US stimulus checks: news summary for 9 April
US Stimulus checks latest updates: live
K-12 schools ready to start spending stimulus money
US schools are set to receive around $128 billion in stimulus aid as part of last month's American Rescue Plan, CNN reports. Some of that money will be channeled into making up for education time and learning lost during the pandemic, to fund summer schools or extra tutoring. The money can also be spent on things like sanitation supplies, technology, mental health services and ventilation systems.
Murphy signs $15M bill in federal relief for New Jersey arts and cultural venues
Gov. Phil Murphy has signed S-3521 which will bring $15 million in federal Covid-19 aid to New Jersey's arts and cultural venues. The New Jersey Economic Development Authority is set to receive $7.5 million with the remaining half designated to the State Council on the Arts to support nonprofit organizations. The bill is part of a five-bill, $100 million relief effort aimed at helping New Jersey’s small businesses recover from the year-long pandemic.
Murphy explained in a statement: “Our arts and cultural establishments are among the best in the nation, but they have faced difficult challenges over the past year. It’s time we lifted up these organizations and venues to ensure they are still with us as we emerge from the pandemic and look to once again experience the joy they offer.”
New poll shows optimism low on stimulus package
About one-third of Americans believe the recent stimulus - one of the largest economic rescue plans in American history - will significantly help them, according to a new Politico-Harvard poll exploring the public’s views on the post-pandemic landscape.
The stimulus itself has generally polled well, but the new survey indicates President Joe Biden and his party face a challenge convincing voters they got major help from the sweeping legislation, which in addition to new checks to Americans included an extension of jobless benefits, a major expansion of Obamacare subsidies and the child tax credit, and a flood of new public health resources to help quash the pandemic.
Full story below:
Slower bitcoin stimulus surge
Although the $1,400 stimulus checks were being used to buy up some extra bitcoin currency, it appears that the uptake was somewhat overestimated.
Stimulus checks: wasteful or the solution
Oneonta is the kind of place where an extra $1,400 could make a big difference. More than 16% of residents in Blount County live in poverty – a higher rate than the state of Alabama as a whole, which already registers as one of the nation’s poorest.
But as stimulus checks from President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion covid-19 relief bill make their way to 160 million American households, voters here are showing little enthusiasm for the extra money.
“These stimulus checks are just a way of making more people dependent on the government,” says Virginia Russell, who owns the Look of Xcellence hair salon in Oneonta. It’s a view that’s echoed across this conservative county, where former President Donald Trump won 90% of the vote last November, and where tattered Trump 2020 flags still line the central highway.
The CSM considers the emotions against the changing economic picture.
Stimulus unemployment benefit fraudsters charged
Federal prosecutors said on Friday that they have charged three Southern California women with using prison inmates' names to bilk a state agency out of a combined nearly $1.25 million in coronavirus-related unemployment benefits, the latest allegations in an ongoing scandal that has cost hundreds of millions of dollars.
The three are among a dozen charged just in the greater Los Angeles area and among 150 charged federally nationwide with exploiting federal benefits that were supposed to aid those who lost their jobs during the pandemic.
The past year has been very stressful with the challenges and changes in our lives brought about by the covid-19 pandemic and many found themselves laid off and collecting unemployment for the first time. Although not every state taxes unemployment benefits, the federal government does, which means it needs to be reported on tax returns.
Normally when a person starts a job, they chose how much they want their employer to take out of their check to go toward income tax, but this can be overlooked when people file an unemployment claim, leading to an unpleasant surprise come tax season. Democrats in Congress gave those who claimed jobless aid in 2020 a breather in the form a waiver on the first $10,200 received in unemployment compensation.
However, what should you do if you forgot to file the money you received in unemployment benefits? Greg Heilman explain all.
Pandemic compensation targets some, but not all
“Many of our front-line workers are out driving you to work, driving you to the grocery store, driving grandma and grandpa, and they also need to stay healthy and survive this crisis we are in," Oakland City Councilmember Noel Gallosaid.
