Fourth stimulus check news summary: 15 April 2021
US Stimulus checks: live updates on 15 April 2021
- Fourth stimulus check: where does Joe Biden stand? (here's where)
- Third stimulus check: $372 billion has now been paid out to 159 million recipients with the latest round
- US stimulus model inspires French minister for European version
- New Child Tax Credit system will be in place for July, IRS chief confirms
- Stimulus check 'plus-up' payments will continue in weekly bursts as tax returns are processed
- 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
- 4 out 5 of Google Trends top searches related to stimulus check: "fifth stimulus check"
- Track your stimulus check using the IRS' Get My Payment tool (more info)
- US covid-19: 31.49 million cases / 565,289 deaths (live updates from JHU)
Scroll through our related articles:
Over 159 million stimulus check payments had been made at the last count, and the IRS is also in charge of introducing the new-look Child Tax Credit (CTC) by July. The IRS has had a huge workload and there are fears that the volume of work has affected the tax return process.
IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig has assured lawmakers that the CTC rollout is on schedule, but admitted that the agency are still attempting to clear a backlog of tax filings from 2019. Here's everything you need to know about the tax return delay, and how it may affect your stimulus check payment.
Restaurants experience stimulus check windfall
We are now beginning to see the effect of the $1,400 stimulus checks on elements of the US economy, and it's looking like good news for the struggling hospitality sector. Restaurant Business has noted a 36% year-on-year increase in sales across the country, bringing them close to pre-pandemic levels.
It should be noted that March 2020 saw some states institute some of the strictest lockdown measure and, for many, caution over the coronavirus was at a high. However there figures are undoubtedly a step in the right direction and prove that the stimulus checks are capable of stimulating sectors and businesses that were badly hit by the pandemic.
The new-look Child Tax Credit was one of the most significant components of the American Rescue Plan passed by Congress in March. Payments for this new form of support are slated to begin in July 2021, but the IRS face a race against time to get the new system up and running by then.
Under the new law, individuals making $75,000 or less or families with a combined earned income of $150,0000 or less will be eligible for payments of up to $3,000 for children over the age of six and $3,600 for those six or younger.
On Capitol Hill on Tuesday, IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig provided an update on the preparations being undertaken to ensure that IRS can make these payments.
Do you need to pay tax on stimulus check payments?
The New Jersey Society of Certified Public Accountants runs through a few quick questions on sitmulus checks, including whether or not you need to pay tax on any Economic Impact Payments that you have received over the course of the pandemic. The answer, for all states, is no.
The IRS states: "The payment is not includible in your gross income. Therefore, you will not include the payment in your taxable income on your federal income tax return or pay income tax on your payment."
Anyone who received Veterans Affairs benefits in 2020 is eligible for a third stimulus check. The IRS has said that recipients should not have to provide any additional information to receive their third check, unless there has been a change in the number of dependents they are able to claim.
For those who do not usually file income taxes, they may need to do so if the number of dependents changed in 2020 because the new information may impact the amount of money they are entitled to.
On 7 April, the IRS announced that it expected “to begin processing these VA payment files at the end of this week,” but some groups may have to wait longer due to administrative delays and a wait for physical payments to arrive in the mail.
Warren praises stimulus checks for economic boost
Progressive Sen. Elizabeth Warren has shared an AP article which points to the third round of stimulus checks as a key factor in the 9.8% increase in consumer spending last month. The $1,400 direct payments have led to a sharp rise in retail spending and could signify a gradual return to normality.
Warren has been a vocal supporter of providing greater financial relief to the American people throughout the pandemic, and was one of 21 Democrat senators who signed a letter calling on President Biden to introduce recurring stimulus checks. She argued that such spending "lifts up our whole economy."
IRS answers Child Tax Credit questioning
In a committee exchange with Senator Michal Bennet, IRS commissioner Charles Rettig confirmed that the tax authority are still intending to get the new Child Tax Credit (CTC) system up and running by July.
The IRS has faced an increased workload this year with a particularly busy tax season compounded by the ongoing distribution of the third round of stimulus checks. They have nearly completed the stimulus check distribution and there is now just one month until the tax return deadline.
One year of stimulus checks
The third stimulus check has nearly finished distribution, exactly one year since the first round of direct payments was sent out by the Trump administration. Chris Hughes, co-chair of the Economic Security Project, cites a study that suggests more than 10 million people have been lifted out of poverty by the payments.
Such evidence will strengthen calls for a fourth stimulus check, possibly providing recurring payments, to be considered by Congress in the near future. The federal support has undoubtedly been a vital lifeline for millions, but Biden must weigh the benefits against potential spending on the new infrastructure package announced last month.
As you'll be more than aware the overall plan to rid the United States - not to mention the rest of the world - of this devastating covid-19 pandemic includes both a financial support plan through a number of stimulus initiatives and also a slick vaccine rollout, which is in progress.
