Fourth stimulus check news summary: 5 May 2021

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Fourth stimulus check live updates: $2,000 monthly stimulus, Golden State payment tracker, Child Tax Credit...

US stimulus checks live updates | 5 May 2021

Headlines:

- Over 163 million stimulus checks have been sent in third round of payments, costing the federal government an estimated $384 billion. (Who is still waiting?)

- New batch of stimulus checks provides five million plus-up payments, worth an estimated $11 billion, since 1 April (read more)

- New York Gov. Cuomo will allow shops and business to reopen fully from 19 May (Full details)

- Florida lifts all covid-19 restrictions despite CDC warning community transmission remains high (read more)

- PPP program will end 31 May with funds almost completely depleted from program.

- Biden on American Families Plan promotional tour, seeks bipartisan support

- Psaki suggests fourth round of stimulus checks will be a congressional matter: "They are not free." 

- White House asks Congress to raise national minimum wage to $15 an hour

- Biden backs extension of expanded Child Tax Credit through 2025 (full details)

- Change.org petition calling for recurring stimulus checks gathers over two million signatures

- You can track your third stimulus check by using the IRS' Get My Payment tool

- US covid-19: 32.51 million cases / 578,524 deaths (live updates from JHU

Check out some of our related articles:

CORONAVIRUS STIMULUS CHECKS

$600 Golden State Stimulus Check: how long until they are paid?

The California Franchise Tax Board (CFTB) is sending out $600 direct payments to eligible citizens, but when will the Golden State Stimulus Check arrive?

 

Tax deadline day looming

Back in March, the IRS extended the federal income tax filing due date for individuals for the 2020 tax year with it  moving from 15 April 15, 2021, to 17 May, 2021.

Commenting on extension at the time, IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig claimed: "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".

CORONAVIRUS VACCINES

US supports waiving vaccine patents: what does it mean and how will it affect the pandemic?

After news broke the Biden-Harris administration supports waiving intellectual property rights for covid-19 vaccines, Moderna's stock plunged more than 10%. Johnson & Johnson also closed lower today did not see the same dip as Moderna. 

The announcement came in a press release from the Office of the United States Trade Representative.

 "This is a global health crisis, and the extraordinary circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic call for extraordinary measures.  The Administration believes strongly in intellectual property protections, but in service of ending this pandemic, supports the waiver of those protections for COVID-19 vaccines." 

Read our coverage by Will Gittins on the US support for waiving IP rights here

US News

Will a tax credit for first-time homebuyers be available in 2021?

Will a tax credit for first-time homebuyers be available in 2021?

In an effort to increase homeownership among communities that have been discriminated against when it comes to housing policy, two representatives have unveiled a tax credit for first-time homebuyers. 

What are the chances the proposal becomes law? Read our coverage here

AMERICAN RESCUE PLAN

$3000/$3600 Child Tax Credit: when will the monthly payments begin?

IRS RELEASE: New information on payments associated with the enhanced child tax credit passed under the American Rescue Plan. 

$3000/$3600 Child Tax Credit: when will the monthly payments begin?

On 5 May, the IRS restated their intention to begin sending payments related to the enhanced child tax credit this summer, posting on their website that "Advance payments of the 2021 Child Tax Credit will be made regularly from July through December to eligible taxpayers who have a main home in the United States for more than half the year." 

For more details on the tax credit, read our full coverage. 

Child Tax Credit extension could save trillions in the long-term

One of the major inclusions in the American Families Plan was a burst of extra federal funding to ensure that the new-look Child Tax Credit can be maintained through 2025. The new system with monthly payments is set to go live in July but already lawmakers have been clamouring for the short-term provision to be made permanent. 

The initiative will reportedly cut the number of children in poverty in the US in half over the course of the next year. As such, advocacy group Humanity Forward are demanding the change is made permenant, citing the enormous cost of childhood poverty to the economy. 

Applebees has "all-time highest volume months" after stimulus check boost

Restaurant chain Applebees has reportedly had two of its best months on record after 160 million Americans received stimulus checks worth up to $1,400. The third round of direct payments has been linked to a notable upturn in fortunes for various businesses in the hospitality and retail sectors, but it seems like Applebees has been particularly fortunate.

Stimulus checks spent on home improvement

For many Americans, the last 12 months have seen them spend more time within the confines of their own house than ever before. With lockdown restrictions and social distancing measure we have had to adapt to both work and play at home, so it is no surprise that some are using the third stimulus checks to improve their home space. 

A new study conducted by Harris Poll found that 58% of eligible Americans intend to spend some or all of the third stimulus check on home improvement or repairs. Of that group, around 11% are putting all of their stimulus check money toward fixing up their homes. 

CORONAVIRUS STIMULUS CHECKS

$600 Golden State Stimulus Check: how long until they are paid?

It took a bit of time for the California Franchise Tax Board (CFTB) to begin the enormous logistical process, but by April Newsom was able to confirm that the first wave of Golden State Stimulus Checks had been sent out. For the majority of recipients the arrival date for the direct payment depends on tax filing information. 

