US stimulus checks: news summary for 8 April

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Stimulus check US latest updates: live

Headlines:

- IRS announce that over 156 million stimulus checks have now been sent

- 85% of stimulus checks were paid by direct deposit

- Social Security recipients have begun to receive their $1,400 direct payment (full details)

Veterans Affairs (VA) and Compensation & Pension (C&P) beneficiaries to get their stimulus checks on 14 April

- First of the 'plus-up' stimulus check payments were distributed on Wednesday (full details)

- Federal Reserve suggest that around 26% of stimulus check funds have been spent by consumers

- US stimulus spending provides new impetus for global markets

- G20 finance officials poised to back a $650 billion stimulus boost in the IMF's emergency reserves

- Key Democrats in Congress calling on President Biden to embrace recurring fourth stimulus check (full details)

- Republicans may support Biden's $2.25 trillion infrastructure plan, but only if it is trimmed significantly

- Track your stimulus check using the IRS' Get My Payment tool (more info)

- US covid-19 cases/deaths: 30.9 million/559,116 (live updates from JHU)

Scroll through our related articles:

New York to provide financial aid to immigrants who were previously excluded

New York lawmakers have created a $2.1 billion fund to provide economic relief to  workers who lost jobs or income during the pandemic but were not eligible to receive federal relief because of their immigration status.

The fund will give payments of up to $15,600 to workers who were living in the country illegally and weren’t eligible for federal stimulus checks, unemployment aid, or other benefits.

Income tax rules for US territory residents receiving pandemic unemployment compensation

Residents of US territories who receive unemployment compensation payments that are otherwise subject to US income tax may be eligible to exclude up to $10,200 per person of  unemployment compensation from US income tax for 2020, following legislation that was passed 11 March 2021.

Taxpayers with modified adjusted income of less than $150,000 may exclude the first $10,200 of unemployment compensation from their 2020 federal income tax return. In the case of taxpayers that are married filing jointly, the maximum exclusion would be $10,200 for each spouse for a maximum of $20,400. Taxpayers who filed before the law was passed should not file an amended return.

Last year, Congress passed legislation to provide eligible individuals with two new types of pandemic-related unemployment compensation, which are subject to the same US tax rules that apply to other unemployment compensation - Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC). The $10,200 exclusion applies to these new types of unemployment compensation for US income tax purposes.

Veterans to receive stimulus checks next week

The IRS has announced veterans yet to get a stimulus will get  payments next week on April 14.

The IRS said it has been in contact with the Veterans Affairs about “veterans and their beneficiaries who receive compensation and pension (C&P) benefit payments who don’t normally file a tax return.”

This group should begin seeing payments at the end of this week.

“Because the majority of these payments will be disbursed electronically, they would be received on the official payment date of April 14,” according to the IRS.

150 million stimulus checks / 150 million vaccines

The Biden administration has hit two very important landmarks with 150 million being the magic number: 150 million shots in 75 days; and 150 million stimulus checks distributed in 3 weeks.

Republicans file lawsuit on American Rescue plan provision

Several Republican lawmakers want to bring a lawsuit challenging an American Rescue Plan provision that says states can’t use stimulus money to cut taxes.

"The Federal government overstepped its constitutional authority when it decided to "attach strings" to these funds by prohibiting states that receive said monies from reducing taxes on citizens."

Undocumented workers in NY to receive state stimulus money

New York lawmarkers passed a historic deal that will provide much-needed aid to nearly 300,000 New Yorkers who have been cut out of government unemployment benefits and stimulus checks during the pandemic.

The $2.1 billion Excluded Workers Fund will offer relief similar to unemployment benefit payments to undocumeted immigrants and other workers with nontraditional jobs.

Stimulus check: how are Americans spending their payments?

Americans saved or paid off debt with most of their pandemic stimulus payments, according to surveys from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

For the second round of relief checks that gave $600 to eligible Americans and were issued at the end of December, survey respondents said they spent or planned to spend 25.5% of the total. Respondents said the other 74% went or would go toward paying down debts (37.4%) or savings (37.1%).

Respondents on average reported that 16% of the checks went toward essential spending, 6% toward non-essential spending and 3% toward donations.

