Third stimulus check news summary: 24 March 2021
Stimulus check live updates - Wednesday 24 March 2021
- Second batch of third stimulus checks to reach direct deposit recipients today, Wednesday 24 March (full details)
- 100 million stimulus checks will have been distributed by Wednesday, says President Biden
- In total, nearly 160 million households in the US to get check of up to $1,400 per person (who qualifies?)
- $63 billion in improper payments, mainly through fraud, issued since last year, DOL watchdog estimates
- IRS chief warns that child tax credit payments could be delayed (full details)
- $1.9tn relief bill also includes expanded child tax credit, enhanced unemployment benefits
- Biden planning new, $3tn spending package (full story)
- You can track your stimulus check using the IRS Get My Payment Tool
- US covid-19 cases/deaths: 29.92 million/543,849 (live updates from Johns Hopkins University)
Inspector General publishes scam update
The Inspector General has issued an update on social security scams following an increase in phone fraud targeting people by falsely telling them their Social Security Number has expired.
"The Inspector General of Social Security, Gail S. Ennis, is warning the public that telephone scammers may send faked documents by email to convince victims to comply with their demands. The Social Security Administration Office of the Inspector General (OIG) has received reports of victims who received emails with attached letters and reports that appeared to be from Social Security or Social Security OIG. The letters may use official letterhead and government “jargon” to convince victims they are legitimate; they may also contain misspellings and grammar mistakes."
Senate confirms Levine to key health post
The US Senate on Wednesday voted to approve President Joe Biden's choice of Rachel Levine to become assistant US health secretary, the first openly transgender person to be confirmed by the chamber.
Despite strong opposition from Republicans, Levine was confirmed on a vote of 52-48.
As the United States continues its attempts to conquer the covid-19 pandemic that has killed nearly 545,000 Americans, Levine arrives in Washington after leading the state of Pennsylvania's response to the coronavirus outbreak. Levine also has served as a professor of pediatrics and psychiatry at Penn State University.
Photo: Caroline Brehman/Pool via REUTERS
The Social Security Administration’s national ‘Slam the Scam’ day on 4 March came as an increasing number people reported getting unsolicited phone calls requesting personal information.
The calls often claimed that the recipient's Social Security Number had been ‘suspended’, and asked for important details or even financial payments to get it reinstated.
These calls are all fraudulent and represent a recent increase in scammers looking to swindle people out of their stimulus checks and other forms of government support. Here's everything you need to know about the new scams and how to spot a fraudulent call.
Another Child Tax Credit expansion could be on the way
One of the most notable inclusions in the American Rescue Plan was a complete overhaul of the Child Tax Credit programme to provide monthly payments worth up to $300 for eligible families. The current legislation will provide funding for 12 months of the new support, but there are hopes that it could be made permanent if it proves successful.
Representative Rosa DeLauro, a Connecticut Democrat who has been a consistant campaigner for a child allowance said recently: “The crystallization of the child tax credit and what it can do to lift children and families out of poverty is extraordinary. We’ve been talking about this for years.”
Although the IRS is still in the process of distributing the $1,400 stimulus checks, some lawmakers are already discussing the possibility of another round of direct payments. Progressive are keen on a fourth stimulus check, which could well see recurring monthly payments provided for eligible Americans.
A letter penned by Sens Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders called for recurring stimulus checks to be included in future legislation: "We urge you to include recurring direct payments and automatic unemployment insurance extensions tied to economic conditions in your Build Back Better long-term economic plan.”
Here's what we know so far about the Fourth Stimulus Check
IRS gives new stimulus check distribution update
The tax authority overseeing the rollout of the third stimulus check has confirmed that they have sent out 127 million direct payments so far, totalling around $325 billion of federal funding. It is thought that the IRS have now completed most of the direct deposit payments due to be made, leaving just the physical stimulus check and Economic Impact Payment debit card recipients to be sent.
After taking so long to get the American Rescue Plan passed in Congress Biden was eager to get the much-needed support out as quickly as possible and has exceeded his target of sending 100 million stimulus checks in ten days.
Progressives push for recurring stimulus checks
Another Democratic lawmaker has joined the call for recurring stimulus checks as Rep. Jamaal Bowman has offered his support for a proposal tabled by Reps Rashida Tlaib and Pramila Jayapal. They are asking for direct monthly payments worth $2,000 for all Americans until the pandemic is over, with additional $1,000 payments for a year after.
This would be a huge outlay for the federal government but this proposal could lead to a more parred back programme being agreed in the future. Recent reports suggest that President Biden may consider pursuing a more ambitious agenda in the coming months and this would certainly fit the bill.
