Fourth stimulus check news summary: 14 April 2021
- Fourth stimulus check: where does Joe Biden stand? (here's where)
- Third stimulus check: $372 billion has now been paid out to 156 million recipients in latest round
- US stimulus model inspires French minister for European version
- Veterans still awaiting third stimulus check should receive money by Wednesday 14 April, IRS says
- G20 finance officials poised to back a $650 billion stimulus boost in the IMF's emergency reserves
- Track your stimulus check using the IRS' Get My Payment tool (more info)
- US covid-19: 31.42 million cases / 564,402 deaths (live updates from JHU)
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Child tax credit payments
One of the main planks of Biden's American Rescue Plan, in addition to the third round of stimulus checks, are the child tax credits, which provide for payments of up to $3000 for children over the age of six and $3,600 for those six or younger, for parents who come in under the income thresholds.
Because of the way they are structured, with monthly payments, the IRS is having to build out a new system to cope with them, but that is expected to be ready by July and payments will start being made then.
As the IRS nears the milestone of 160 million stimulus checks distributed, there are few groups still missing their direct payments. On Wednesday the IRS confirmed that another 2 million payments had gone out, mainly to recipients of Veterans Affairs benefits.
As of 14 April, the tax authority say they have now sent out over 159 million direct payments, comprising a total of $376 billion in federal funding. But they will need to continue making payments for at least another month as they distribute the 'plus-up' payments that are used to provide individuals with an ammeded amount if they were underpaid in the past.
Stimulus check spending leads to calls for greater government support
Recent studies have suggested that a large proportion of the stimulus check money being distributed currently is being saved, with many recipients looking to build up some savings to guard against future uncertainty. This may be sensible for the individual, but undermines the term 'stimulus' check, which suggests that the money will be used to reinvigorate the pandemic-stricken economy.
Unconditional Basic Income Scott Santens believes that this represents an opportunity to introduce regular government support in the form of a recurring stimulus check, which would provide a safety net for low-income families during a period of uncertainty. A number of lawmakers, including 21 senators, have called on Biden to considered recurring payments in the next economic package.
The federal government has sent out $3,200 in stimulus payments over three different rounds to eligible adult Americans since the pandemic began. Even though payments in the third round haven’t finished going out there are calls for additional stimulus payments.
The first two rounds of Economic Impact Payments (EIP) were advanced payments on tax credits for 2020, while the third EIP is a tax credit for the 2021 fiscal year. Those who didn’t get the full amount, or any funds, from the first two rounds can now claim them through the 2020 Recovery Rebate Credit, if they are now eligible.
But with some lawmakers in Congress already beginning to discuss the possibility of a recurring, fourth stimulus check; would this continue to be the case in future direct payments.
How much stimulus check money is being saved?
As we approach the end of the distribution process for the third round of stimulus checks, financial analysts are beginning to see how Americans have used the direct payments so far. In many cases, it seems like recipients of the $1,400 are choosing to save the money to guard against future uncertainty.
Estimates vary, but JP Morgan suggest that as much as half of the $372 billion distributed by the IRS has been saved. This may simply reflect the fact that in many states covid-19 restrictions are still in place, limiting the opportunities that recipients have to spend them.
Stimulus support continues to boost Biden's ratings
Studies continue to suggest that President Biden's handling of the covid-19 pandemic is generally being received favourably, and has been given an extra bump by the $1.9 trillion stimulus bill passed recently. With the most generous stimulus checks so far ($1,400 per person), it is no surprise that the direct payments have been weel received but Biden's popularity extends beyond that.
A recent AP-NORC poll of 1,166 U.S. adults puts his handling of the coronavirus pandemic at 73% approval, with 62% approval on health care and 55% approval on foreign policy. The good polling data has given his White House the confidence to follow a more progressive agenda, which could see a fourth stimulus check considered for the next large-scale economic package.
Stimulus checks could spur 'reopening day' boom
Financial analysts at JP Morgan have announced that they foresee a huge influx in hospitality spending once the national restrictions on socialising and other covid-19 measures are removed. President Biden has set the target of July 4, Independence Day, for Americans to be able to gather in to celebrate the holiday.
