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A Fourth Round of Stimulus Checks Is Not Coming to Senior Citizens

Misinformation about a fourth stimulus check being sent to senior citizens and the disabled has been circulating online for many months.

Attention senior citizens: Do not get duped by fake content on the internet (like this), videos on YouTube, and posts on Facebook or other social media sites claiming that a fourth stimulus check of $2,000 or a similar amount is forthcoming to you and people with disabilities. It is not true.

Misinformation about a fourth stimulus check being sent from the federal government—not only to seniors and the disabled but to other Americans—has been circulating online for many months. It got so out of control that the IRS last December had to debunk the rumors, saying, “There is no fourth round of [stimulus checks] from the Treasury Department.”

In late February, the AARP also shot down the rumors of a fourth stimulus check for seniors, saying, “Don’t believe the hype—there’s no fourth stimulus going out, to anyone.” 

In a blog post, the AARP wrote:

Nearly three years after the third and final federal pandemic payment went out, claims that new ones are on the way are due in part to the growth of generative artificial intelligence (AI) in creating content, says McKenzie Sadeghi, AI and foreign influence editor for NewsGuard, a company that monitors misinformation in online media.

Imminent stimulus checks are a staple of “content farms,” she says—supposed news sites that regurgitate dubious information and often rely on AI-generated articles with little or no human oversight.

“We’ve seen this claim come up regularly on these websites—that you can get a fourth stimulus check,” Sadeghi says. “It’s very in line with the type of content that we see from them, which are hoaxes aimed at generating clicks and getting people to the site.”

False claims of a fourth stimulus check ramped up last fall, as some social media posts said payments from the federal government—ranging from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars—would be sent to residents of 10 states starting Nov. 30, 2023. Purportedly finance-focused YouTube channels with thousands or even hundreds of thousands of subscribers regularly post videos touting imminent extra payments to Social Security recipients or low-income Americans, the AARP said.

These questionable websites, YouTube channels, and social media posts appear to be mostly focused on attracting eyeballs and “clicks” rather than providing accurate information.

Three rounds of stimulus checks—known officially as Economic Impact Payments—were sent by the federal government to income tax filers between March 2020 and March 2021 as a way to offset some of the hardships of the COVID pandemic. An estimated 476 million payments—totaling $814 billion—were made during that time, but no other stimulus payments have since been approved by Congress.

The AARP blog post provides four signs of unreliable, AI-generated content:

  • Inconsistent information: AI-generated articles often contain contradictions or conflicting information—or even error messages.
  • Repetition: Content farm articles will often repeat a key phrase like “stimulus checks” dozens of times.
  • No attribution: You’ll see a lot of missing citations. None of the information is credited anywhere.
  • Lack of transparency: Does the story have a byline or any way to verify the writer’s identity? Does the site disclose information about who is behind it?

The only good thing about these types of rumors is it gives CPAs an opportunity to connect with their senior citizen clients on retirement and financial planning.