We have a live blog dedicated to everything vaccine related - including the latest breaking news from the Pfizer CEO about booster shots.
The covid-19 stimulus checks have gone a long way toward easing the financial burden on households, but a recent survey by Bankrate found that 61% of respondents believed the $1,400 stimulus check would not last them 3 months. A third said it would last less than a month.
A letter to President Joe Biden from 21 Senate Democrats called on the White House to consider including recurring stimulus checks until the end of the economic crisis. But Biden is now pursuing more long-term goals, aimed at lessening the impact of the pandemic on the economy and may be unwilling to spend more political capital on direct payments.
How much of the third stimulus check has been spent?
The IRS confirmed earlier this week they they have dstributed over 159 million stimulus check payments, worth a whopping $372 billion in total. This influx of cash into Americans' pockets has been linked to a 9.8% increase in consumer spending during the month of March.
But how exactly have those $1,400 stimulus checks been spent, and which sectors have benefited most from the windfall. ABC's Elizabeth Schulze breaks down the retail spending data from Oxford Economics.
Child Tax Credit payments set to begin in July
The new-look Child Tax Credit programme, which will offer up to $300 per child in monthly direct payments, is set to begin in July despite concerns that the IRS would be unable to hit the deadline. The system will be adminstered using a new online portal that the IRS has been tasked with introducing.
The American Rescue Plan set ta date of 1 July 2021 for the "periodic" payments to begin, but IRS commissioner Charles Rettig had warned that the tax authority may struggle to get the new system working during a busy tax season. However the latest reports are far more optimistic and eligible families should now begin to see the payments arrive in July as hoped.
Stimulus check spurs consumer spending
Up until this point point it was difficult to tell how much of an impact the third stimulus check would have on spending habits, but now that the vast majority of payments have been spent it is possible to see the effect.
Although around 40% of the $372 billion so far distributed has been saved, Associated Press have reported a 9.8% jump in consumer spending across the month of March. Considering that the bill was only signed into law on 11 March and distribution took weeks for some people, it is fair to assume that the economic boost may continue for some time.
Will I get a stimulus check 'plus-up' payment?
As the IRS approaches the end of stimulus check distribution for the thirs round of payments, they are now moving on to amended payments for those who were underpaid in the past. These payments, known as 'plus-up' payments, are sent to those whose new tax return information means that their stimulus check entitlement has increased.
The IRS have announced that they will be making these payments on a weekly basis until they have cleared the backlog of tax returns for both 2019 and 2020. For more information on 'plus-up' payments, including eligibility information, check out When are the remaining stimulus check and 'plus-up' payments arriving?
Retail sales go gangbusters with stimulus checks in wallets
A fresh batch of stimulus checks sent consumer purchases surging in March as the US economy continued to get juice from aggressive congressional spending.
Advance retail sales rose 9.8% for the month, the Commerce Department reported Thursday. That compared to the Dow Jones estimate of a 6.1% gain and a decline of 2.7% in February.
Next stimulus bill to include $400bn for senior care
Senior care and long-term caregiving in President Joe Biden’s American Jobs Plan may not fall into a traditional definition of “infrastructure,” but it’s one of the most popular provisions in the plan among Democratic and Republican voters alike, according to new polling from Vox and Data for Progress.
The new poll, which surveyed likely voters about various provisions of Biden’s $2.25 trillion American Jobs Plan, showed that Biden’s investment to improve and lower the cost of long-term care for seniors and those with disabilities has broad support — 73 percent of respondents strongly or somewhat backed the proposal.
Read more results from the Vox and Data for Progress poll
Tax season looks a little different this year, and with deadlines varying across states, it is more important than ever to see what you are expected to prepare and by when.
The IRS has pushed back the federal tax filing deadline to 17 May. Has your state?
Debunking myths about what infrastructure is for Biden’s next stimulus bill
Lawmakers are working with the framework of President Biden’s American Jobs Plan, a $2.3 trillion infrastructure bill. The President wants to have workable legislation by the summer.
Republicans plan to oppose the sweeping spending bill with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell saying that it won’t get any votes from his side of the aisle. One of the GOP’s major criticisms of the bill is that very little money goes to traditional infrastructure.
Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm sits down to debunk some of the myths about what infrastructure is.
VA beneficiaries finally getting $1,400 stimulus checks
VA disability or pension beneficiaries who don’t normally need to file an income tax return who saw their $1,400 stimulus checks delayed can finally breathe a little easier. Yesterday those payments started showing up in bank accounts around the country arriving in the 5th weekly batch of stimulus payments.
Democrats aren’t taking a pause to make sure the latest recipients and the nation knows exactly who voted for and against the most recent payments. Although the previous two stimulus bills were bipartisan affairs, not a single Republican in Washington voted for the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan.