Full story:

GOP leaders ask AG to join lawsuit challenging American Rescue Plan provision

The state's top legislative leaders are calling on the AG, Josh Kaul, to join a lawsuit challenging ARPA rule that states can't use stimulus money to cut taxes. The biggest part of the GOP proposal in WI is $1 billion in direct checks to property owners.

As Bayatpour explains, the non-partisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau stated this week the state could have to repay that money under its understanding of ARPA guidelines.

Gov. Evers' office has already indicated he will veto GOP bills seeking to direct ARPA money.

Financial support bill in Illinois

Rep. Sean Casten and Rep. Lauren Underwood have introduced a tax relief bill in Illinois.

The SALT Fairness for Working Families Act will:

- Raise the current State and Local Tax (SALT) deduction cap

- Eliminate the marriage penalty

- Add an inflationary adjustment

CORONAVIRUS STIMULUS CHECK

Who qualifies for stimulus check ‘plus-up’ payments?

A reminder, in case you missed it, that on Wednesday the IRS announced that over one million ‘plus-up’ payments had been made, as part of the 25 million stimulus check payments that were distributed this week.

These ‘plus-up’ payments are of varying size and are basically used to amend any previous payments that were insufficient. But these one-off payments can be triggered for a number of different reasons and are usually linked to recent tax filings that alter the recipient’s status.

Will Gittens explains all.

Stimulus relief followed by build-back plans

Vice President Kamala Harris has recently tweeted out more promotion of the American Jobs Plan promising good-paying, union jobs that will:

- fix our roads and bridges

- modernize our electric grid

- replace lead service lines for clean water

- expand access to high-speed internet

Unexpected uptick in jobless claims sees falls in US dollar

The US dollar dipped to a two-week low against a basket of currencies on Thursday, tracking Treasury yields lower, after data showed a surprise rise in US weekly jobless claims, reports Reuters.

While the increase likely understates rapidly improving labor market conditions as more parts of the US economy reopen and fiscal stimulus kicks in, it was bad enough to knock down the greenback. The dollar index measuring the greenback against a basket of six currencies was 0.35% lower at 92.091, its lowest since 23 March.

Thursday's data followed the release in the previous session of minutes from the Federal Reserve's March policy meeting, which showed Fed officials remained cautious about the risks of the pandemic - even as the US recovery gathered steam amid the massive stimulus - and committed to providing monetary policy support.

'With the job market moving in the wrong direction, it underscored this week’s Fed minutes that emphasized how the economy was far from what the Fed considers to be healthy,' Joe Manimbo, senior market analyst at Western Union Business Solutions in Washington, said in a note. 'Data that reinforces the Fed’s dovish stance is likely to keep Treasury yields and the dollar anchored,' he said.

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New York lines up $2.1 billion for undocumented workers

When the coronavirus arrived in New York City a year ago, it hit enclaves of undocumented immigrants with a fury, killing thousands and wiping out the service and construction jobs that kept many families afloat.

Lifelines like unemployment insurance and federal stimulus checks were out of reach because undocumented people are ineligible for most government aid. Instead, they have relied on food pantries, lenient landlords and loans from friends.

But after a sweeping move by lawmakers this week, New York will now offer one-time payments of up to $15,600 to undocumented immigrants who lost work during the pandemic. The effort - a $2.1 billion fund in the state budget - is by far the biggest of its kind in the country and a sign of the state’s shift toward policies championed by progressive Democrats.

More on this story from the New York Times.

Missing stimulus for most needy Californians

“We estimate that 2.2 million low-income Californians who are on safety net programs like CalFresh or CalWORKs are missing out on $5.7 billion in stimulus payments,” said Aparna Ramesh, senior research manager with the California Policy Lab and co-author of the report.

Why? In order to send payments quickly, the federal and state governments used previous years' tax filings as indicators for need. But that overlooked folks who weren't required to file taxes at all because they had little to no income and didn't owe money to the IRS (a tool created by the IRS to help these folks has been defunct since November.)

