Second round of stimulus checks: Who will get them and how much?

Published: Dec. 21, 2020 at 4:58 PM CST
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BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) - A second round of stimulus checks will soon be landing in the bank accounts of millions of Americans thanks to a roughly $900-billion economic relief package that congressional leaders agreed to on Sunday.

But there are some significant differences in this round.

Texas A&M economist Raymond Robertson was on First News at Four on Monday to break down all of the details.

It seemed like it was touch-and-go for a while. Many people didn’t think the stimulus package would be approved. Robertson says the first round proved they work.

“Consumer spending really started to come back after that first round of checks started to arrive in people’s bank accounts and mailboxes. Spending recovery continued until July 1 when it leveled off,” said Robertson.

Robertson says it wasn’t clear if the economic recovery was going to continue or if the latest surge of COVID-19 would pull back the economy and make it more necessary. The classifications for eligibility changes a little bit this time around.

“They really tried to target people that need it the most. That would be targeting families and some people with kids,” Robertson said.

One of the most notable differences of this second stimulus check is the amount. The first round was $1,200 to most Americans, and now it is $600. Many are concerned this is not enough.

“I think part of the reason the payments are half is the economy is doing about twice as good as it was back on April 1,” Robertson said. “On April 1, an estimate said that consumer spending was down 33 percent than what it was in January of 2020. This time, even at the lowest point, which was Nov. 27, the consumer spending was only down about 13 percent.”

Robertson says since then, it has been estimated to be down about 2 percent relative to January.

Parents claiming dependent children will receive $600. That is $100 more than the first round of stimulus checks.

“They’ve been hit especially hard,” Robertson said. “In many cases, parents and especially women, were more likely to drop out of the labor force to adjust to those kids being at home.”

That distinction notably excludes dependent adults like some senior citizens being cared for by their adult children. Robertson says that’s because they didn’t change status much during the pandemic.

Roughly a third of the nearly $1 trillion deal will go towards another round of PPP funding. The first round was vital to the survival of our local businesses.

Robertson says this could be a game changer for our local economy.

“The problem is we’ve already lost so many businesses,” Robertson said. “By the end of November, we had already lost about 25 percent of those small businesses so it’s late, but we really believe it might be enough to keep those who have managed to survive afloat.”

To watch the whole interview, click on the video player above.

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