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Sara Swann
By Sara Swann December 18, 2023

Promises of $16,800 payments from the U.S. government are a scam

If Your Time is short

  • The U.S. government has not announced it’s sending out $16,800 payments.

  • Another sign of a scam: The link included in the social media post is not affiliated with the federal government.

Social media posts are claiming the United States is sending everyone a big check ahead of the new year. But like most free money promises, this is a scam.

A Dec. 2 Facebook post said, "It’s time to cash out for all Americans. The U.S. is sending everyone (a) FREE $16,800 right now." The post claimed that this money was available through a "new U.S. subsidy program" and could be used for rent, food, groceries, gasoline and other personal expenses.

The post’s caption read, "Exposing the secret $16,800 benefit they're hiding from you."

This post was flagged as part of Meta’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram.)

(Screengrab from Facebook)

Misleading posts promising free and fast money are common on social media. PolitiFact has debunked many similar claims.

The Facebook post says to receive the free $16,800, people can click the link, answer two questions and talk on the phone with a representative. To qualify for the cash, the post claims, people must earn less than $50,000 and not be on Medicare or Medicaid.

However, the link leads to a webpage with the URL "" that’s unaffiliated with the U.S. government. When we typed in another URL from the post, "," we were redirected to

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The website advertises free health insurance under the Affordable Care Act; it does not mention a $16,800 giveaway.

The site also prompts people to answer questions about their incomes and whether they’re on Medicare or Medicaid. If a person answers that their income is less than $50,000 and they’re not on Medicare or Medicaid, the site says, "Congratulations!" and shows a phone number to call to sign up.

We called the number and a representative "with CHA" asked if we were calling about the "$0 premium health benefit plans." We were then asked whether we had health insurance coverage through an employer, a veterans program, Medicare or Medicaid.

When asked for our ZIP code, we gave one in Washington, D.C., and the representative said there are no plans available in that area and to check

Although some Americans can qualify for subsidies to offset health insurance costs, this is not the way we would recommend finding out. 

The federal government warns that offers of free money or grants from the government are often scams. Government-funded financial assistance programs are offered only through official government websites. The Federal Trade Commission’s website offers tips for avoiding these scams and where to report them.

We searched and found no news articles or U.S. government announcements about a $16,800 giveaway.

We rate this claim False.

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Promises of $16,800 payments from the U.S. government are a scam

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