Read more:

Biden's care home relief plan

Last week, President Joe Biden more than made good on his promises to the disability community. While rolling out the first half of his massive infrastructure plan in Pittsburgh, Biden devoted a full fifth of the plan, $400 billion, to home and community-based services (HCBS) for disabled people and seniors. This is a system that has been starved for years. It is a fantastic amount, according to every disability advocate I spoke with about the issue.

Nicole Jorwic is senior director of public policy at The Arc of the United States, a major intellectual and developmental disability nonprofit. “I keep having to pinch myself,” she told me, a smile evident in her voice. Said Julia Bascom, executive director of the Autistic Self Advocacy Network: “We are shocked and thrilled.”

Read more by Sara Luterman:

Stimulus relief bill: know your tax changes

Congress made big changes in the $1.9 trillion relief bill, affecting the tax season that's already in progress. Notably, the law exempts some unemployment benefits from income tax. 

You can download the WSJ's updated version.

Kildee reassures that stimulus checks are coming

“I am proud to support the American Rescue Plan to get more money in the pockets of Michigan families, seniors and small businesses,” Congressman Dan Kildee said. “As we continue to live through this pandemic, these additional stimulus checks will help Michiganders pay their bills and support small businesses in our community.”

For Social Security recipients who haven’t received their $1,400 stimulus payments, Kildee said the checks are coming soon.

Stimulus checks need to reach the homeless to save them

A direct flow of dollars from the federal government has been a lifeline for many Americans during the pandemic. 

But for some of the country’s neediest - homeless people - the barriers to getting this cash have felt insurmountable. With no bank accounts, little access to the internet and a general lack of awareness that the money is available, many homeless people haven’t received the stimulus checks. 

Activists for homeless people say this money could be potentially transformative for people who lack the savings to put down first and last months’ rent on a lease or have mounting medical bills.

Hoping for a fourth stimulus check? Congress is split

Soon after the American Rescue Plan was first unveiled in January, Democrats in the House of Representatives argued that the stimulus check provision did not go far enough. A group of 53 progressive House Democrats signed a letter sent to the White House, saying "one more check is not enough."

The letter continued by calling for a recurring payment programme to be included in the bill, which would provide monthly stimulus checks for low-income Americans for the duration of the pandemic.

Their suggestion was not implemented then but there are now growing calls in the Upper House for something similar to be considered in the next stimulus package.

Read more on how the chambers may decide on a fourth or recurring payment.

Stimulus relief and more paid for by these billionaires?

One of the major talking points around the huge spending bills has been where the money may come from to pay for it all.

Many on the left point to a tiny percentage increase in tax for the very richest.

Here's Forbes list which, as Eyal points out, incredibly states: "Altogether these billionaires are worth $13.1 trillion, up from $8 trillion in 2020."

Stimulus check delays should see heads roll, says Pascrell

After what he calls 'unacceptable' delays by the Social Security Administration to send information on 30 million recipients to the IRS, New Jersey's Bill Pascrell is pushing for people to sign up to oust the Social Security trustees appointed by former president Donald Trump.

CORONAVIRUS STIMULUS CHECK

Who qualifies for stimulus check ‘plus-up’ payments?

The IRS are currently distributing ‘plus-up’ payments, which are used to amend any previous stimulus check payments that were insufficient. These one-off payments can be triggered for a number of different reasons and are usually linked to recent tax filings that alter the recipient’s status.

Janet Holtzblatt, senior fellow at the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center, has confirmed: “The taxpayer should receive the additional amount automatically,” but how do you find out if you are in line to receive a 'plus-up' payment?

Read more

"If no additional issues arise, the IRS expects to begin processing these Veterans Affairs payment files at the end of this week. Because the majority of these payments will be disbursed electronically, they would be received on the official payment date of April 14.

"The IRS projects VA beneficiary payment information would be available in the Get My Payment tool this weekend, April 10-11."

IRS Statement, Stimulus check distribution

Democrats pull ahead after stimulus check success

One of President Biden's first priorities upon taking office was to provide immediate relief for those who are suffering during the pandemic, and his American Rescue Plan did just that. A key part of that was the $1,400 stimulus checks which have now been sent to over 156 million Americans. 

