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'The recovery hasn't reached many Americans': 2.5 million people petition for a fourth stimulus check

"Many people face large debts from last year."

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This year, most Americans received a $1,400 third stimulus check under the American Rescue Plan, on top of two other pandemic relief payments in 2020. However, the U.S. remains 7.13 million jobs short of where it was in February 2020. Many say they still need relief.

Over 2.5 million people have signed a petition on Change.org calling for every U.S. adult to receive $2,000 a month, and for families to receive $1,000 per child, until the pandemic ends. "The recovery hasn't reached many Americans, and many people face large debts from last year for things like utilities, rent, and child care," the petition notes.

'The recovery hasn't reached many Americans' and many face mounting debt

Many people are still struggling financially at this point in the pandemic. In a recent TransUnion survey, over a quarter of Americans — the equivalent of 62 million people — said they experienced some difficulty keeping up with their expenses in March. The equivalent of more than 10 million renters said they fell behind on payments, while a group equating to 18 million people reported food shortages in their household.

"Families who receive stimulus payments spend them overwhelmingly on necessities like food," as well as rent, mortgage payments, and utility bills, according to an analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data from the nonprofit Economic Security Project. Almost half of recipients of the last round of stimulus checks said they used the money for food and other necessities.

A fourth and fifth check would count as "critical relief," the ESP says, and "could keep an additional 12 million people out of poverty."

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Some lawmakers are for the idea: In March, a group of 21 Democratic senators wrote a letter to President Joe Biden in support of recurring payments. But there's overall hesitation on Capitol Hill over spending. The American Rescue Plan met unanimous opposition from Republican senators, so it seems unlikely a fourth check could pass.

If more checks did make it through Congress, the income criteria could be stricter, so that the funds don't reach people who don't need them, R.A. Farrokhnia, professor at Columbia Business School, told CNBC: "One check fits all is perhaps not the best approach," he said.

Regardless, there is more relief coming for parents. Beginning July 15, those who qualify will receive monthly payments for their children under the new Child Tax Credit, which was passed as part of the American Rescue Plan. The credit is worth up to $3,600 per year for children 5 and younger, and up to $3,000 for those ages 6 to 17. Check out Grow's Child Tax Credit calculator to see how much you can expect to receive.

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