Fourth stimulus check news summary: 19 April 2021

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Fourth stimulus check live updates: child tax credit date, plus up payments in third check, how to claim

US news stimulus check summary: 19 April 2021

Headlines:

- 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: 31.74 million cases / 567,694 deaths (live updates from JHU)

Scroll through our related articles:

CORONAVIRUS STIMULUS CHECKS

Fourth stimulus check: what has Biden said and proposed?

The effects of the $1,400 stimulus checks are beginning to be felt in the US economy as vaccination rates climb giving the American public more security to venture out of their homes. However, the road ahead for many struggling households is still long according to lawmakers urging the White House to continue direct stimulus payments until the pandemic emergency is over.

President Joe Biden meanwhile is rolling out the second part of his three-part Build Back Better plan. In his second legislative push he wants to invest over $2 trillion in infrastructure for the future. His Democratic colleagues in Congress are urging him to include recurring stimulus payments in his plan “to support Americans who are still struggling during the pandemic.”

Read more

Could student loan forgiveness be in the cards 

CNBC - The odds of student debt forgiveness becoming a reality have never been greater. President Joe Biden said on the campaign trail that he’s in support of cancelling $10,000 per borrower, and now he’s asked his education secretary to prepare a report on his legal authority to wipe out as much as $50,000 for all. 

Yet even among those in support of cancelling education debt, there are disagreements, particularly over how big the relief should be and who should get it. For example, some have floated the idea of forgiving the loans of essential workers or only low-income Americans. 

Higher education expert Mark Kantrowitz recently put a report together, comparing some of these different forgiveness plans and their potential impacts. 

Read the full story at CNBC 

TAX SEASON 2021

IRS tax refunds on $10,200 in unemployment benefits: when it's coming?

The IRS has sent out almost 68 million refunds already this year. However if you received unemployment compensation in 2020, you may have to wait for your refund. The American Rescue Plan was enacted in March, after the 2021 tax season had already gotten underway. This gave the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) multiple new tasks to handle in addition to processing 2020 tax returns. 

Those that received unemployment benefits during 2020 were given a tax break on up to $10,200 of jobless aid claimed over the year which the IRS will have to retroactively apply to 2020 tax returns already received. 

Read to find out when the IRS plans to send refunds for tax payers receiving the $10,200 tax break on jobless aid.

UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS

Overpayment of unemployment benefits: should I give it back?

The covid-19 pandemic brought the US economy to a grinding halt in the spring of 2020, throwing millions of Americans in to unemployment.  Roughly 40 million people received unemployment benefits in 2020, according to a Century Foundation report. The federal government stepped in to provide a backstop to state jobless aid. 

However in the confusion of the pandemic some received more benefits than they were due and may now need to pay that money back.

Read to find out why you may need to pay back overpayment of unemployment benefits and what you can do about it.

Restaurants providing stimulus to get workers back 

Many restaurant owners are boosting wages, reexamining benefits packages and focusing on workplace culture in an effort to draw and retain talent — fearing the labor pool will shrink even further when restaurants are expected to resume full indoor capacity in June. It’s not just a Bay Area problem, either. Restaurants nationwide are struggling to staff up at the same time. 

For more on how restauranteurs are trying to reopen, read the full story at The San Francisco Chronicle.

TAX SEASON 2021

When is Tax Day 2021 and how can you avoid penalties?

As is to be expected, there have been some changes to this year’s Tax Day - the deadline for Americans to get their tax affairs in order with the IRS. The tax authority has extended the deadline by a month to allow more time to get things sorted, but the threat of financial penalties still looms if you miss it.

How to avoid fines on Tax Day 2021

CORONAVIRUS STIMULUS CHECKS

Can veterans receive a third stimulus check if they get VA payments?

The IRS announced last week that 320,000 payments were sent to recipients of Veterans Affairs (VA) benefits who don’t normally file a tax return. This came a week after Social Security beneficiaries in the same situation began to see their stimulus checks.

Any veteran who received VA benefits in 2020 and their dependents are eligible for a third stimulus check. Normally no action is needed for these recipients to get their Economic Impact Payment, except in the case they added a new dependent that they are able to claim.