The stimulus bill did not receive a single Republican vote in Congress but was pushed through by Democrats regardless, illustrating a chasm that currently exists between the two parties. With public opinion still favouring the stimulus measure (roughly 65% support recurring stimulus checks for the duration of the pandemic) it is no surprise that the Democrats are enjoying a comfortable lead in party afilliation polls. 

CORONAVIRUS STIMULUS CHECK

Third stimulus check: when is the next wave of missing payments being sent?

With the additional batch of over 25 million stimulus check payments which was made yesterday, a total of 156 million checks have now been distributed. But while the vast majority have now received their federal support some groups are still missing out.

In particular, Veterans Affairs (VA) and Compensation and Pension (C&P) beneficiaries are yet to get their payments. Here’s what you need to know about the next round of direct payments, and how to use the IRS' stimulus check tracker to see the status of your payment. 

Read more

Stimulus check struggles for homeless Americans

While the number of Americans to receive stimulus checks continues to grow, one group has been very underrepresented in the figures. The lack of phones, internet access and fixed home address have made it very hard for homeless people to get their stimulus checks. Anyone who earns under $75,000 should be eligible for the $1,400 direct payment, but the reality is very different. 

The New York Times reports: Steven Todd, 53, who lives at a shelter in Manhattan, said that “educated guys who work in finance” had approached homeless people and offered to get them their stimulus money — for a commission of several hundred dollars.

CORONAVIRUS STIMULUS CHECK

Fourth stimulus check: what reasons are lawmakers giving for supporting or rejecting it?

On Wednesday the IRS confirmed that 156 million stimulus checks payments had been made as part of the third round of direct payments. Recipients of Veterans Affairs and related federal programmes are set to get theirs next week, but many in Congress are already turning their focus to the next round of support.

In recent weeks there have been growing calls for a fourth stimulus check, which many suggest should provide recurring monthly payments to ensure long-term support until the end of the pandemic. But who is in support of these proposals, and who is against?

Read more

Is there support for Biden's new stimulus proposals?

President Biden has unveiled the next stage of his Build Back Better plan, which aims to transform the American economy. The American Jobs Plan will cost an estimated $2.25 trillion and comes so soon after the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan which was signed into law last month. 

There are mixed responses for different provisions but the signal is generally positive. This echoes a study carried out in March which found that 65% of Americans would support recurring stimulus checks for the duration of the pandemic. 

Reports that some are receiving their stimulus check twice

Personal finance expert Kelly Phillips has revealed that she has seen large numbers of people reporting that they have been paid their third stimulus check twice. In many cases these duplicates appear to happen with recipients who are also Social Security beneficiaries after a recent mix-up. 

The Social Security Administration failed to provide the IRS with the relevant details for weeks, meaning that SS and SSI recipients had their stimulus check payments delayed. Around 20 million of people who get some form of support from the SSA were sheduled to get their $1,400 yesterday, but it appears that some had already been paid once. 

"As we work together to get much-needed relief to American families, we appreciate your strong support for direct payments and enhanced unemployment insurance for the millions of families affected by this public health and economic crisis.

"We urge you to include recurring direct payments and automatic unemployment insurance extensions tied to economic conditionsin your Build Back Better long-term economic plan. While we are pleased that the American Rescue Plan included a one-time direct payment and an extension of federal unemployment insurance programs, a single direct payment will not last long for most families."

21 Democrat Senators, Letter to President Biden

When will my stimulus check arrive?

The IRS has been sending out the third stimulus checks for nearly four weeks and have so far distributed over 156 million direct payments. But some are still reporting that theirs have not yet arrived, although that could be about to change. 

The most recent round of paper stimulus checks and EIP debit cards is expected to arrive this week with the IRS advising that anyone still waiting for payment to keep an eye on the mail. In addition, Social Security and SSI recipients are scheduled to get their stimulus check payment this week. 

STIMULUS CHECKS

Fourth stimulus check: is a new relief bill viable?

There are growing calls, both in Congress and across the country, for a fourth stimulus check to be included in one of the large-scale spending packages to be tabled by the Biden administration. Now the real focus is on recurring stimulus checks, which would see monthly payments sent to eligible Americans.