We know that the stimulus checks will be sent out in three batches, with the first of them arriving from the second half of April. But when will your California direct payment arrive, and what should you do if it does not materialise?

Read more

US News

Third stimulus check: how many Americans have received payment and how many are waiting?

How is the IRS doing in their effort to send out the third round of stimulus check payments? The distribution drive was kicked into overdrive after Biden's pledge to get 100 million stimulus checks sent out within 10 days, and this round of payments has been the swiftest to date.

The IRS has sent approximately $384 billion worth of payments through direct deposit, paper checks, and pre-paid visa debit cards in six batches of payments. Over half of the payments were sent in the first batch which included more than 90 million checks. But with the majority of recipients now covered, how many more will the IRS make before stopping?

Read more

How to claim a missing stimulus check payment

While discussion continue about the possibility of a fourth stimulus check, some are wondering what to do about outstanding direct payments that they have still not received. The IRS has distributed over 163 million payments for the third stimulus checks alone, but giventhe size of the scale it is inevitable that some will fall through the cracks. 

If you're still waiting for yours to arrive, here's everything you need to know about the IRS' process and the likelihood of a 'plus-up' stimulus check being on its way to you. 

Another batch of stimulus check 'plus-up' payments goes out

The IRS has continued with the weekly process of sending out another batch of 'plus-up' payments, the supplementary stimulus checks for those who have not yet received their full entitlement. The process will continue until the end of 2021 to allow for the IRS to clear the backlog of tax returns. 

The report suggests that around 600,000 of the stimulus check payments were made as direct deposits into bank accounts and so should be appearing very soon. The remainder will be sent through the mail as paper checks or prepaid debit cards.

Another strong month for retail sector after stimulus check boost

Each of the three rounds of stimulus check payments has been linked to changes in consumer behaviour, and it appears that the most recent round is continuing to support spending. A study from ISM has found that April's reading was the second highest since their survey began in 1997, second only to March's score.

“There was slowing growth in the services sector in April,” said Anthony Nieves, chairman of the survey. “However, the rate of expansion is still strong. Respondents’ comments indicate that pent-up demand is continuing.”

CORONAVIRUS STIMULUS CHECKS

Will the fourth stimulus check be approved? Can it still happen in May?

Last month President Biden unveiled the American Jobs Plan, and followed that up with details of the American Families Plan at his first address to a joint session of Congress last week. But despite more than $4 trillion of spending being included in the packages, there was no mention of a fourth stimulus check. 

However there have been growing calls, both in Congress and across the country, for recurring direct payments to be included in the next stimulus bill to be brought before Congress. Both a national petition and a letter signed by Democratic lawmakers are pushing for fourth stimulus checks, but how will Biden respond?

Read more

Make sure you get your full stimulus check entitlement with IRS tax filing

The IRS has sent out close to 165 million stimulus check payments as part of the third round of direct payments. But despite that vast amount there are still many who have not yet received the full amount. For many who suffered a loss of income or another change in circumstance since their 2020 filing, your tax return will provide an update to the tax authorities. 

The IRS are sending out millions of 'plus-up' stimulus check payments every week and will continue to do so for the remainder of 2021. 

Growing calls for additional stimulus checks

The Mayor of the city of Saint Louis has proposed to use an additional $50 million of state money to cover the cost of more direct payments for residents. The state's Stimulus Advisory Board have recommended the spending in an attempt to provide a boost to the local economy. 

Not all of the $50 million will go to more stimulus checks, but that does appear to be one area of focus. A statement posted by Mayor Tishaura O. Jones says that they are "recommending a very quick first dispersal of roughly $50 million to meet the immediate critical needs of individuals, families, businesses and neighborhoods across the city."

CORONAVIRUS STIMULUS CHECKS

Fourth stimulus check: does the American Rescue Plan budget for another direct payment?

The Biden administration has announced details of the American Families Plan, the next step in the President's Build Back Better plan. The $1.8 trillion package will invest in child care, early education, free community college, healthcare and provide paid family leave. President Biden listed all these features while addressing a joint session of Congress last Wednesday, as well as a Child Tax Credit extension, but failed to mention a fourth stimulus check in his remarks. 

But with lawmakers calling for recurring direct payments to be included in the next stimulus package, will Biden look to pass another stimulus bill in the coming months?

Read more

Growing calls for monthly stimulus checks

A petition calling for the US government to issue recurring monthly stimulus checks for struggling Americans has reached over two million signatures. In recent weeks the White House has appeared to go cold on the possibility of a more direct payments, but this petition may weel reignite the conversation over a fourth stimulus check. 

"We need immediate checks and recurring payments so that we can keep our heads above water," says the petition. "Congress needs to make sure that we won’t be left financially ruined for doing our part to keep the country healthy."

CORONAVIRUS US

Covid-19 vaccine in the US live updates: FDA approves Pfizer for 12-15 year olds, side effects, Indian variant...