Stimulus money gives Americans a chance to build nest egg for the future
Many of those who didn’t need to cover their basic costs and were cooped up in their homes during the pandemic took to the market. Major brokers are coming off of a banner year in 2020, when a record number of investors entered the market during the covid-19 pandemic.
Charles Schwab had a particularly good start to this year, adding a record 3.2 million new clients in the first quarter of 2021 compared with about 2.4 million new accounts in all of 2020.
Top five trending Google searches for “stimulus check”
The $1,400 stimulus checks from the third round of Economic Impact Payments are still going out to eligible Americans with calls for a fourth stimulus check in Congress. Unfortunately, these checks look unlikely to become a reality, but there is definitely interest in getting more stimulus. Today, 4 of the 5 top searches on Google related to “stimulus check” have to do with a “fifth stimulus check”.
Healthcare benefits tucked into stimulus bill
The American Rescue Plan, President Biden’s $1.9 trillion covid-19 relief bill that was enacted in March contained a lot more than just $1,400 stimulus checks. Included in the bill was legislation that lowers out-of-pocket insurance costs in a number of ways.
The Health Care Affordability Act could see 4 out of 5 enrollees able to find a plan for $10 or less per month per person according the White House. People with the lowest incomes and those who receive unemployment compensation this year may not have to pay a monthly premium at all.
If you are uninsured or paying too much for your insurance, a special enrollment period is underway until 15 August. HealthCare.gov began displaying the new, lower prices on Thursday.
IRS urges “Non-Filers” to do a 2020 tax return
Eligible households could get some helpful tax benefits this year, but they will need to file a 2020 tax return to see them. People who don’t normally report their income, known as “Non-Filers”, because they don’t earn enough will be able to enjoy the full Child Tax Credit that was revamped under the American Rescue Plan.
The tax credit is now fully refundable and the earning floor was removed allowing low-income families to take advantage of it. The credit was also expanded to from $2,000 to $3,000 for children 6-17 and $3,600 for children under age 6.
Some of those who have not filed returns may also be eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit, but the IRS says it may need to see their 2020 tax return to know.
More stimulus money is coming
Millions of Americans continue to struggle financially as the economy begins to slowly recover from 2020. While it is unlikely that there will be yet another round of stimulus checks, other forms of economic stimulus and financial relief may be heading your way.
Forbes lays out some possible ways you can get more stimulus funds.
New Jersey Governor proposes $40m in stimulus checks to immigrants
New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy is proposing to use $40 million left over funds from the CARES Act to send out one-time stimulus payments to the state’s undocumented immigrants via executive action reports Politico.
New Jersey has roughly half-million undocumented immigrants who were not eligible for any of the three rounds of Economic Impact Payments that have been sent out so far.
The past year has seen the federal government dole out hundreds of billions in stimulus money to prop up families severely affected by the covid-19 pandemic. The latest round saw all eligible Americans receive up to $1,400 to help see them through economic hardship.
Some people that have received the extra money are trying to return it to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), out of guilt because they don’t need the money. Others because they were not in favor of the measure so they feel that they shouldn’t keep it. But there are cases where people received a check when they shouldn’t have, these people will have to return the money.
“Plus-up” payments included
CNBC - The new batch of $1,400 stimulus checks also includes “plus-up” payments for those who are due more money now that their 2020 tax returns have been processed. Those payments totaled more than $1.2 billion.
In total, the fifth batch of payments included about 1.2 million direct deposit payments and almost 800,000 paper checks.
The payments had an official payment date of Wednesday, April 14. However, the money could have arrived earlier for some people, as the checks began processing on Friday, April 9.
Most people do not need to do anything in order to get a stimulus check. However, the IRS is urging some people to file a tax return in order to receive the money for which they are eligible.
That includes federal beneficiaries who need to submit information on any dependents who may qualify for the money, as well as people who do not normally file tax returns nor receive federal benefits.
If your income is $72,000 or less, you can file your tax return for free using the IRS Free File program.
Filing a 2020 tax return will also enable you to claim a recovery rebate credit if you missed out on the previous $1,200 or $600 stimulus checks.
This new batch of $1,400 stimulus checks includes payments to veterans
CNBC - The US government has issued a new set of $1,400 stimulus checks, and this time Veterans Affairs beneficiaries were included.
The latest round marks the fifth batch of direct payments sent since the $1,400 checks were first authorized by Congress through the American Rescue Plan Act in March.
The latest payments bring the number to about 159 million recipients, for a total of more than $376 billion.
The new round includes approximately 2 million stimulus checks for a total of more than $3.4 billion.
This time, the checks include Veterans Affairs beneficiaries who receive Compensation and Pension benefits who do not normally file tax returns and who did not use the IRS non-filer tool last year.
More than 320,000 payments were issued to those beneficiaries for a total of about $450 million.