A recent poll from Data for Progress found that 65% of Americans are in favor of recurring payments of $2,000 per month, and a group of Senate Democrats led by Senator Ron Wyden called on President Joe Biden to support recurring stimulus checks as part of his coronavirus relief response.

Read more

How are stimulus checks being spent?

A new report from the Federal Reserve suggests that the proportion of stimulus check cash being spent is slightly lower than previous rounds. In contrast more people than ever are choosing to save their stimulus money with 41.6% being put away for a rainy day. 

In a blog post explaining their findings, the Federal Reserve wrote that "an average 13 percent of the latest stimulus check is expected to be spent on essential items and an average 8 percent on non-essential items."

World markets optimistic as US stimulus hits

The trillions of federal spending appear to be having a positive effect on markets around the world as stocks rally as the recent stimulus package begins to take effect. The US Federal Reserve is currently buying up around $120 billion of bonds a month, flooding the market with cash. 

Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets, said: “In terms of economic reopening, there is enough optimism built in at the moment to drive markets quite a bit higher from here, and the Fed has reiterated it’s going to remain on hold for a while."

Stimulus checks for VA recipients next week

Yesterday's round of payments finally got the stimulus check money to Social Security and SSI recipients, but there is another group of beneficiaries of federal programme who have been missed out.

Those who receive support from Veterans Affairs (VA) and related programmes are yet to get their $1,400 payments, nearly a month after the American Rescue Plan was signed into law. But the IRS have now confirmed that the payment process for them will begin on 10/11 April, with the stimulus check money scheduled to arrive via direct deposit on Wednesday 14 April. 

Who got the new stimulus check payments?

Who received the latest batch of stimulus checks?

The IRS has confirmed that 25 million stimulus check payments were made yesterday, taking the total number distributed to 156 million. But who was this round of payments sent to?

- Largest recipient were Social Security retirement, survivor or disability (SSDI) beneficiaries, who got around 19 million payments, with a total value of more than $26 billion.

- Supplemental Security Income (SSI) beneficiaries received more than 3 million payments, with a total value of nearly $5 billion, went to

- Nearly 85,000 payments, with a total value of more than $119 million, went to Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) beneficiaries.

- Over 1 million were “plus-up” payments, worth a total of more than $2 billion.

- More than 1 million payments, with a total value of nearly $3 billion, went to people who recently filed a tax return to qualify them for a stimulus check for the first time.

What is a 'plus-up' stimulus check payment?

The IRS has confirmed that they have begun issuing plus-up payments to recipients who did not receive their full entitlement in previous rounds of payments. In some cases, recent tax return filings will have indiciated a lower Adjusted Gross Income than previously recorded, meaning that the recipient is in line to get additional payment. 

On Wednesday the IRS confirmed they had made another batch of 25 million payments. Only around 1 million is thought to be these plus-up payments. 

Most Americans putting stimulus checks into savings accounts

Not all Americans are going on a shopping spree with their new found wealth. Even though consumer spending rose to 111.9% of pre-pandemic levels following the disbursement of the latest $1,400 stimulus checks according to a survey by the Federal Reserve, US households intend to set aside 42% of their stimulus payments for a rainy day while 34% are using the coronavirus stimulus money to pay down debt.

25 million stimulus checks distributed this week

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced on Wednesday that another 25 million stimulus checks, worth $36 billion, were sent out in the most recent tranche of direct stimulus payments.  The IRS has sent out four batches of $1,400 stimulus checks totaling more than 156 million payments. The latest included yet more supplemental payments.

The largest block of these payments, over 19 million payments - with a total value of more than $26 billion, went to Social Security beneficiaries who didn’t file a 2020 or 2019 tax return and didn’t use the Non-Filers tool last year.

More than 3 million payments, with a total value of nearly $5 billion, went to Supplemental Security Income (SSI) beneficiaries and nearly 85,000 payments, with a total value of more than $119 million, went to Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) beneficiaries.

CORONAVIRUS STIMULUS CHECKS

Third stimulus check: Does the new batch of $ 1,400 include "plus-up" payments?