So far just 13% of third stimulus check spending has gone on non-essential items, but experts predict that this could rocket once the hospitality sector is back. If the recently-mooted fourth stimulus check, possibly with recurring payments, were to materialise the effect on consumer spending could be even greater.
The US economy is beginning to feel the benefits of the third round of stimulus checks, coming as vaccination rates climb and the American public is finally able to venture out of their homes after a year of restrictions. But the road ahead is still uncertain, and many lawmakers are calling on the White House to introduce recurring stimulus checks until the pandemic is over.
President Joe Biden is rolling out the second part of his Build Back Better plan, and many want a fourth stimulus check (which would include monthly payments) to be part of the package. Many Democrats in Congress have signed a letter insisting that ongoing stimulus payments are provided “to support Americans who are still struggling during the pandemic.”
New batch of stimulus checks sent to Veterans Affairs recipients
The IRS have confirmed that a new batch of stimulus check payments will go to another group that has missed out in previous rounds. An estimated 2 million stimulus checks, a total of more than $3.4 billion, will get the payment.
The direct payments will go to Veterans Affairs beneficiaries who receive Compensation and Pension benefits, as well as many who have used the IRS' non-filers tool to claim previous rounds of payment.
Stimulus spending provides "big ticket" boost for states
California Capitol correspondent Ashley Zavala has outlined where the huge amounts of stimulus spending for states could go, with groups like students, the homeless and the elderly set to benefits from new programmes.
Earlier this year California pased its own Golden State State package, which provided an additional wave of funding for residents and businesses while Congress nedotiated the American Rescue Plan. That bill included a limited round of stimulus checks for residents, but it looks like the new burst of spending will be focused on providing additional funding rather than direct payments.
Study shows two-thirds of stimulus check money is going on essentials
As the vast majoirty of $1,400 stimulus checks have now been sent out we are starting to see some trends in spending, and it appears that much of the spending has gone on vital essentials. A study from Bankrate.com has found that 67% of the approximately $373 billion distributed so far has been spent on groceries, rent and other monthly bills.
Greg McBride, chief financial analyst at Bankrate, said of the news: “For all the talk of revenge spending and pent-up demand for travel, you wouldn’t know it by seeing just 13 percent of stimulus check recipients indicating that any of the money would be spent on discretionary activities or nonessential items."
Can states keep prisoners' stimulus check payments?
As the IRS has raced to distribute the third round of stimulus checks, a number of prominent Republicans in Congress have looked to prevent the $1,400 payments being sent to incarcerated Americans. The Biden administration continued the policy used by Trump in the two previous rounds of stimulus, but the dispute over prisoners' rights continues to rage on.
A report from Angie Jackon of the Detroit Free Press reads claims "State law allows the Attorney General's office to go after 90% of a prisoner's assets as reimbursement for the 'cost of care,' such as housing, medical and other living expenses."
The state Attorney General's office has reportedly started legal procedings against around 50 prisoners in an attempt to retain the stimulus money.
There are some people that, believe it or not, want to return their $1,400 stimulus checks and others who got one by mistake and are required to return it.
Read to find out why you would have to return your third stimulus check.
IRS chief says that the Child Tax Credit is coming in July
The head of the IRS, Charles Rettig last month told the Ways and Means subcommittee that he had his doubts that the tax agency could get the child tax credit monthly direct payments by July. However yesterday at a Senate Finance Committee hearing Rettig said the agency will start the process of issuing stimulus-enhanced child tax credits to millions of US families in July.
"We fully expect to launch in July. We expect to launch with payments going out on a monthly basis." Rettig said at a Senate Finance Committee hearing.
This will be great news for eligible parents who could see $250 to $300 direct payments monthly from July to December depending on the age of their child. Next year they would be able to claim a $1,500 or $1,800 tax credit when they file a tax return.
VA recipients due to receive $1,400 stimulus checks today
The IRS announced last week that stimulus payments should arrive 14 April for US military veterans who receive VA disability or pension benefits. Most of those payments will be made automatically by direct deposit into individuals' bank accounts.