Full story

Biden

White House brief on infrastructure stimulus bipartisan meeting

Today, President Joe Biden hosted Members of Congress and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg in the Oval Office to discuss the need for the historic investments laid out in the American Jobs Plan. A bipartisan, bicameral group of Members of Congress—all former governors and mayors—participated in the meeting. These Members have a unique understanding of the impact of and need for federal investment in rebuilding our nation’s infrastructure from their time as state and local executives.

The President and Secretary Buttigieg shared their vision in the American Jobs Plan to create millions of good jobs, rebuild our country’s infrastructure, and position the United States to out-compete China. The Members of Congress engaged in a productive exchange of ideas, including components of the plan and how to pay for them. President Biden asked for their feedback and follow-up on proposals discussed in the meeting, while underscoring that inaction is not an option.

This is the latest in a series of meetings led by the Biden-Harris Administration to engage Members of Congress and key stakeholders on the American Jobs Plan.

As per the White House

Photo by Brendan Smialowski/AFP

Stimulus Google Trends

Stimulus check queries on Google Trends

Here's what people across the US are searching for related to the query 'stimulus checks', with a jump in searches for the American Rescue plan over the past four hours. That's the legislation that brought in the latest round of stimulus checks. Also heavily searched for right now is the California stimulus plan

If you're looking to find out when you'll receive a California stimulus check, this is relevant page from  the State of California Franchise Tax board. They are scheduling and issuing payments twice a month after eligible tax returns are filed and processed, with times of up to 45 days for direct deposits and 60 days for paper checks.

Fourth stimulus check would lift millions out of poverty

According to a report from Elaine Maag and Kevin Werner at the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center a fourth stimulus check would lift 6.6 million people out of poverty in 2021, in addition to the those helped by other measures being taken by the Biden administration.

There seems to be no shortage of ammunition for the politicians backing a fourth stimulus check (or even recurring checks) but it also appears clear Biden’s main focus right now is his infrastructure plan. Though if he gets traction with that, he might be tempted to look at a fourth stimulus check. 

Fifth batch of stimulus checks sent out last week

In case you missed it, and you’re still waiting on your third stimulus check, the IRS did announce last week that it had sent out the fifth batch of Economic Impact Payments, with a total of more than two million payments being made. Processing for those payments actually started way back on April 9, with the official payment date being April 14 - that was last Wednesday.

1.2 million payments were made by direct deposit, so you should have seen that hit your bank if it was coming to you, while 800,000 were paper checks, so that could be arriving any time soon.

The IRS are going to continue to make a weekly round of payments, we’ll update you as soon as we know when this week’s payment is going out.

Biden meeting lawmakers to discuss next stimulus bill 

“I am prepared to compromise, prepared to see what we can do, what we get together on,” Biden told members of the press before Monday’s meeting. He will talk to lawmakers both about what should go into the plan and how to pay for it. 

This is the second infrastructure meeting the President has held with Democratic and Republican members of Congress. GOP lawmakers have signaled they could support an infrastructure bill but will push to shrink the president’s more than $2 trillion plan. The parties have disparate visions of what qualifies as infrastructure, Republicans would like a bill based around transportation, broadband and water systems. 

CORONAVIRUS STIMULUS CHECKS

Third stimulus check: who could have to return the money and why?

There are some people that, believe it or not, want to return their $1,400 stimulus checks. Some people that have received the extra money are trying to return it to the Internal Revenue Service, out of guilt because they don’t need the money or 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. 

Find out why you might need to return your $1,400 and how to do it. 

Kamala Harris takes point on White House next stimulus bill 

"Help is here and hope is here -- and things are looking up. Schools are reopening. Businesses are reopening. Grandparents are seeing their grandchildren in person. We are delivering real, real relief," Vice President Kamala Harris told an audience in North Carolina. 

Harris discussed the administration's $2-plus trillion infrastructure package and currently President Joe Biden’s top legislative priority. She called the plan "a once in a lifetime, once in a generation investment in America's infrastructure -- in America's future. It is what the American people deserve." Adding "is not just about fixing what has been. It is about building what can be." 

Read more here

Stimulus showing its effects in the economic recovery 

NYT - First-quarter earnings season picks up steam this week, with analysts expecting that profits for S&P 500 companies rose roughly 27 percent in the three months through March, compared with a year earlier when the pandemic sent corporate earnings into a tailspin. 

Companies such as United Airlines, Netflix, AT&T and American Express all slated to issue results this week, offering a relatively well-rounded look at the state of corporate America in the early days of what could be a powerful year for the US economy. It might also help set expectations for the stock market, after a big rally already this year. 