Thousands of grocery store workers in California are getting extra pandemic compensation because local governments passed hazard pay laws. More than 20 cities and counties, like Oakland, Daly City and Los Angeles County either have the laws on the books or are considering them.
It took almost a year after the pandemic began for lawmakers to get workers this extra pay, and in most cases it will only last a few months. It also does not apply to all workers in grocery stores. Workers for Instacart, Amazon Prime’s shopping service in Whole Foods and other gig-based apps aren’t eligible for the pay.
The IRS has confirmed that another round of $1,400 direct payments has been sent, but how many were distributed and who is yet to receive their stimulus check?
Will Gittens has had a good look at what the IRS have said and provides a neat summary of it here.
Stimulus bill pushback
Jordan Sekulow, for the American Center for Law and Justice, has honed in on the change in stimulus bill creation over the last year or so. He states that 'after the five bipartisan covid-19 stimulus bills enacted in 2020, Democrats in the US Senate and US House of Representatives opted to use the budget reconciliation process to approve a partisan sixth stimulus bill.'
And he continues: 'This resulted in a law littered with problems, but one of the worst is a provision inserted at the last minute that functionally prohibits states from cutting state taxes anytime between now and 2024. This is, of course, an egregious abuse of power that eviscerates each state’s constitutional authority to set its own taxation policy.'
He is happy that some states are fighting back, and puts his full case together here.
As the economy reopens and fear and uncertainty recede, the high levels of saving should facilitate more spending in the future.
However, a great deal of uncertainty and discussion exists about the pace of this spending increase and the extent of pent-up demand.
Stimulus check: how did you spend yours?
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%).
For the third round of stimulus checks, which gave $1,400 to eligible Americans in March, respondents said they spent or expect to spend 24.7% of the total, save 41.6% and use 33.7% to pay down debt. Of the amount used for spending, an average of 13% is expected for essential items and an average of 8% on non-essential items.
Biden's $1.52 trillion budget request for 2022
President Joe Biden proposed major boosts in funding to combat inequality, disease and climate change as part of a $1.52 trillion budget request for 2022, part of his wider push to redefine the role of government in American lives.
The administration’s outline, released by the White House Friday, kicks off a months-long process in which Congress is likely to significantly reshape the priorities, given stiff Republican opposition to many of the proposals. But the outline showcases how Biden is trying to bend the federal government toward a much greater role in the provision of health care and education.
Combined with the $1.9 trillion pandemic-relief bill signed last month and a $2.25 trillion infrastructure-and-jobs proposal, the budget marks Biden’s third foray into using the power of the federal government to radically expand help for lower-income and middle-class Americans. A further social-spending package is also coming, all before Biden’s first 100 days have passed.
Tax season is one of the most important times to practice digital wellness.
As we embrace the convenience of living our lives online, it makes sense to take a few steps to protect ourselves. It’s better to prevent a problem than to be in the position of fixing one.
Just like eating well and exercising can help keep us out of the doctor’s office, digital wellness practices can keep hackers at bay.
Stimulus scams on the increase
Security experts are seeing a rise this tax season in phishing schemes and malware tied to hot-button subjects like tax refunds, stimulus payments and covid-19 vaccines.
The Internal Revenue Service recently warned about an ongoing IRS-impersonation scam that mainly targets educational institutions, including students and staff who have “.edu” email addresses. The emails show the IRS logo and use subject lines such as “Tax Refund Payment” or “Recalculation of your tax refund payment.”
It then asks people to click a link and submit a form to claim their refund where they are asked for personal information such as their Social Security number.
The Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network has also warned this tax season about phishing emails tied to Economic Impact Payments and covid-19
Full story reported by Michael Cohn. Don't be one of those caught out.
This image shows protestors march across the Brooklyn Bridge last month to demand funding for excluded workers in the New York State budget.
New York state will issue one-time payments of up to $15,000 to undocumented migrants who lost work during the pandemic under a multi-billion-dollar fund championed by progressive Democrats but opposed by Republicans.
