Americans have received significant stimulus funds in recent years in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
President Joe Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act into law in March 2021, providing thousands of dollars to the majority of individuals and families. Last year, this money was deposited into their bank accounts or mailed to them via check. This payment was made in addition to others authorized by the Trump administration and made earlier in the pandemic.
However, no additional federal assistance has been offered this year. Americans have been clamoring for additional stimulus funding through 2022, with millions signing an online petition requesting continued stimulus payments.
While the federal government has thus far refrained from acting, there is a possibility that this will change in the near future as a result of inflation’s devastating effect on household budgets. Additionally, some states are considering taking action to assist the public in areas where Washington, D.C. lawmakers have failed.
Could inflation necessitate additional stimulus payments?
Inflation has been surging this year, repeatedly breaking recent records and putting many consumers in a bind. With the cost of basic necessities increasing so rapidly, some lawmakers have already begun exploring ways to provide much-needed financial assistance.
Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf, for example, recently proposed sending $2,000 checks to residents of the state, stating in a news release: “Pennsylvania residents should not be forced to choose between utilities and groceries, childcare and gas. We have the opportunity and the means to ensure their well-being and success.” Several other states and municipalities have been investigating ways to increase the amount of money in people’s pockets.
While lawmakers in Washington, D.C. have not yet introduced legislation to provide cash to help people cope with the overall trend toward higher prices – even as states have begun exploring their options – some federal Democrats have introduced a bill called The Gas Rebate Act of 2022. If passed, this law would provide people with up to $100 per month to help them cope with rising fuel prices.
Given that many experts believe inflation will continue to worsen, it’s possible that federal lawmakers will soon expand their efforts to provide relief beyond just introducing this plan to assist the public with gas costs. While it is unknown whether such legislation would garner bipartisan support, public pressure could compel lawmakers to act.
Additionally, with many states still holding federal funds from previous COVID-19 relief bills, additional states may step up and offer direct payments if inflation continues to soar and federal relief does not materialize.
In other words, hope for another stimulus payment is not always misplaced, even if another check is far from certain. For those in need of financial assistance, it’s prudent to monitor both local officials and federal lawmakers for indications that additional legislation may be forthcoming.
Contacting your representatives and expressing your concerns may also help elicit action, particularly if prices continue to rise.