Fourth stimulus check news summary: 18 April 2021
- Will there be a fourth stimulus check? President Biden addresses the issue (read more)
- Third stimulus checks have been sent to 159 million Americans, worth over $372 billion
- French minister considers US-inspired European stimulus push
- IRS Commisioner Charles Rettig: New Child Tax Credit system should be in place for July
- California begins sending Golden State Stimulus checks (read more)
- IRS to send stimulus check 'plus-up' payments in weekly bursts as tax returns are processed
- 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: 31.62 million cases / 566,904 deaths (live updates from JHU)
Scroll through our related articles:
The California Franchise Tax Board (CFTB) is in the process of sending out a round of state-specific stimulus checks to low-income residents as part of a relief bill signed in February.
The Golden State Stimulus bill provides $600 direct payments to certain residents as part of a $7.6 billion package. California Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon said that the support would be aimed at addressing “the human and the economic impacts of covid in a way that echoes President Biden’s American Rescue Plan and will help those who are hurting most.”
But what restrictions are there on eligibility, and can you receive both the federal stimulus check and the California-specific version?
Retail surge after stimulus check boost
The Federal Reserve has reported a 9.8% year-on-year increase in consumer spending during the month of March as the third stimulus checks began to land in bank accounts. It is thought that the cash injection, combined with a loosening of pandemic restrictions, has caused the rise.
Bed Bath & Beyond's CEO Mark Tritton was optimistic about the figures, saying: "We have seen overall growth, February was strong. We saw the [retail sales] results in March come out about 10% growth. We are dramatically exceeding that growth rate in the month of March."
There have been many in Congress who have called for recurring stimulus checks in recent months, and a group of over 50 Democratic House Representatives sent a letter to the Biden administration to call for additional direct payments stating: “A one-time payment of $2,000 is simply not enough. The American people are counting on us to deliver transformative change, and we need to meet the moment by delivering monthly payments of $2,000.”
The Automatic BOOST to Communities (ABC) Act, reintroduced in the House in March, would see a fourth stimulus payment of $2,000, followed by $1,000 monthly payments until the pandemic ends. But how likely are these plans to materialise, and would Biden support a fourth stimulus check?
Dem Senators calls for Child Tax Credit extension
The new Child Tax Credit system could halve the number of children in poverty in the US, according to a White House fact sheet on the programme. Redressing societal inequalities was a stated aim of President Biden's before he took office and now many in his party are calling for the new CTC to be made permanent.
Currently the provision will last for just 12 months and is expected to begin in July. Sen. Brian Schatz believed securing an extension should be "one of the highest 2021 priorities for progressives."
The American Rescue Plan provided the most generous stimulus checks offered during the pandemic, with the eligibility requirements changed to prevent those deemed ‘high-earners’ from receiving the support.
Research from Banknote.com has investigated how people are planning to use this round of direct payments, and found that many are looking to save the money. But for those who do not have the luxury of saving that federal support will have to go on essentials like rent and mortgage payments. Here's what we now so far about spending intentions for the $1,400 stimulus checks.
How much impact have the stimulus checks had on the US economy?
Economists are optimistic about the role that stimulus check payments could have in the American economic recovery as President Joe Biden opted to pursue a more agressive agenda than previously thought. The $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, with $1,400 direct payments, was foloowed by a proposed $2.2 trillion infrastructure bill, designed to overhaul the US economy.
Mark Hamrick, an economic analyst with Bankrate.com, said: “I think we have a lot of reasons to smile right now with respect to what’s happening in the U.S. economy.” He adds, “We have the impacts of all the federal stimulus or relief payments, so there’s money to spend right now.”
The distribution of each round of stimulus check payments has been an enormous undertaking for the IRS, but none more so that the recent $1,400 direct payments. The tax authority is in the middle of a busy filing season and is also tasked with introducing the new Child Tax Credit system.
Despite the IRS having sent millions of stimulus checks out the door, some are still waiting to receive their payments. Here’s what we know so far about the ongoing distribution of the direct payments and how many the IRS has managed to send out in the last month.
Stimulus checks have meaningful effect on poverty in the US
The passing of the new stimulus bill last month was a hugely contentious issue in Congress, despite there being strong bipartisan support for the American Rescue Plan across the country. Not a single Republican lawmaker voted for the proposal, but a new report from progressive thinktank Economic Security Project suggests the benefits have been clear.
The report reads: "Evidence from the last year shows stimulus checks to be the fastest and most impactful investments helping Americans get through this crisis, lifting more people out of poverty than any other single policy."
Child Tax Credit hoped to halve the number of children in poverty in the US
A leading Democrat in the Senate has called for the new-look Child Tax Credit provision to be extended indefinitely, building on the 12-month expansion that was introduced by the American Rescue Plan. The multi-billion dollar programme will reportedly halve childhood poverty in the United States, an increasingly large probelm as families struggle to make ends meet during the pandemic.