Read more from Matt Phillips about what market analysts see coming down the road.

How to take advantage to the stimulus induced upswing 

CNBC - As more people get covid-19 vaccinations and the U.S. reopens, people may be wondering what they should do to get on track with their money during an economic recovery. 

There are signs that the economy is about to take off. Businesses across the US are reopening as states loosen virus-related restrictions, and employers are hiring again. 

Still, many households are still dealing with the impact of the pandemic and will be for many years, even as the economy recovers. And, even those who weren’t hit as hard by covid-19 may need to reassess their finances, as lockdowns have shifted priorities and spending habits. 

Check out what experts recommend people focus on as the economy reopens and recovers.

Everyone 16 and older in America is eligible for the shot today. Go and get ‘em, folks.

Joe Biden, US President

CORONAVIRUS STIMULUS CHECK

$600 Golden State Stimulus check: when are they being sent?

In February, the California state legislature passed a relief package known as the Golden State Stimulus bill, which aimed to provide short-term financial support for residents and businesses that were struggling with the pandemic’s consequences.

The bill was signed into law by Gov. Gavin Newsom, who told reporters: “As we continue to fight the pandemic and recover, I’m grateful for the Legislature’s partnership to provide urgent relief and support for California families and small businesses where it’s needed most.”

One of the key elements of the $7.6 billion relief package was a round of $600 stimulus checks for low-income Californians. It took a while for the state to get the direct payments processed, but they should finally be on their way.

Read more

Why can’t stimulus checks arrive faster? 

WSJ - In April 2020, the Treasury Department made the first pandemic-related stimulus payments within weeks of the bill being signed into law, instead of months, like similar payments in 2008. By the third round of payments in March 2021, the first wave of money landed in bank accounts within a week of the bill becoming law. 

There is an obvious next question: Why can’t it be even faster? 

Across the board, money is moving from bank account to bank account more rapidly. 

Today, the electronic banking system relies in part on two main networks that allow payments to move from one financial institution to another. 

Full story

Who’s getting “plus-up” stimulus payments? 

Many Americans who suffered a loss of income over the last 12 months could be eligible to receive a larger stimulus check than first thought. If your family grew with a new addition, this time even adult dependents are eligible for the $1,400 stimulus check. The IRS will only be able to judge this after the individual’s tax return has been processed, and the tax return deadline is not until 17 May. 

The ‘plus-up’ payments will continue on a weekly basis, according to the IRS, as they battle to process tax returns for both 2020 and 2019. 

More $1,400 stimulus checks could bring 12 million out of poverty 

More calls are coming for a potential fourth stimulus check, with an economic nonprofit now adding its voice to the melee—and even going as far to indicate that it would be beneficial to also have a fifth check heading to American bank accounts. 

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." 

 

How much is the Child Tax Credit worth for you? 

The Child Tax Credit will begin sending eligible families monthly direct payments in July, or they can choose to receive the tax credit as a lump sum with their 2022 tax refund. The amounts that parents receive vary depending on the age of each child and the parent’s income

To help you plan for what you could expect to receive, CNET has produced a handy Child Tax Credit calculator. Check it out below.

Covid-19 stimulus bills will help put women on an equal footing 

The coronavirus pandemic exposed and amplified many gender disparities in the US economy. When the pandemic interrupted in-person child care and schooling, it was women who disproportionately reduced their work hours, left their jobs and devoted more time to additional child care and household duties.  

Scholars and activists have long recognized the role that child care — and also the care of the elderly and people with disabilities — plays in freeing women to join the workforce on a footing equal to men. Proposals in these two bills step away from the inadequate patchwork policies through which politicians have occasionally addressed these issues and embrace truly systemic solutions. 

Read more from Emily DiVito, a program manager for corporate power at the Roosevelt Institute, at The Washington Post.

Check cashing fees eat into stimulus payouts for low income recipients 

Experts say that’s a real burden on low-income people, those least likely to have a bank account, or what’s known as the “unbanked.” More and more Americans have some form of bank account, but there is still over 5 percent of the nation without one in 2019 according to the FDIC. The Brookings Institution estimates 3 million paper checks from the first stimulus last year went through check cashers who charged a total of 66 million dollars in fees. 

The top reasons given for not having a bank account include not having enough money to meet minimum balance requirements, not trusting banks, and high or unpredictable fees. 