The payments, by far the largest of their kind in the United States, will help tens of thousands of people who arrived in America illegally and who are unable to collect unemployment insurance or federal stimulus checks. (Photo by David Dee Delgado / Getty)
Stimulus funds to change homeless student lives
Kathryn Butler has stitched together a patchwork of resources to support the nearly 500 homeless students who attend her school district in Greenwood County, South Carolina.
She asks local companies to give students new winter coats and shoes. She partners with the local cosmetology school to offer students haircuts. And she runs drives to collect clothing, toiletries, and bedding, which she stocks in a school storage room dubbed “Kathryn’s Closet.”
She does all that to help stretch the $60,000 she usually gets from the federal government to help homeless students. But the latest federal stimulus package has Butler hoping she’ll be able to do a lot more. It includes $800 million specifically to help homeless students — eight times as much as the federal government has spent annually on those students in recent years.
Imagining what she could do for her students with that is like “living in the land of the Wizard of Oz,” Butler said.
Kalyn Belsha looks into the potential life changing impact.
GOP spurns stimulus relief bill...but why?
President Biden's covid-19 pandemic relief plans are a valentine to rural red states, argues Renée Loth. GOP-dominated states, often poor, gain more from government aid than the blues.
So, why then do Republicans in Congress spurn his courtship?
Renée gives her thoughts on this for the Boston Globe:
Stimulus frustration in Texas
For more than a year, the federal government has been pumping billions of dollars into school districts across the country to help them meet the demands of the pandemic. Most states have used that pot of stimulus funds as Congress intended: buying personal protective equipment for students and teachers, laptops for kids learning from home, improved ventilation systems for school buildings to prevent virus transmission and covering other costs.
But in Texas, local schools have yet to see an extra dime from the more than $19 billion in federal stimulus money given to the state. After Congress passed the first stimulus bill last year, officials used the state's $1.3 billion education share to fill other holes in the state budget, leaving public schools with few additional resources to pay for the costs of the pandemic.
Read more on the developing situation:
Stimulus sparks stock secular shift
The Nasdaq is within 2% of its February record level, Reuters report.
"This week is a reminder that technology is not dead. It's still a group that has a lot of explosive growth and it's a nice change for investors who felt some pain from techs' under performance earlier this year," Detrick said.
Bank of America's weekly fund flow figures showed investors have pumped more money into equities over the past five months than in the last 12 years, as ultra-easy monetary policies and unprecedented stimulus have sparked a secular shift into stocks.
Honeywell gained about 2.2% as Jefferies and J.P. Morgan raised their price targets on the U.S. aero parts maker's shares.
Cashing stimulus checks: problems in Detroit
Roughly 8.8% of households in metro Detroit haven't taken what financial experts call the first step toward economic inclusion. They don't have bank accounts. And it's costing them big money to cash checks and borrow money outside the traditional banking system.
If you need to cash your stimulus check, call a local party store or check cashing store in metro Detroit and it could cost you around $60 to $100 just to cash a $1,400 stimulus check at some spots.
Stimulus checks: every AS English article
You can check out all of AS English's news articles on Economic Impact Payments by going to our dedicated stimulus checks section. You'll find information not only on the third stimulus check, but also a possible fourth EIP.
Americans still waiting for their money to arrive can track the status of their stimulus check by visiting the IRS' Get My Payment portal.
As part of the third round of stimulus checks, payments arriving by direct deposit are appearing in Americans' bank accounts labelled with the reference "IRS TREAS 310 - TAX EIP3".
If, despite being eligible, you missed out on a payment in the first or second round of stimulus checks, you can claim you money when you file your 2020 tax return.
A new report from the IRS and the US Department of the Treasury has outlined the astonishing number of stimulus check payments that have been made in the last four weeks. Over $372 billion of federal funds has been sent out and the majority of eligible Americans have now received their direct payment.
However not all groups have yet been processed and the IRS outline who is set to get their money on Wednesday 14 April, as well as giving an update on the 'plus-up' payments.
Congressman hosts stimulus check webinar
The stimulus check process can seem daunting at the best of times, but with the IRS trying to distribute around 160 million payments during tax season this round of payments has unique complications. Some who were not eligible in the past may now find themselves owed money in the form of a 'plus-up' payment, while some have had to wait weeks for payment.