The Biden admistration has already distributed 100 million stimulus checks, but one group in urgent need of the $1,400 payments is still waiting for the financial assistance. Social Security, Supplemental Security Income, Railroad Retirement Board and Veterans beneficiaries have reported that the IRS seems to be taking more time to deliver the checks to them than to others.
Congress have stepped in to demand an explanation for the delay, with one even calling for the sackings of two Trump-appointed SSA chiefs who have overseen the mix-up.
Child Tax Credits provide much-needed support for women
California Rep Ted Lieu has praised the stimulus bill for extending direct support for families in the form of Child Tax Credits and childcare provision, amongst other programmes. His comments come on Equal Pay Day, the annual date which brings awareness to the pay disparity between male and female workers.
In many cases, women are counted on for childcare provision but are rarely paid for the service and suffer in the workplace due to the time taken away from work. It is hoped that the additional financial support may allow families to find other solutions, and improve the employment options available for mothers.
Biden administration surpasses 100 million stimulus check mark
Vice President Kamala Harris has confirmed that 100 million stimulus checks have been made so far as the IRS looks to distribute the $1,400 payments as swiftly as possible. Last week President Biden set a target of making the first 100 million payments within ten days, a mark his administration have now hit.
The vast majority of those distributed so far have been direct deposits into bank accounts, which is by far the quickest method. In the coming weeks the IRS will be sending out the paper stimulus checks and debit cards.
Stimulus check delays for SSA recipients
Many Americans who receive Social Security benefits have reported that they are still yet to get their stimulus check payments in what appears to be an error on the part of the SSA, the federal body who oversee the process.
In response Rep Bill Pascrell has called on President Biden to fire the two Trump-appointed SSA chiefs who he blames for the stimulus check delay. In an earlier tweet, Pascrell demands they "get off their backsides and stop delaying sending stimulus checks to 30,000,000 Americans".
Child Tax Credit is of particular importance on Equal Pay Day
24 March is Equal Pay Day, the annual date marking the inequalities that exist between men and women in the workplace. In recognising the day, Senator Sherrod Brown has cited some of the provisions from the new stimulus bill which will aid working women across the country.
Chief among them is the reformed Child Tax Credit, which recognises the extraordinary service that women provide in caregiving that is not usually met with any financial reward. The new programme would see a monthly payment worth up to $300 sent to eligible families to help cover the costs of childcare.
Biden eyes Child Tax Credit extension amid bold new agenda
Reports suggest that President Biden is hoping to follow up the stimulus bill with generational changes to the United States as he looks to take advantage of his positive poll rating and unified power in Congress.
Despite not receiving a single vote from Republicans in Congress, the American Rescue Plan got an approval rating of around 72% in recent polling and suggests that there is an appetite for more progressive policies. He is believed to be considering making the new Child Tax Credit programme, which has not even been introduced yet, permanent.
Presidential historian Michael Beschloss told Axios that Biden's overall plan could echo that of former presidents FDR and LBJ "in terms of transforming the country in important ways in a short time."
Stimulus checks cannot be taken by debt collectors in NY
New York Attorney General Letitia James has made clear that the state will protect stimulus check recipients from having their payments taken by debt collectors. The federal legislation which funds the $1,400 direct payments does not prevent the payments being intercepted to pay outstanding debts, but states can introduce their own protections.
AG James went on to say: "These stimulus payments are critical to helping our communities, and no one should have to fear this support will be taken away as soon as it arrives."
Next wave of stimulus check payments went out this morning
The distribution of the third stimulus checks continued this morning as the IRS sent out millions of the $1,400 direct payments, bringing the total number distributed past 100 million. President Biden's chief of staff, Ron Klain, confirmed that the payments should have landed at 9am ET, and it seems that there are fewer banking issues that there were for the first wave.
It is thought that the remaining payments will be made using either paper stimulus checks or Economic Impact Payment debit cards, both of which will be sent to the recipient's home address. The IRS advise anyone who is yet to receive their stimulus check to keep an eye on their mail for the next few weeks.
Yellen: US can afford to spend more
In hearings before the Senate banking committee on Wednesday, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen expressed confidence that the US has enough fiscal space to cover trillions more in spending on investments in the US economy. However the federal government would eventually need to pare down the mounting debt.
The US has already approved almost $6 trillion in covid-19 relief so far. At the lower limits Biden’s infrastructure bill cost $2 trillion but will probably be more.
