Stimulus checks are soon to be in the mail. Here I’ll unpack some of the highlights and give you a perspective all Christ-follower’s (regardless of your political party) should have on the new injection of Cash.
Who Gets the Stimulus Checks?
Individual filers that make less than $75,000 and joint filers under $150,000 will see a $1,400 payment per individual. New to this stimulus bill, unlike the last two, your dependents will also receive $1,400 each (instead of a lesser amount as was the case previously). This includes adult dependents, children, and kids away at college. If you claim them on your tax return as a dependent then you will receive a $1,400 payment.
What Benefits Will I Get?
A few benefits are available in addition to the $1,400 payments.
If you are unemployed a $300/month bump to your unemployment benefits. This was a previous benefit set to expire.
If you make somewhere between $75,000 and $80,000 ($150,000 to $160,000 for a couple) the payments face out. You will receive some amount less than the full $1400. You can estimate the amount you might be getting here.
Lastly, an adjustment to the Earned Income Child Tax Credit increases it from $2,000 up to $3,600 ($3,000 for kids over 6). The tax credit is fully refundable (previously only up to $1400 was refundable, meaning if you had less tax than the credit would offset you could only receive up to $1400 of the credit in the form of a refund). The Treasury Department is looking at advancing half of this credit as monthly payments based on your last filed tax return over a 6 month period between July and January of 2022. The actual execution of this is nebulous and seems to still be in the works.
When will I get my Check?
If your direct deposit information is on file with the Department of Treasury (via a filed tax return) and If you have filed 2019 or 2020 tax returns the checks will start going out immediately. You could see a payment as early as this weekend.
If you do not have direct deposit information on file with the Department of Treasury (if you typically receive a physical refund check or mail in a payment), you should see a paper check or likely a ‘pay card’ in the next few weeks.
If your 2019 tax returns made you ineligible for the stimulus payments but you would be eligible in 2020, or if you haven’t filed your 2019 or 2020 tax return, all is not lost. All of these stimulus payments are written into the tax code. They are basically advances on tax credits that you ‘would have received’ come tax time in the following spring. When you file you’re 2021 tax return next spring you will be able to claim the additional tax credits, and the stimulus check as an offset to any tax owed, or as a fully refundable credit on your tax return.
How Should a Christ Follower Use This Additional Money?
There is a lot of debate and high emotions surrounding these payments.
The Bible says that “Every good and perfect gift comes down from the Father of Heavenly lights”. James 1:17
For some of us, it might be difficult to consider a check from the government as ‘God’s provision for you’. But first and foremost that is what it is. Whether you would have signed the bill if it was up to you or not, you can’t deny that money you weren’t expecting is a ‘good and perfect gift’. The truth is “The Earth is the Lord’s and everything in it” Psalms 24. Any politician can take credit for ‘providing for you’, but Christ followers know that God is the source of all our provision.
If you are in a position to need the money in order to make ends meet, use this money for those needs. The Father of lights is providing you your Daily Bread
- Pay a few months ahead on your rent or utilities accounts
- Pay off your vehicle or get deferred maintenance done
- If you have any pay day or high interest debt- Pay it off
If you do not need this money. Maybe the payments even offend you. Here are some thoughts:
- Donate– to a local charity that assists people who DO need these payments. At my church we have COVID-19 Relief Fund that we use to help people avoid homelessness and utility shut-offs. I’m sure many other churches do the same. Donate to Non Profits and Community Action organizations that help fund people’s rent to avoid eviction.
- Get on Mission- Do you know God is calling you to another country but you haven’t learned the language? Pay for lessons. Should you take a few Bible courses or speaking classes? Have you wanted to start a business but didn’t have the capital? What is one step towards God’s mission for your life that this money can help you take?
- Pay down debt- If there is debt that is driving up your monthly expenses- Pay It Off and don’t look back.
The stimulus check payments, regardless of your political affiliation is God’s provision for you or through you. Consider what God would have you do with the money.
People ARE hurting. Perhaps YOU are hurting.
Is everyone using their stimulus check in a way that is ‘responsible’? Was everyone ‘working hard’ before the pandemic started? Probably not.
But the Bible says that “He give us more Grace, that when we were still sinners Christ died for us” Romans 5:8. If Christ died for me while I’m still trying to sin. Perhaps using our Mission Money for others isn’t such a stretch.
Maybe this money arrived right on time for you. The money is for your basic needs. Use it for that.
I am equipping people to become more fruitful as follower’s of Christ by teaching them how to avoid the ‘cares of this world’ and the ‘deceitfulness of riches’. If you’d like to see more ways that you can live a life on mission for God’s calling on your life, instead of the daily grind, I’d love to have you along. Drop your email in my newsletter and join the journey.