To help residents understand the process, Pennsylvania Rep. Brendan Boyle has organised a stimulus check webinar which you can sign up for by following the link in the tweet.
The IRS made other huge set of stimulus check payments this weeks, but have only just started issuing the supplemental payments for those who were short-changed on past payments. As the tax authority processes the millions of tax returns it’s receiving daily, the agency is adjusting for the difference between 2019 and 2020 filings.
Now the IRS is sending supplemental “plus-up” payments for the stimulus checks already sent out for taxpayers that are newly eligible or that were due a larger stimulus check. In the fourth batch of payments the tax agency sent out an additional 1 million of these payments.
Stimulus check lifeline for millions of Americans
A CNN report takes at look at the reality for some American families who are relying on the third stimulus check to cover the cost of household essentials. One recounts being forced to sell wedding rings to "keep our dream alive".
A total of more the 156 million Americans have now received their stimulus checks, and the next wave of payments is due to land in bank accounts on Wednesday 14 April, the IRS say.
JP Morgan predict change in stimulus check spending pattern
After over a year of on-and-off pandemic restrictions many states are now starting to loosen the rules, and it is having a demonstrable effect on public behaviour. For the first time, this stimulus check will be spent with in-person shopping close to the pre-pandemic levels.
The first round of stimulus checks, passed last March, were distributed at a time when many states were in full lockdown and in-person spending was down by more than 50%. As spending habits return to normal we may see more stimulus check money being spent, and less of it tucked away in savings.
Make sure to keep your stimulus check information notice
The vast majority of eligible Americans will have received their stimulus check by now, but the IRS are advising that you keep hold of one document once the payment hits. The Economic Impact Payment is followed by an information notice sent directly to your home address, which you may need for future tax filings.
For more details, check out: IRS information letters about Economic Impact Payments and the Recovery Rebate Credit
How much will your stimulus check 'plus-up' be worth?
The IRS is in the process of distributing 'plus-up' payments, which are supplementary payments for stimulus check recipients who received less than their full entitlement. Eligibility for all three rounds of stimulus check has been based on Adjusted Gross Income and the size of household, both of which are recorded in tax returns.
Anyone whose AGI or household size has changed since last year's tax filing may have suddenly become eligible for up to $3,200 when the IRS processes this year's tax return.
For more details on how the 'plus-up' payments work, and how much you could be in line to receive, check out Who qualifies for stimulus check ‘plus-up’ payments?
IRS: First stimulus check 'plus-up' payments have been sent
In a statement released earlier this week the IRS confirmed that the first of the so-called 'plus-up' payments have been distributed, topping up the stimulus check amount for some who were underpayed. Typically this relates to people whose economic situation has changed with their latest tax return filing.
The statement read: "This batch includes additional ongoing supplemental payments for people who earlier in March received payments based on their 2019 tax returns but are eligible for a new or larger payment based on their recently processed 2020 tax returns.
"This batch included more than 1 million of these “plus-up” payments, with a total value of more than $2 billion.
President Job Biden unveiled his vision for the future with his $2.25 trillion infrastructure investment plan, the American Jobs Plan. The ambitious plan intends to aid the US economic recovery and improve US competitiveness in the global market, but Democratic lawmakers are calling for additional stimulus check payments to provide in the short-term.
56 Democratic members of the House and 21 Senators have signed onto two letters sent to President Biden, asking him to consider including a recurring stimulus check in the new stimulus bill.
Stimulus checks could be vital for homeless Americans, if they can get them
There are concerns that one of the most vulnerable groups, homeless people, are struggling to get the stimulus check support that they are entitled to without phones, internet and a fixed address. A report from the LA Times looks at a campaign which aims to use those stimulus checks to get people off the streets permanently.
Jane Nguyen, cofounder of activism group Ktown for All, said: "It could really mean ending homelessness for some people, because I’ve met so many people who are looking for an apartment and all they need is the security deposit and many of them are working towards that."