Sen. Cory Brooker is one of many Democrats who have publically called for the new programme to be made permanent.
Recipients of Veterans Affairs benefits should have began to receive their $1,400 stimulus checks from 14 April, but some may have issues with getting the payments. Once the IRS has made the payment, they will wait around 15 days and then send a physical letter (also known as a Notice 1444) to your home address, confirming that you received the payment.
The letter will also provide details for how to get in touch if your stimulus check payment still has not arrived by then, suggesting that something has gone wrong with the distribution. If that is the case you may need to request a trace and claim on your direct payment to ensure that you get your entitlement.
IRS confirms they are sticking with July target for Child Tax Credit
One of the key inclusions in the American Rescue Plan was a significant change to the Child Tax Credit provision, which would see the federal support distribution in the form of a monthly payment, rather than a one-off tax rebate.
The White House has high hopes for the new programme, which would see $300 sent to children under the age of six and $250 for those aged between six and 17, every month. Despite concern that the ongoing stimulsu check distibution may delay the introduction of the new system IRS chief Charler Rettig has confirmed that they are sticking to the 1 July target.
Stimulus checks contribute to economic recovery
Advocacy group Humanity Forward has shared a report which links the ongoing distribution of the third stimulus check to the United States' burgeoning economic recovery. Over $372 billion of federal support has been sent out in little over a month, with the Federal Reserve's own stusy concluding that it helped spur a 9.8% rise in consumer spending, year-on-year.
How many people have received their third stimulus checks?
The IRS has been working to distribute the $1,400 direct payments since the American Rescue Plan was signed last month, with close to $400 billion sent out.
Less than a month to file tax return
May 17 is the new deadline for tax filers to return their documentation after the IRS extended the deadline.
"This continues to be a tough time for many people, and the IRS wants to continue to do everything possible to help taxpayers navigate the unusual circumstances related to the pandemic, while also working on important tax administration responsibilities," said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig.
First California Golden State $600 stimulus checks going out
The first wave of Golden Gate stimulus checks started going out on 15 April, The $600 payments are in addition to the $1,400 stimulus checks which most Americans will receive from President Biden's Covid Relief bill. Golden Gate payments will be going out twice a month to Californians who have filed their 2020 tax returns. Those who filed early, between 1 January and 1 March should receive their stimulus payment starting from 15 April. If you filed your taxes after 2 March, it could take up to 45 days to hit your bank account or 60 days if it is sent as a paper check through the post.
Enhanced Child Tax Credit is on the way
Around 69 million American households will benefit from the enhanced Child Tax Credit program which promises payments of up to $300 per child for parents. IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig expects that the system to send out monthly payments will be in place and operational by 1 July although he admitted that the agency faces a challenge to get the money out on time. “We have to create an entirely new structure for the Internal Revenue Service. We are not historically a benefits delivery federal agency. It’s a challenge to do it by 1 July,” he explained.
Rettig added that the IRS will be setting up an online portal for Child Tax Credit claims by the start of July. Children under the age of six will be eligible for up to $3,600 while all other children can get up to $3,000 this year.
Child Tax Credit will provide support for three million families
Rep Joe Morelle has outlined some of the benefits of the new-look Child Tax Credit (CTC) programme, which the White House claim will help halve the number of children living in poverty over the next year. The new system is set to introduced from the start of July 2021.
The New York Congressman voted in favour of the American Rescue Plan and has also pledged his support to the new infrastructure package proposed by President BIden recently. Morelle is optimistic about the good that the internet investments could do in his constituency: "13% of New York households do not have internet subscriptions and over 30% of New Yorkers live in areas with only one internet provider."
Fourth stimulus check "is unlikely to happen"
Ed Mills an analyst at Raymond James told CNBC that he thinks it is unlikely there will be a fourth round of stimulus checks this summer. Mills explained that he sees the proposed $2 Trillion infrastructure plan as the No.1 priority on President Biden's agenda. Along with that, as the Covid-19 vaccination rollout continues, restrictions will be loosened allowing the the economy to get back on track.
Small businesses struggling to fill job vacancies
Earlier this month, the National Federation of Independent Business reported that a record number of small businesses surveyed said they had jobs they couldn’t fill in March: 42%, compared to an average of 22% since 1974; 91% of respondents said they had few or no qualified applicants for job openings in the past three months, tied for the third highest since that question was added to the NFIB survey in 1993.
The IRS has pushed back the federal tax filing deadline to 17 May. Has your state? Here’s an overview for the 2021 state income tax landscape.