VA beneficiaries can check information regarding Economic Impact Payments in the Get My Payment tool.
Treasury sets up new office to handle covid-19 relief funds
Jacob Leibenluft, an economic advisor in the Obama administration, will head up the new Office of Recovery Programs. The office will control the disbursement of $420 billion in assistance from the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan as well as funds approved in earlier covid-19 relief bills. The aid programs included those for state and local government aid, rental and homeowner relief and small business assistance.
Dems want to revamp unemployment benefits
Sens. Ron Wyden and Michael Bennet announced legislation Wednesday that would set minimum federal standards for unemployment benefits nationwide and ensure that extra aid kicks in when unemployment levels are high.
“As we’ve seen the last year, it’s much harder for the unemployment system to work in a crisis when it’s been neglected and sabotaged,” Wyden told HuffPost in a statement. “We can’t fail again to fix it in the wake of the second major economic crisis in 10 years.”
Bulk of stimulus checks going towards paying monthly bills
More than 156 million stimulus checks, totaling approximately $372 billion, have gone out to eligible recipients in the last month. The majority of that money continues to be spent on groceries, rent and other monthly bills, according to a new survey released Wednesday.
Even those among the highest earning households, making $80,000 or more annually, are continuing to feel the brunt of the pandemic. Nearly half saying they will spend their check on near-term expenses.
Stimulus checks and brighter outlook have people making travel plans
Because airfare is typically purchased weeks or months in advance, it can be a barometer of how the public is feeling about the pace of recovery. Airline ticket sales are showing that the American public believes they will be able to travel this summer.
However, if you are making travel plans don’t wait until the last minute. Airlines have found they can once again charge premiums for last-minute bookings.
Wondering where your tax refund is, from 2017? The IRS wants you to claim it
The IRS is looking for people who haven’t claim their tax refund from 2017. Unclaimed income tax refunds worth more than $1.3 billion await an estimated 1.3 million taxpayers who did not file a 2017 Form 1040 federal income tax return, according to the Internal Revenue Service.
Time is quickly running out for these people to claim the money owed to them. If they don’t act before 17 May this year the federal government will get to keep the money. The IRS estimates the midpoint for the potential refunds for 2017 to be $865.
Inclusion of adult dependents for $1,400 stimulus checks gives much needed aid to families
In the first two rounds of stimulus checks, adult dependents were left out. For many families that care for family members who have complex medical needs the felt left out. The latest $1.9 trillion coivd-19 relief bill passed in March provided some help for those families by including adult dependents.
As well families can take advantage of an enhanced Child and Dependent Care Credit. Eligible families can now claim qualified care expenses for up to $3,000 for one person, or $6,000 for two or more people.
Stimulus and a reopening of economy pushing consumer prices
In March consumer prices climbed 0.6% the largest increase since August 2012. They were lifted in particular by surging energy prices, including the cost of gasoline. Prices are rising as the economy revs up from the stimulus spending, including the latest $1,400 stimulus checks, and the economy begins to reopen.
Temporarily higher inflation was to be expected and is a good sign for the economic recovery in this case. The Fed has repeatedly said that inflation would need to run above its target of around 2% for a while to make up for periods of lower inflation.
What does Biden say about a fourth stimulus check?
Congressional Democrats have tried to put pressure on President Biden to back additional stimulus checks to struggling Americans. 76 members from both chambers signed on to letters urging the White House to support recurring payments until the end of the pandemic. The President has been mum so far on where he stands on the issue.
Use Free File to get a larger, faster tax refund and get signed up for Child Tax Credit
In a press release the IRS is urging taxpayers use Free File so they don’t miss out on tax credits they could be eligible for. This year's federal tax filing deadline for individuals has been postponed to May 17 from April 15. Filing a tax return has never been so important as it is this year.
People who did not receive the full amount of the first or second stimulus payments can claim the additional amount they are due as the Recovery Rebate Credit when they file their 2020 tax return. Families with children can look forward to extra cash in July as well. The federal government will send $250 or $300 per child per month until December through the Child Tax Credit. But eligible families will have to file a 2020 tax return to be automatically signed up for the program.