With the enhanced Child Tax Credit set to send payments to eligible parents for each child starting in July many low income families who the measure would help the most will see the real value of the measure reduced should they receive the payments as paper checks.

Who’s still missing $1,400 stimulus checks 

About 159 million stimulus payments have been sent since Congress authorized a third round of stimulus checks in March. Those payments total more than $376 billion. Every eligible adult, child and adult dependent could receive a payment for up to $1,400.

As the IRS processes 2020 tax returns additional “plus-up” payments are topping up the original third stimulus checks that have already gone out. But there are still millions who haven’t received their original $1,400 payment. 

Find out who's missing their third stimulus check.

Monthly stimulus checks coming in July 

Many families in the United States are awaiting their child tax credit, one of the most significant components of the American Rescue Plan passed by Congress in March. Payments for this new tax credit should begin to reach eligible families in July 2021.

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 $3000 for children over the age of six and $3,600 for those six or younger. 

CORONAVIRUS STIMULUS CHECK

Third stimulus check for veterans: how to track and claim a missing payment

The IRS has confirmed that no one who receives VA support will have to provide any additional details to trigger the payment, provided that they file income taxes with the tax authority. If not, they will need to file a tax return to ensure that the IRS has the relevant details to make the payment. 

However not all who are eligible have yet received their stimulus check; here’s how to check the status of your payment and report if it is missing.

CORONAVIRUS STIMULUS CHECK

$600 Golden State Stimulus check: can I get it if I also received the third stimulus check?

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? 

Read more 

If you get a double $1,400 stimulus payment, one needs to be returned 

There are some people that, believe it or not, want to return their $1,400 stimulus checks. Some people that have received the extra money are trying to return it to the Internal Revenue Service, out of guilt because they don’t need the money or 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. 

Find out why you might need to return your $1,400 and how to do it. 

Americans spending $1,400 stimulus checks prepping to get out again 

Retail sales increased by 9.8% in March as stimulus payments started to hit bank accounts, according to the Department of Commerce. Sporting goods store saw a significant increase in March, jumping 23.5% as consumers stocked up on outdoor and exercise gear. Clothing stores also saw a sharp increase of 18.3% as shoppers focused on overhauling their wardrobe – a sign that they may be ready to leave their homes again. 

Find out some of the most popular items that consumers purchased with their $1,400 stimulus checks at International Business Times.

IRS will mail you regarding tax refund, stimulus checks, and more...

The IRS mails letters or notices to taxpayers for a variety of reasons but will never contact taxpayers via social media or text messages. Currently, the agency is sending out weekly "plus-up" payments to the third stimulus checks as the agency processes 2020 tax returns.

The tax agency recommends not ignoring any mail from the IRS, but to read it and respond in a timely fashion as you may need to take action regarding your tax refund. Check below for other dodo's and don'ts

CORONAVIRUS STIMULUS CHECK

Is it possible to use the money from the stimulus check to pay the rent or the mortgage?

In a new report published by Bankrate.com earlier this month found that 67% of respondents were planning to “put their stimulus checks towards their near-term financial situation”.

They report that while some are planning to splash the cash on non-essential purchases (13%), many more will looking to pay off outstanding debts (32%).

Will Gittens looks at how stimulus checks are being used.

$100 million stimulus funding for FWCS

Four public school districts in Allen County will split more than $130-million in federal stimulus dollars from the American Rescue Plan Act.

The Indiana Department of Education today announced the estimated funds that public school districts across the state will receive, with the total amount standing at nearly $1.8-billion. Locally, Fort Wayne Community Schools will receive the biggest amount, at $100.8-Million, with East Allen County Schools getting nearly $22.9-million.

Southwest and Northwest Allen County Schools will both get more than $3-million each. Another $78-million will be allocated for Indiana’s private schools, with exact award numbers coming later this spring.

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Stimulus and vaccine impact on markets

US stock futures pointed to a lower open for Wall Street, after the S&P 500 and the Dow closed at record highs in the previous session. Matthias Scheiber, global head of portfolio management at Wells Fargo Asset Management cited low interest rates, the rollout of covid-19 vaccines and the fiscal stimulus package in the United States as reasons for his bullish stance on equities.

"Risk is coming down, volatility is coming down… we see the slow reopening of global economies, the rollout of the vaccine and the huge catch-up in demand so from that perspective it should be positive for economic growth."