US economy is "turning the corner"
Stimulus aid from the American Rescue Plan has helped to boost the US economy which saw a surge in retail spending in April. David Lazarus told KTLA, "This past week was a real milestone, as I think we might have actually turned a corner economically, as we come out of the pandemic. Jobless claims last wee, 569,000 total - that's a lot but it's the lowest figure we have seen since the Coronavirus crisis began".
Stimulus check advice from Sen. Jon Ossoff
The IRS is still in the process of distributing the third stimulus check payments that were included in the American Rescue Plan. President Biden was only able to pass such an ambitious package because of the Democrats' victories in the Georgia Senate runoff elections, one of which was won by Jon Ossoff.
Here, Sen. Ossoff talks to the White House's Bharat Ramamurti about the ongoing effort to get the direct support out to those in need, with some things to look out for if you're still waiting for your sitmulus payment.
When millions of US workers lost their jobs due to the covid-19 pandemic, many learned the truth about the country’s broken unemployment insurance system.
Calls for recurring stimulus checks as 40% face income cuts
The recent studies suggest that around two-thirds of the money distributed by the federal government in the form of stimulus checks is being spent on essentials like rent, utilities payments and food. This comes as analysts warn that nearly half of American households have had their income hit by the pandemic.
“More than 40% of households are earning less now than they were prior to the pandemic,” said Greg McBride, chief financial analyst at Bankrate. “And while that's highest among lower income households, higher income households have not been immune from that.”
Dept. of Commerce confirms stimulus check spending boost
A recent report released by the Department of Commerce has noted a considerable rise in retail spending compared to last year. March 2021 saw an increase of 9.8% in comparison to March 2020, suggesting that the stimulus checks are having their intended impact.
This will be good news for businesses and the US prepares to reopen in the coming months after a year of varying lockdown restrictions. It may also strengthen calls for a fourth stimulus check, to further boost the pandemic-hit economy.
Do stimulus checks count as taxable income?
After a range of new forms of federal relief were introduce to help deal with the pandemic, it can be difficult to keep track of them all. With the tax return deadline for 2021 now just a month away (17 May), how should you reconcile stimulus checks on your tax filing?
The good news is that stimulus checks do not count as taxable income, so you will not have to declare them on your returns. Furthermore, if you can show that you have suffered a loss of income since last year's filing you may be in line to receive an additional stimulus check, worth up to $3,200 in the form of a 'plus-up' payment.
The IRS has been working to distribute the $1,400 direct payments since the American Rescue Plan was signed last month, with close to $400 billion sent out.
Last month California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced details of a new stimulus bill, which will provide a one-off $600 direct payment to low-income residents.
A fourth or fifth stimulus check would lift millions out of poverty
As many as 12 million Americans would step over the poverty line if a fourth or fifth stimulus check were to be approved by the Senate, according to a report by the Economic Security Project. Around 16 million Americans have been lifted out of poverty thanks to the three round of federal aid and an additional 12 million would also benefit from further rounds of relief.
“Evidence from the last year shows stimulus checks to be the fastest and most impactful investments helping Americans get through this crisis, lifting more people out of poverty than any other single policy,” say the Economic Security Project who add that future relief must focus on low- and middle-income households.
The IRS have confirmed that Veterans Affairs stimulus payments have been processed but some eligible recipients are reporting that the money has not arrived.
How much money has been sent out in stimulus checks during the pandemic?
Throughout the pandemic the US government has issued trillions of dollars worth of federal support to help stimulate the economy and provide a vital lifeline to individual Americans. Central to that effort is the stimulus checks, the direct payments issued to those who earn below a certain threshold.
Humanity Forward, a nonprofit organization that advocates for a universal basic income, breaks down the total amount dispersed by the IRS in the last 13 months. The recent third stimulus check was the most generous to date, with payments worth up to $1,400 per person.
Production and supply will slow US economic recovery
Production and shipping bottlenecks have cropped up around the world as a direct result of the pandemic, Politico reports - and that could have a knock-on effect in retail sales just as the US economy seems to be picking up. People have been saving and are now ready to spend, the problem is what to spend their money on. A Federal Reserve survey has show that delivery times are more delayed than at any time since 1951.
Stimulus checks boost household savings
New research from Bloomberg shows what an impact the three rounds of stimulus checks in the last 13 months have had on American households. Eligible Americans will have received up to $3,200 in direct payments over the course of the pandemic, and many have decided to save at least part of that money to stave off financial insecurity.
Another factor in the decision to save may have been the lack of options for much of the last year, with shops, bars, restaurants and holiday destinations all suffering from restrictions to stem the spread of covid-19. As the country begins to return to some semblance of normality, some may decide to loosen the purse strings.
Hello and welcome: US stimulus checks
Hello and welcome to our live daily coverage of all the latest news and information on the US stimulus checks on Sunday 18 April 2021.