Stimulus looks set to create truly celebratory Independence Day
JPMorgan analysts said that with the US set to be open again on Independence Day, restaurants are poised to benefit from a pent-up desire to dine out and get together, which has been restricted because of the covid-19 pandemic.
“Despite a full year later than earlier expectations, we still believe July 4 to represent the reopening of America,” analysts wrote in a note focused on the restaurant industry published Monday.
Scam claims fourth stimulus check is on the way
There seems to be no end to the methods scammers are using to trick unsuspecting people to hand over their cash. Many fraudsters are capitalising on the confusion surrounding impact payments from the government's relief programs.
One of the latest scams involves a fake email, purporting to be from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) which mentions a "fourth stimulus check" which can only be delivered when the recipient sends their personal and bank information.
Obviously there is no fourth stimulus check, it is just a proposal which is currently being debated in Congress and the FTC has no involvement whatsoever in distributing stimulus payments.
If you have been the victim of identity theft, you can report it to the FTC here
IRS sends out the final batch of $1,400 stimulus checks
The Internal Revenue Service began sending out the fourth and final batch of stimulus checks today, Wednesday, April 14. The final batch includes around 25 million payments in total - approximately 19 million of them have gone 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.
US military veterans and their beneficiaries who receive Compensation and Pension (C&P) benefit payments who don't normally file a tax return," will receive their stimulus payments, by direct deposit, from today.
Joe Biden will address joint session of Congress on 28 April
The White House has confirmed that President Joe Biden will address a joint session of Congress on Wednesday 28 April, the first time during his administration when he will speak before both chambers, 100 days after he took office.
FTC issues advice about new stimulus check scam
There have been many scams taking advantage of uncertainty regarding stimulus check delivery and how to cash payments - the FTC has issued a warning about a new target for online scammers: a funeral expenses scheme.
Missing stimulus check - here's what to do
If you are looking for a missing stimulus check the IRS is only providing one route to get the information you seek, to use the Get My Payment tool.
President Biden has an ambitious plan to revolutionise America's infrastructure, both physical and social, to prepare the country for the future.
Child tax credits to start arriving in July - IRS
According to a report from CNN, the head of the IRS, Charles Rettig, has said the agency will start the process of issuing stimulus-enhanced child tax credits to millions of US families in July.
"We fully expect to launch in July. We expect to launch with payments going out on a monthly basis," Rettig said at a Senate Finance Committee hearing.
If you want to cash your stimulus check you can do so at banks even where you are not an account holder or member, but you will need to bring ID.
IRS Free File can help low earners file their 2020 tax return
Low- and moderate-income individuals and families, especially those who don't normally file a tax return, can use IRS Free File to prepare their own federal tax return, e-file it and get a refund – for free.
Free File offers free access to brand-name tax software to anyone who earns $72,000 or less. Over 2.96 million individuals and couples have used this online service so far this year to file returns and get their share of these valuable benefits.
Available only at IRS.gov, Free File offers people experiencing homelessness, students who are now on their own, low-and moderate-income families and others a fast and easy way to access these benefits. All anyone needs to reach Free File is access to a computer or similar device. If you don't have a computer, IRS Free File products can be accessed by mobile phone.
Military veterans should receive stimulus checks today
US military veterans who receive VA disability or pension benefits should receive their $1,400 stimulus checks this week as payments start going out today, 14 April. Most of those payments will be made automatically by direct deposit into individuals' bank accounts.
Information regarding Economic Impact Payments for VA beneficiaries who do not regularly file tax returns will be available in the Get My Payment tool at a future date.
Stimulus check latest updates: welcome
Hello and welcome to our daily live blog on Wednesday 14 April.
We'll be with you throughout the day bringing you all the latest information, reaction and breaking news related to both the third stimulus check, which sees qualifying Americans get up to $1,400, and also on the possibility of a fourth, potentially recurring direct payment which is currently being debated.