IRS confirms VA stimulus checks will arrive next week
Some recipients of Veterans Affairs programmes has been missed out of previous stimulus check payments, despite the IRS having now processed over 156 million direct payments. But the tax authority has confirmed that beneficiaries should begin to see their money next week.
An IRS statement reads: "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 April 14.
"The IRS projects VA beneficiary payment information would be available in the Get My Payment tool this weekend, April 10-11."
How is the third stimulus check money being spent?
A study from the Federal Reserve has projected that more more of the recent round of stimulus checks will be saved than immediately spent, following the trend from previous rounds of payment. An estimated 42% of the $1,400 stimulus checks is expected to be saved as Americans brace themselves for an uncertain economic future.
The most recent stimulus checks comes just two months after the last round of direct payments were made, perhaps a reason why less was spent on paying off debts than previous rounds.
Stimulus checks arrive for Social Security beneficiaries
The IRS confirmed earlier this week that a batch of around 25 million stimulus checks was due to land in recipients' bank accounts on Wednesday. Many of these payments have gone to Social Security and SSI claimants after an administrative error from the SSA delayed the process.
It is though that the next round of payments will include stimulus checks for Veterans Affairs recipients, which covers a number of different programmes. The IRS say they will begin processing the payments this weekend and the payments should begin to arrive from 14 April.
IRS not considering bringing back its Non-Filers Tool
During the first round of stimulus payments under the CARES Act, individuals on low incomes (under $12,000) were not obliged to file a tax return but could claim their stimulus check through the Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info Here Tool.
However, the IRS closed the Non-filers tool in November last year which means the only way for those on low incomes to receive either the second or third stimulus check is by filing a tax return for 2020. People who used the non-filer tool before it went offline on 21 November will automatically receive their third stimulus payment without the need for further action.
The third round of direct payments is being sent out but some Americans have reported that they have received the wrong amount from the tax authority.
Here's how to check what to do:
86% of billionaires are now $5.1 trillion richer than before the pandemic - Sanders
U.S. Senator for Vermont Bernie Sanders claimed in a tweet that: "The majority of billionaires have gotten richer since the start of the pandemic". In an interview, he explained why he believes that wealth inequality is a serious problem. "When we talk about income and wealth inequality, it's not just that two people [Jeff] Bezos being one of them, own more wealth than the bottom 40% of the American people - that is wrong in itself".
First White House budget proposal to preview Biden's goals
President Joe Biden will release his first budget proposal to Congress on Friday, offering a long-awaited glimpse into a policy agenda that will mark a sharp departure from his predecessor, Donald Trump.
Nearly three months into a job consumed by the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic, the budget proposal could shed light on the Democratic president's priorities ranging from cybersecurity to immigration and climate change. Among other measures, the document is expected to request some $715 billion for the Department of Defense, roughly even in inflation-adjusted terms with this year, according to a person familiar with the matter.
Known as a 'skinny' budget, Biden's proposal on Friday will provide only cursory figures on programs and departments where Congress has flexibility to decide what it wants to spend for the fiscal year starting in October. That 'discretionary' spending accounted for $1.6 trillion in the 2020 fiscal year, about a quarter of total federal spending. The rest is for areas deemed mandatory including old-age, disability, unemployment and medical benefits.
A full budget proposal is set to be announced later this spring.
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.
100,000 potentially fraudulent PUA claims detected in Michigan
Like many other states, Michigan has seen a dramatic increase in new Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) claims which may have been filed by criminals. Around 100,000 suspect claims have been detected and stopped for identity verification. No payments have been sent out to claimants who may be trying to trck the system.
Veterans to receive stimulus checks next week
The IRS has announced veterans who have not yet received a stimulus check will get their payment next week starting from 14 April.
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.
There are growing calls in Congress for recurring payments to be included in President Biden's next spending package, but there will likely be strong GOP resistance to the proposals.
More informations here:
The IRS are still sending out the direct payments, but have announced that some individuals could be eligible for more money after filing their 2020 tax returns.
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.
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 aid 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.
Stimulus check live updates: welcome
Hello and welcome to our daily live blog on Friday 9 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.