"We had a strong rally in cyclical and value stocks since the start of this year - we would like to see confirmation in the earnings."

The hiring challenge post-stimulus payments

US employers might have trouble hiring workers fast enough in coming months to keep up with the projected burst of economic growth.

Consumer spending at restaurants, hotels and salons is already starting to take off as the grip of the covid-19 pandemic eases and more people get vaccinated and draw on their stimulus checks and savings.

But many economists expect economic activity to pick up faster than payrolls, at least initially, for several reasons, causing bottlenecks and wage pressures. This happened last year for many manufacturers that experienced labor shortages as Americans working from home ordered more furniture, exercise equipment and other goods than before the pandemic.

This year, it is likely to be the case particularly for providers of services requiring proximity to people, since they saw the biggest drops in business and employment during the pandemic and are poised to see the biggest rebound in demand this year.

An analysis on the worker challenge by Sarah Chaney Cambon.

Can Biden's stimulus bill impact on midterms?

Judging by his unusually large budget stimulus package so early in his Administration, it would seem that Joe Biden does not subscribe to Bill Clinton’s view that when it came to elections 'it was the economy, stupid'. While to be sure Biden’s budget stimulus promises to deliver this year the US economy’s best growth performance in the past fifty years. It also risks being followed by a nasty economic hangover in the run-up to next year’s November midterm congressional elections.

It would be a gross understatement to say that Biden can ill-afford any setback in next year’s midterm elections. With a slight Democratic majority in the House and an evenly split Senate, the most minor of electoral setbacks next year could render Biden a lame-duck president in the remainder of his four-year term.

It could do so in much the same way as Barak Obama’s shellacking in the 2010 midterm elections rendered him a lame duck in the remainder of his presidency.

Desmond Lachman has a look at the potential knock-on effect.

Biden's stimulus and climate change challenge

When President Joe Biden convenes a virtual climate summit on Thursday, he faces a vexing task: how to put forward a nonbinding but symbolic goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that will have a tangible impact on climate change efforts not only in the US but throughout the world.

The emissions target, eagerly awaited by all sides of the climate debate, will signal how aggressively Biden wants to move on climate change, a divisive and expensive issue that has riled Republicans to complain about job-killing government overreach even as some on the left worry Biden has not gone far enough to address a profound threat to the planet.

Receiving stimulus check, missing out on vaccines

More than five million Americans residing outside the United States face a similar predicament, watching the country’s successful inoculation drive, some from places where vaccination has scarcely begun.

With all stateside American adults due to be eligible to receive a vaccine as early as this week, some expats have already opted to travel home for the jab. Others are calling on the government to direct some of the hundreds of millions of doses it’s projected to have left over to its overseas citizens, wherever they happen to live.

President Joe Biden has repeatedly stated that the US will share its excess supply only after the needs of Americans are met. Why, some overseas Americans are wondering, should they be left out?

Full story from Yasmeen Serhan.

IRS

Less than a month remains to file taxes

The deadline for filing 2020 tax year documentation was extended from April 15, 2021, to May 17, 2021.

"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.

CORONAVIRUS STIMULUS CHECKS

Fourth stimulus check: why could it be unlikely?

Although the stimulus checks have gone a long way toward relieving the financial stress of households, in a survey by Bankrate 61 percent of respondents said that the $1,400 stimulus check would not last them 3 months, a third said less than a month. 

This was pointed out in a letter to President Joe Biden from 21 Senate Democrats in their case to send recurring stimulus checks to American households until the end of the economic crisis. But is there any chance that Biden will choose to dedicate precious Senate time to pursuing another stimulus check, while he has other priorities in sight?

Read more

What are the maximum unemployment benefits per state?

Each month, millions of workers in the United States pay into state-run unemployment systems in the case that one day they need to claim those benefits.

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. 

Roughly 40 million people received unemployment benefits in 2020, according to a Century Foundation report.  

Read here to find out what the maximum unemployment benefits around the US.

Child tax credit

"I worried that my son and I would go hungry. The child tax credit is a financial lifeline."

The expanded child tax credit means parents will start receiving monthly checks on July 1.

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."

Who is eligible for the Golden State Stimulus direct payments?

As a supplementary direct payment for low-income residents, the Golden State Stimulus checks have considerably tighter eligibility requirements than the federal payments.

California Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon said that the support would be aimed at addressing “the human and the economic impacts of covid-19 in a way that echoes President Biden’s American Rescue Plan and will help those who are hurting most.”

Read more

CORONAVIRUS STIMULUS CHECK

$600 Golden State Stimulus check: when are they being sent?

In February, the California state legislature passed a relief package known as the Golden State Stimulus bill, which aimed to provide short-term financial support for residents and businesses that were struggling with the pandemic’s consequences.

The bill was signed into law by Gov. Gavin Newsom, who told reporters: “As we continue to fight the pandemic and recover, I’m grateful for the Legislature’s partnership to provide urgent relief and support for California families and small businesses where it’s needed most.”

One of the key elements of the $7.6 billion relief package was a round of $600 stimulus checks for low-income Californians. It took a while for the state to get the direct payments processed, but they should finally be on their way.

Read more

Homeless people can get Economic Impact Payments; permanent address not required

The IRS has sent out a reminder to people who don't have a permanent address or a bank account that they may still qualify for Economic Impact Payments and other tax benefits.

The IRS cannot issue a stimulus payment to eligible Americans when information about them isn't available in the tax agency's database. The IRS needs information from people who don't usually file a tax return – even if they did not have any income last year or their income was not large enough to require them to file.

The only way for the agency to have that information is for people to file a basic 2020 tax return with the IRS. Once that return is processed, the IRS can quickly send stimulus payments to an address selected by the eligible individual. People do not need a permanent address or a bank account. They don't need to have a job. For eligible individuals, the IRS will still issue the payment even if they haven't filed a tax return in years.

For example, someone experiencing homelessness may list the address of a friend, relative or trusted service provider, such as a shelter, drop-in day center or transitional housing program, on the return filed with the IRS. If they are unable to choose direct deposit, a check or debit card for the tax refund and the third Economic Impact Payment can then be mailed to this address.

Continued calls for new Child Tax Credit to be made permanent

The new Child Tax Credit (CTC) expansion is one of the key inclusions in the American Rescue Plan that was passed last month. The White House hope that the new monthly payments will cut childhood poverty in the US in half over the next year but there are currently no plans to extend it beyond those 12 months. 

However a group of Democratic lawmakers, most notably Sens. Michael Bennet, Sherrod Brown and Cory Brooker, have called for Biden to make the federal support permanent. The new system provides a monthly payment worth up to $300 per child for American families. 

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. 

Markets enjoy stimulus check and vaccine boost

After over a year of pandemic-related uncertainty, there are signs that the US economy is beginning to grow in confidence as things return to normal. The distribution of the third stimulus check comes as states are starting to loosen coronavirus restrictions, giving recipients more chance to spend the federal support. 

In recent days the Department of Commerce announced that retail spending in March was up 9.8% compared to the same month last year, suggesting that the stimulus checks have provided fresh impetus for consumers. 

Do stimulus checks count as taxable income?

After a range of new forms of federal relief were introduced 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.

Full story

How much money has been sent out in stimulus checks?

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. 

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. 

CORONAVIRUS STIMULUS CHECKS

Can veterans receive a third stimulus check if they get VA payments?

The IRS announced last week that 320,000 payments were sent to recipients of Veterans Affairs (VA) benefits who don’t normally file a tax return. This came a week after Social Security beneficiaries in the same situation began to see their stimulus checks.

Any veteran who received VA benefits in 2020 and their dependents are eligible for a third stimulus check. Normally no action is needed for these recipients to get their Economic Impact Payment, except in the case they added a new dependent that they are able to claim.

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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.”

CORONAVIRUS STIMULUS CHECK

$600 Golden State Stimulus check: can I get it if I also received the third stimulus check?

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?

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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."

CORONAVIRUS STIMULUS CHECKS

Fourth stimulus check: how are negotiations going and when will it be discussed in the Senate?

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?

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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."

CORONAVIRUS STIMULUS CHECK

Is it possible to use the money from the stimulus check to pay the rent or the mortgage?

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 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. 

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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 followed 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.”

CORONAVIRUS STIMULUS CHECK

How many people have received their third stimulus checks?

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.

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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."

Hello and welcome!

Hello and welcome to our live daily coverage of all the latest news on the US stimulus checks on 19 April 2021. We'll have live updates on the third stimulus check included in President Biden's $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan and news on a possible fourth direct payment.

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