, the IRS issued a news release saying it had finished sending out all the stimulus checks to eligible families from the pandemic's first and second rounds.

The first, which was launched in the spring of last year, included 160 million payments, worth more than $270 billion. The second, which kicked off in the final days of 2020, distributed 147 million payments, worth more than $142 billion.

Round 3 — which began rolling out on March 12 — has already involved more than 169 million payments, valued at around $395 billion.

A recent census survey found nearly half the recipients of third-round checks have used the money to pay down debt. A third put the cash into savings, and the rest spent it on other things — which, for many, may have included affordable life insurance. Demand for policies has seen a surge through the pandemic.

How to make sure you get your cash

Female hand holding a pen and using calculator while filling in the individual income tax return, close up
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Most households haven't had to do anything to receive their stimulus checks, particularly if they submit tax returns each year.

But if you don’t usually file taxes, and the IRS likely doesn’t have your banking or mailing information, you’ll want to do your taxes immediately, so you'll you get a Round 3 stimulus check and any other COVID relief money you deserve.

That might include the upcoming "family stimulus checks": monthly payments of up to $300 per child under a temporary expansion of the child tax credit. Those checks are set to start flowing in mid-July and run through the end of the year.

What to do if won't be getting more money

Husband and wife preparing bills to pay sitting at kitchen table.
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There's been a lot of talk about a fourth stimulus check, but no action so far. If you've already received all the Round 3 money you're entitled do and could use a little more help right now, here are some places to find it on your own.

  • First, cut the cost of your debt. If you’ve been relying on plastic to get through the pandemic, you'll want to roll your high-cost credit card balances into a single, lower-interest debt consolidation loan. You'll settle your debt sooner and pay far less in interest.

  • Then, wring some savings out of your insurance bills. If you haven’t shopped around for a better rate on your auto insurance in the last year, you might easily be overpaying by more than $1,000 a year. Take a minute to compare insurance quotes to find the best rate on your coverage.

  • And if you’re a homeowner, use the same approach to cut down your homeowners insurance costs by hundreds of dollars a month.

  • Even when you're on a tight budget, you need to shop for the essentials here and there. Avoid paying too much whenever you shop online by downloading a free browser extension that will automatically scour the web for better prices or coupons.

  • Finally, when it comes to investing, you don’t need a $1,400 stimulus check to earn returns in the record-smashing stock market. A popular app allows you to invest your "spare change" and grow your pennies into a diversified portfolio.