How to get a stimulus check if you didn’t qualify
In order to qualify for the $1,400 stimulus payment in the third round Americans had to meet stricter criteria. Although the earnings threshold to get the full amount were for individuals $75,000, married couples $150,000 and heads of household $112,500, the payments phased out much faster than before. So that no payment was seen by those earning $80,000,$120,000, or $160,000 respectively.
However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t see some stimulus money when you file your taxes next year. It all comes down to your retirement savings. Check out the link below to find out if you could qualify for stimulus money when you file next year.
Investing stimulus payments in stocks more subdued
Small time investors have been a driving force behind the rise in the stock market during the pandemic. Trapped at home looking for something to do, these new retail investors found commission-free trading applications as a way to escape the boredom, plus a couple of stimulus checks.
With this third stimulus check, once again retail investors took to the markets to grow the $1,400 stimulus payment sent out by the government. However, this time they took to more traditional assets and avoided the more speculative ones, like GameStop or Bitcoin, that captured the headlines in January.
Congress demands to know where are stimulus payments to Social Security beneficiaries
As millions of Americans see $1,400 stimulus payments arrive beneficiaries of social security and veterans are left wondering where their payments are.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) began sending out payments the day after President Joe Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). Over 90 million payments hit bank accounts on 17 March with a second batch to be deposited on Wednesday.
Yet one group that is in urgent need of the $1,400 payments is still waiting for the financial assistance. Social Security, Supplemental Security Income, Railroad Retirement Board and Veterans beneficiaries are baffled why it's taking the tax agency more time to deliver the checks to them than to others.
Read the full story to find out what is causing the delay:
Stimulus resurrects Easter spending
According to results of the annual survey released on Wednesday by the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics, consumers plan to spend an average of $179.70 this Easter, the highest figure on record, A total of 79 percent of Americans will celebrate the holiday and spend a collective $21.6 billion, slightly less than the forecast of $21.7 billion for last year before the pandemic hit.
“With new stimulus funds from the President’s American Rescue Plan, positive trends in vaccinations and growing consumer confidence, there is a lot of momentum heading into the Spring and holiday events like Easter,” said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay. “Many have figured out how to celebrate holidays safely with family and that is reflected in consumer spending this Easter.”
IRS chief gives his view on the people behind the agency
“I’ve seen and heard stories that are a testament to the commitment we have for each other, our communities, and the people we serve. I encourage everyone during these difficult times to continue to take a few extra minutes to listen to the stories of others, send a note of encouragement, or cast a nod or a smile in their direction. I’m proud to be on this journey with my dedicated colleagues, and I want everyone to know: Our people make a difference, they care, and they take pride in serving our country.”
Chuck Rettig, IRS Commissioner
Americans will have to wait until 2022 for some tax benefits in stimulus bill
"Millions of struggling Americans are already accessing the assistance from the Democrats' $1.9 trillion relief package that President Joe Biden signed earlier this month -- including stimulus payments and enhanced unemployment benefits."
"But not all the aid in the massive law will be available right away. In fact, eligible Americans won't fully benefit from several of the provisions -- such as the new child tax credit -- until a year from now, when they file their 2021 tax returns."
Third stimulus check: what to look out for in the mail
The IRS says many of the stimulus checks distributed in this week's second batch of $1,400 direct payments will be sent to recipients by mail.
"Taxpayers who do not receive a direct deposit by March 24 should watch the mail carefully in the coming weeks for a paper check or a prepaid debit card, known as an Economic Impact Payment Card, or EIP Card," the IRS said in a statement on Monday.
The IRS began sending out $1,400 stimulus checks to millions of eligible Americans last week but some are seeing only half of what they expected to receive.
The latest batch of third stimulus checks is arriving in the bank accounts of direct-deposit recipients today.
Stimulus check news: every article
For the full range of AS English articles on stimulus checks, head to our dedicated section on direct payments. You’ll find in-depth news and information on the latest round of checks, and on the potential for a fourth payment.
If you're among the many Americans who qualify for the third stimulus check but don't have a bank account, there are a number of ways that you can cash your direct payment.
Fun ways to spend your direct payment
As well as cautioning against some of the more reckless ways of spending your stimulus check (see post below), Forbes is also offering advice to those Americans who don’t fancy putting their direct payment towards such sensible ends as paying off debts or using it to build up savings.
Here, courtesy of ‘Forbes personal shopper’ Ciannah Gin, is a look at some of the more enjoyable ways you can spend your check:
Among the stand-out measures in President Biden's $1.9tn coronavirus relief bill are extended and enhanced unemployment benefits and a round of stimulus checks of up to $1,400 for eligible Americans.