Social Security beneficiaries who also did not file tax returns for the past two years and who did not use the non filer tool were also among the recipients. About 72,000 checks went to those people.
In addition, people who recently filed tax returns in order to get their information on file were also among the recipients of the new checks. Almost 850,000 payments worth about $1.6 billion went to them.
When will the next round of stimulus checks be sent out?
As they draw close to the 160 million rough estimate that was circulated when the package was signed into law, the IRS are yet to announce any complete groups of stimulus check recipients who have not received any of their payments yet.
Wednesday 14 April was the official payment date for the last large batch of payments to be sent out as Veterans Affairs beneficiaries finally got their stimulus check money. The latest burst of payments saw around two million stimulus checks distributed, worth in excess of $3.4 billion.
This suggests that the IRS believe that the different eligibility groups have all been covered, although it is to be expected that administrative errors may mean some have slipped through the cracks. It is also worth considering that recipients waiting for paper stimulus checks or an Economic Impact Payment debit card may have to wait a bit longer for the physical payment to arrive in the post.
How are stimulus checks being spent?
Approximately 159 million economic impact payments, totaling more than $376 billion, have gone out to eligible recipients in the last month — and the majority of that money continues to be spent on groceries, rent and other monthly bills, according to a new survey released Wednesday.
The number of recipients looking to put their stimulus checks towards their near-term financial situation remains elevated at 67 percent, according to analysis from Bankrate.com. Even those among the highest earning households, making $80,000 or more annually, are continuing to feel the brunt of the pandemic, with nearly half saying they will spend their check in this way.
“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," said Greg McBride, chief financial analyst at Bankrate.
“More than 40 percent of households are earning less now than they were prior to the pandemic,” McBride said. “And while that's highest among lower-income households, higher-income households have not been immune from that.”
Why Michigan is trying to take some prisoners' stimulus checks
Some Michigan prisoners who planned to spend their stimulus checks on things like personal hygiene items and phone calls are learning that the state is trying to seize most of their money.
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 within the Michigan Department of Corrections. Stimulus funds have triggered the Attorney General's Office to take action against about 50 prisoners, a spokeswoman said in late March. The process starts with a complaint filed in circuit court to freeze a prisoner's assets, followed by proceedings in front of a judge.
Some prisoners and attorneys say it's counterproductive and a waste of resources for the state to try to seize money for the cost of incarceration from people with relatively minimal assets from stimulus checks and prison wages. Incarcerated people said they have seen the state take money from prisoners before, but only from those with pensions or real estate. One man on parole said he resorted to panhandling after the state asked a court to freeze his money, most of which was left to him by his mother who died while he was in prison. Full story.
US consumer prices increase solidly in March
US consumer prices increased by the most in more than 8-1/2 years in March and underlying inflation picked up as more parts of the economy reopened thanks to increased vaccinations and massive fiscal stimulus.
The consumer price index jumped 0.6% last month, the largest gain since August 2012, after rising 0.4% in February, the Labor Department said on Tuesday. Excluding the volatile food and energy components, the CPI rose 0.3%.
The so-called core CPI nudged up 0.1% in February.
Economists polled by Reuters had forecast the overall CPI advancing 0.5% and the core CPI climbing 0.2%.
Fourth stimulus check: senators say current round "won't last three months"
As calls for a fourth stimulus check - or a recurring payment being touted by some lawmakers - gather pace, experts assess why another round of payments is a matter of vital importance to millions of US citizens in a CBS report.
"Almost 6 in 10 people say the $1,400 payments set to be included in the rescue package will last them less than three months," a group of 21 senators wrote Joe Biden in a letter dated 30 March.
Airline ticket prices shoot up with millions of stimulus checks
On March 11, President Biden gave the country a preliminary timetable for returning to normalcy. In a prime-time address, he directed states to make all adults eligible for vaccination by May 1.
“A July 4 with your loved ones is the goal,” he said.
Americans, it turns out, made travel plans accordingly: Airline ticket prices for summer travel shot up the week after the speech, according to data from the travel booking app Hopper.
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 and the FTC has issued a warning about a new target for online scammers: a funeral expenses scheme.
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.
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. No computer? No problem. IRS Free File products support mobile phone access too.
Military veterans start receiving stimulus checks
US military veterans who receive VA disability or pension benefits should receive their $1,400 stimulus checks over the next few days as payments started going out yesterday, 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.
How much is the Child Tax Credit?
The new system provides a refundable tax credit of $3,000 for children aged from 6-17 and $3,600 for children who are under the age of six for the 2021 fiscal year. Families could receive a payment of $300 per child under 6 and/or $250 per child under 18 per month. The legislation envisioned the payments starting in July and running through December covering half the credit. The remainder, $1,800/$1,500 per child, would be available to families as a rebate when they file their 2021 income-tax filing in 2022.
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.”