Washington left behind the idea of a fourth stimulus check, but a number of states have stepped in to offer payouts to ease people’s financial strains or acknowledge their work during the pandemic.
In fact, the nation's largest state is sending another batch of hundreds of thousands of stimulus checks, and the easternmost state started its own round of relief payments.
Here are some states giving payouts, which many people may need to cover household expenses climbing with inflation or to pay down debt as the pandemic's financial fallout lingers.
States where you might get another stimulus payment
California's second round of stimulus has been underway since late August, with $500 to $1,000 payments going out in waves to people who meet income requirements. Distribution of a new batch of about 800,000 payments is underway, and another round is scheduled for early December, according to the California Franchise Tax Board.
Some states have been making direct payments using aid provided to state and local governments in the massive COVID-19 stimulus bill President Joe Biden signed in March. But not California, which has been tapping a massive state budget surplus created by the rising stock market and other factors.
Way over on the other side of the country, Maine is making $285 "disaster relief" payments to working people. The state will mail checks through the end of the year to eligible taxpayers.
"I hope this will help Maine families to some small degree during the holiday season as we work to fully recover our economy," Gov. Janet Mills says in a statement.
This state has a question mark hanging over $250 million set aside for people who did essential work during the pandemic. After about a dozen meetings, a group of lawmakers failed to agree on a plan to distribute the money.
The group will send two plans to the Legislature: Republican members want to prioritize payments for people who had the highest risk of COVID-19 exposure, while the Democratic–Farmer–Labor Party favors a broader pool of workers.
Massachusetts lawmakers are working out details of a bill that would set aside $500 million of the state’s federal pandemic money to create a COVID-19 Essential Employee Premium Pay Fund.
The state would give eligible people $500 to $2,000 bonuses to recognize their time on the job during the pandemic state of emergency.
The state offers people $2,000 if they get a job after taking unemployment benefits during a certain timeframe. That’s the alternative state officials came up with when Arizona rejected federal COVID unemployment money in July, about two months before beefed-up federal payments expired.
A judge is considering a lawsuit seeking to force the state to pay people for the unemployment benefits they would have received in that span.
New Mexico’s stimulus program devoted $5 million to helping low-income residents who weren’t eligible for federal stimulus checks. In August, more than 4,000 households received up to $750.
A second round of payments are set to go out by the end of November.
A bill passed earlier this year provides teachers hazard pay for making it through the worst of the pandemic.
Lawmakers originally proposed a 2% raise for educators but ultimately replaced it with a one-time payment of $1,000 for full-time teachers. It’s expected the checks will be mailed out by the end of 2021.
What if your state isn’t offering extra stimulus?
If you don’t have a stimulus payment from your state, or you simply want to spend carefully during the lingering uncertainty from the pandemic, try some ideas to free up extra cash on your own.
Deal with your debt. Credit is convenient, but it doesn't take long for expensive interest to catch up with you. If you're juggling multiple credit card balances and other high-interest debt, fold them into a single debt consolidation loan to pay off what you owe faster and more affordably.\
Stretch every dollar. Can you drop subscription services you're not using? Can you downgrade your phone plan to save a few dollars every month? And finally, are you getting the best deals when you shop online? If you're not sure about that last one, a free browser tool can automatically scour the internet for better prices and coupons.
Cut your insurance bills. If you haven’t shopped around lately for a better car insurance rate, you might be paying hundreds of dollars too much each year — especially if you still work from home and drive less. A little comparison shopping could slash your auto premiums.
Turn your pennies into a portfolio. Try to make some money in the stock market by investing just your "spare change" from everyday purchases. You won't even miss the pennies that help you build a diverse portfolio.
This article provides information only and should not be construed as advice. It is provided without warranty of any kind.