Don't bother hoping for a fourth pandemic stimulus check from Congress. Though many Americans, including more than 2.95 million petition signers, are pleading for more help, lawmakers have moved on to debating infrastructure and other matters.
But a number of states have stepped in to provide money to ease financial strains for residents. In fact, the nation's largest state this week is sending out another batch of hundreds of thousands of stimulus checks, and the nation's easternmost state just began its own round of relief payments.
Here are six states currently providing cash to help people cover household expenses or pay down debt as the pandemic's financial fallout lingers.
California's second round of stimulus has been underway since late August, when Gov. Gavin Newsom (pictured) told taxpayers in a video message to "look out for checks either in your mailbox or directly in your account."
The payments are still going out in waves; distribution of a new batch is underway. About 34,000 direct deposits were paid on Friday, and roughly 750,000 paper checks started going into the mail on Monday, the California Franchise Tax Board tells multiple media outlets.
Californians who earn $75,000 or less are receiving $500 to $1,100; you get a larger amount if you have dependents and did not qualify for a first-round stimulus check early this year. Those went to people making $30,000 or less.
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 instead 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 this week started sending $285 "disaster relief" payments to its working people. Checks will be issued through the end of the year to taxpayers who had 2020 adjusted gross income of $75,000 ($150,000 for couples filing jointly).
"I hope this will help Maine families to some small degree during the holiday season as we work to fully recover our economy," says Gov. Janet Mills, in a statement.
In recognition of the special difficulties teachers have faced while navigating their way through the pandemic, Florida has been handing out $1,000 checks to its educators.
The Sunshine State also is paying first responders — including law enforcement officers, paramedics, emergency medical technicians (EMTs) and firefighters — up to $1,000 as a thank-you for the sacrifices they've been making throughout the crisis.
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 in emergency financial assistance — but the state still had $1.4 million of its pot of relief money left over.
So, for 10 days in October, New Mexico officials accepted applications for a second round of assistance, targeted toward residents who didn't qualify for federal stimulus checks and didn't receive any of the state money over the summer. The state hasn't said when the new checks will go out.
A bill passed by Tennessee's state legislature earlier this year will provide teachers with hazard pay for making it through the worst of the pandemic.
Lawmakers had originally proposed a 2% raise for educators, but it was ultimately replaced with a one-time payment of $1,000 for full-time teachers. Part-timers will receive $500. It's expected the checks will be mailed out by the end of 2021.
While there’s no statewide program for COVID relief payments in Texas, some local school districts are providing their employees with stimulus checks in the form of retention bonuses.
In the Dallas suburb of Irving, the bonus is as much as $2,000. In nearby Denton, teachers will receive $500 and a 2% pay increase. Several Texas school districts have approved pay raises for educators instead of direct payments.
What if your state isn’t offering extra stimulus?
If you need more help but your state isn't offering stimulus checks, you'll need to find fresh relief on your own.
Deal with your debt. Credit is convenient, but it doesn't take long before expensive interest catches 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.
Cut your insurance bills. If you haven’t shopped around for a better rate on your car insurance lately, you might be paying hundreds of dollars too much each year — especially if you're working from home now, and driving less. A little comparison shopping could slash your auto premiums.
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, try using a free browser add-on that automatically scours the internet for better prices and coupons.
Turn your pennies into a portfolio. Make some money in the stock market, even if you don't have much cash to play with or much experience with investing. A popular app can help you invest just "spare change" from everyday purchases — and turn your pennies into a diversified portfolio.
This article provides information only and should not be construed as advice. It is provided without warranty of any kind.