The new batch of $1,400 stimulus checks included more “plus-up” payments 

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced on Wednesday that another 25 million stimulus checks, worth $36 billion, were sent out in the most recent tranche of direct stimulus payments.  The IRS has sent out four batches of $1,400 stimulus checks totaling more than 156 million payments. The latest included yet more supplemental payments.

The largest block of these payments, over 19 million payments - with a total value of more than $26 billion, went to Social Security beneficiaries who didn’t file a 2020 or 2019 tax return and didn’t use the Non-Filers tool last year.

More than 3 million payments, with a total value of nearly $5 billion, went to Supplemental Security Income (SSI) beneficiaries and nearly 85,000 payments, with a total value of more than $119 million, went to Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) beneficiaries.

Who is getting "plus-up" payments? Read here to find out.

Face masks and other personal protective equipment are tax deductible

The Internal Revenue Service has sent out a reminder that personal protective equipment, such as face masks, hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes, for the primary purpose of preventing the spread of Covid-19 are deductible medical expenses.

The amounts paid for personal protective equipment are also eligible to be paid or reimbursed under health flexible spending arrangements (health FSAs), Archer medical savings accounts (Archer MSAs), health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs), or health savings accounts (HSAs).

2021 TAX FILING

How and who has to file an Amended Return to get the $10,200 IRS unemployment tax break?

Anyone who received jobless benefits during 2020 may now be eligible for the earned income tax credit and other federal programmes.

Here's everything you need to claim the support:

 

Payments to non-filer VA beneficiaries will be sent out on 14 April

The IRS continues to review data received from Veterans Affairs (VA), which covers veterans and their beneficiaries who receive Compensation and Pension (C&P) benefit payments who don’t normally file a tax return.

If no additional issues arise, the IRS expects to begin processing these VA payment files at the end of this week. Because the majority of these payments will be disbursed electronically, they would be received on the official payment date of Wednesday 14 April. The IRS projects VA beneficiary payment information would be available in the Get My Payment tool this weekend, 10-11 April.

2021 TAX FILING

Unemployment benefits: will the IRS automatically refund the taxes to beneficiaries?

Some taxpayers who claimed unemployment benefits in 2020 filed their return before the $10,200 waiver on jobless aid was passed.

More information here:

CORONAVIRUS STIMULUS CHECKS

Third stimulus check: Does the new batch of $ 1,400 include "plus-up" payments?

The IRS has sent out four batches of $1,400 stimulus checks totaling more than 156 million payments. Included were yet more supplemental "plus-up" payments.

Read more:

Over $70 billion in unpaid rent was owed at the end of 2020

Around 11.4 million households in the US are estimated to be more than three months behind in their rent, or $6,000 each, according to Mark Zandi, chief economist for Moody’s Analytics. “These are low-income households,” he explained. “They’ve probably already borrowed as much as they can from family or friends. They have no resources left.”

85% of stimulus checks were paid by direct deposit

The IRS reports that approximately 85% of the current round of payments have been made by direct deposit, up from 74% in the first round of payments and 77% in the second round.

Direct deposit payments are also more likely to be successfully delivered than paper checks or EIP debit cards sent through the mail, and the return rate of direct deposits is also lower than in previous rounds of payments.

Over 3.1 million Direct Express cardholders have received payment electronically, more than a half-million more than in previous rounds.  Making most of these payments to Direct Express cards enables cardholders, many of whom are unbanked, to receive their Economic Impact Payment the same way they typically receive their federal benefits.

Help is here, says Pelosi about stimulus checks and vaccine rollout

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited the North East Medical Services clinic in San Francisco's Chinatown on Wednesday and spoke about the progress being made with the US Covid-19 vaccine roll-out as well as the stimulus payments which were included in the American Rescue Plan. "Vaccines in the arm, money in the pocket. Nearly 150 million checks have been sent - 150 million people have received their check. And nearly a trillion dollars, as part of this, has been put into the pockets of American workers. Within two weeks, nearly all adults will be eligible for the Covid-19 vaccine, within five miles of their home".   

Stimulus check live updates: welcome

Hello and welcome to our daily live blog on Thursday 8 April.

We'll be with you throughout the day bringing you the latest information related to both the third stimulus check, which sees qualifying Americans get up to $1,400, and also on a potential fourth direct payment.

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