The two provisions are not mutually exclusive; just because you receive one does not mean you can’t get the other.
How not to spend your stimulus check
As another batch of third stimulus checks hit Americans’ bank accounts on Wednesday, direct-payment recipients may be wise to take a look at this article by Forbes personal-finance expert Zack Friedman, who has put together some advice on how not to spend your check.
Friedman cautions against using your stimulus check to venture into the stock market "unless you’re a seasoned investor", writing: "There’s no guarantee that you will make money in the stock market - despite the success stories you’ve read or how your investment portfolio has performed.
"If you simply must invest your stimulus check in the stock market, understand you could lose some or all of your stimulus check."
If the IRS' Get My Payment tool tells you that your stimulus check has been sent by mail but you are still waiting for it, some patience may be needed. The US Postal Service has been experiencing delays. That said, there are a couple of things you can do.
'Help is Here' tour continues
Joe Biden speaks in Columbus, Ohio, on Tuesday - the 11th anniversary of the signing of the Affordable Care Act - as the US president continues his 'Help is Here' tour to promote the benefits of the $1.9tn covid-19 stimulus package he signed into law earlier this month.
(Photo by Jim WATSON / AFP)
Americans receiving their third stimulus check by direct deposit today should find that their payment appears in their account labeled "IRS TREAS 310 - TAX EIP3".
Your stimulus check of up to $1,400 may arrive via post as either a paper check or an Economic Impact Payment (EIP) prepaid debit card.
Many Americans failed to receive their stimulus check in either the first or second round of direct payments. If you were one of them, don’t despair. When you file your tax return you can claim yours.
Americans can track the status of their stimulus check by using the IRS' Get My Payment portal.
President Biden's stimulus bill includes a new direct payment for working families, but the IRS have warned that its recent decision to extend the deadline for individuals to file their 2020 tax returns could cause delays to the scheme.
Former Obama adviser: US economy really far from where we it needs to be
Jason Furman, who was a top economic adviser in the Obama administration, says he agrees with Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell’s optimistic outlooks on the US economy, but cautioned: "We’re really far from where we need to be."
And as Joe Biden prepares an ambitious, $3tn investment plan to follow on from his coronavirus relief bill, Furman said the president’s next spending package will be "even more important" than the $1.9tn stimulus he signed into law earlier in March.
In remarks made to the House Financial Services Committee on Tuesday, Yellen said she believes the US "may see a return to full employment next year" and Powell added that the country’s economic recovery "has progressed more quickly than generally expected and looks to be strengthening".
"I very much agree with them,” Furman told MSNBC. "It’s great to see the two of them testifying together. It makes me feel reassured about where we are as a country and the hands that we’re in. We’re really far from where we need to be. I think we’ve taken the steps we need to to get there over the next year.
"The issue then is going to be sustaining economic momentum, building stronger and more sustainable growth. That’s where the next package comes in. And I hope that they’re just as ambitious about the next package as they were about the last one. In many ways it’ll be even more important because it’ll be our destiny over the next decade and the next decades to come."
100 million stimulus checks distributed by Wednesday - President Biden
After Wednesday, 100 million stimulus checks will have been sent out as part of the $1.9tn coronavirus relief bill, US President Joe Biden said on Tuesday during an address in Columbus, Ohio, as part of his ‘Help is Here’ tour across the country to promote the benefits of the relief package.
"One more element of our response [to the coronavirus pandemic as part of the American Rescue Plan], first and foremost, is a commitment to get Americans $1,400 checks per person including per child, so a firefighter and a schoolteacher making $120,000 combined with two kids are going to get a direct payment of $5,600 […]," he said. "By tomorrow we will have distributed 100 million of those checks."
The White House is reportedly working on a mammoth economic bill that would overhaul US manufacturing and energy production to provide more sustainable jobs.
Latest direct-deposit payments to arrive today
The second batch of third-stimulus-check payments is due to reach direct-deposit recipients today, Wednesday 24 March, according to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
The money may already have appeared in bank accounts in recent days as a "provisional or pending deposit", the IRS said in a statement on Monday.
Americans who do not get a direct deposit by Wednesday should keep an eye out for a payment arriving by regular mail "in the coming weeks", the agency added.
(Photo: Jim Watson/AFP)
Stimulus check live updates: welcome
Hello and welcome to our daily live blog providing you with updates on the third round of stimulus checks, which is being sent out as part of President Joe Biden's $1.9tn coronavirus relief package.
We'll also be bringing you updates on a possible fourth stimulus check, and information on other economic-aid measures in Biden's bill, such as an enhanced child tax credit and supplemented unemployment benefits.