President Biden's American Rescue Plan - along with the primary objectives he's been putting forward for several months - is two-fold: get the economy and US citizens back on their feet financially AND rid the country of the dangers posed by covid-19 through mass vaccincations.

Stay up to date with all the vaccine news you need with our daily live blog.

Child Tax Credit expansion included in the American Families Plan

President Biden and First Lady Jil Biden has been out and about, pushing th benefits of the latest part of the Biden administration's Build Back Better programme. The package, which is expected to cost close to $1.8 trillion in total, is designed to support working families in particular. 

The plan does not include the much-anticipated fourth stimulus check, but will extend the new-look Child Tax Credit beyond its initial 12-month duration. 

Stimulus check boost spending in low-income households

The Minneapolis Federal Reserve has released new figures covering the length of the pandemic which suggest that the stimulus check payments have successfully boosted spending patterns amongst recipients. The most recent $1,400 direct payments, which were sent out in March and April 2021, appear to have had a particularly notable impact on low-income households.

In passing the legislation Congress insisted on lowering the income thresholds to ensure that the stimulus checks were more targeted on those low-income households. 

Stimulus checks in return for covid vaccinations

Despite the government's massive national effort to get the coronavirus vaccines out to the public as quickly as possible, recent studies suggest that the uptake may begin to slow as a considerable number of Americans are reluctant to get the shot. This would put the brakes on the US' return to normality and, as such, some are calling for stimulus check payments to be made to those who get vaccinated. 

Former congressman John Delaney is just one to have made the suggestion and some states are offering their own rewards. West Virginia is offering $100 savings bonds to those aged between 16-35 who get vaccinated. Maryland is paying fully vaccinated state employees $100 for having had the jab. 

US News

Unemployment benefits: how long will the $300 enhanced payment last?

Those receiving unemployment benefits can breathe a little easier knowing that until 6 September, they will receive $300 on top of their weekly benefit. If a recipient claims all eligible weeks of the enhanced benefit, their total income will increase by around $7,500. This additional income has been described as critical to keeping US households afloat as millions scramble to find work. 

Read the full story here

Small business stimulus program will end 31 May

The Paycheck Protection Program has distributed over $780 billion since it began last year and given out nearly 11 million forgivable loans. Now in the few weeks before the program officially closes to new applications on May 31, it is reportedly largely out of money and closed through most lenders.

The PPP, a centerpiece of Washington's response to the coronavirus pandemic, had expired and been resuscitated by lawmakers multiple times – including as recently as this March. But interviews with leaders in the Biden administration and on Capitol Hill suggest this coming deadline really is going to be the end of the line for the program.

Full story at Yahoo Finance

Biden criticized for repeating Trump stimulus check mailer 

Biden made a point of not putting his name on the $1,400 stimulus checks that were authorized by the American Rescue Plan as his predecessor had.

However, the IRS is now sending out letters to people who received a third stimulus check payment with a letter signed by President Biden, repeating an action done by Trump after the first stimulus checks were sent. A move that was criticized as politicizing the tax agency at the time. The same government watchdog group is now taking Biden to task for repeating a practice. 

“Biden would be smart to put this practice out to pasture along with a lot of the behavior from his predecessor,” said Jordan Libowitz, a spokesman for Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.

2021 TAX FILING

Biden tax plan calculator: how could your taxes and credits change?

The White House has put forth its plans to invest $4 trillion in infrastructure that will create jobs and help workers go to work. In order to pay for that the Biden administration will raise taxes on the wealthiest individuals and corporations.

The vast majority of US taxpayers though will not see their tax bill go up and many could essentially see their tax burden reduced to less than zero after tax credits and deductions. The American Rescue Plan created temporary year-long tax benefits for many Americans and if the American Families Plan gets through Congress some provisions will be extended.

Full details

US NEWS

Golden State Stimulus check: how many payments are missing?

Unlike the Internal Revenue Service, which is offering weekly updates on the number of $1,400 federal stimulus checks sent out as part of President Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan, California’s Franchise Tax Board (FTB) has so far not released specific information on how many have Golden State Stimulus payments have been made. 

However, although no precise figures have yet been announced, the Golden State Stimulus distribution timeline provided by the FTB offers some insight into which qualifying Californians are likely to have received their check. 

Full details

CORONAVIRUS STIMULUS CHECKS

What's the deadline to receive third stimulus check plus-up payments?

The IRS has now sent out around 163 million stimulus checks to eligible Americans. The seventh batch of direct stimulus payments worth over $4.3 billion included an additional 2 million payments. The latest outlay by the tax agencies went mainly to individuals who the IRS didn’t previously have information to send a $1,400 Economic Impact Payment.  

Also, included were 730,000 “plus-up” payments after the agency processed those taxpayers’ 2020 tax return and saw that those individuals had more stimulus money coming their way. The IRS has been given until the end of the year to send out payments. 

Full details 

Biden seeks to pay for spending bills with higher taxes on the wealthiest and corporations 

President Biden has presented his proposals for the American Jobs Plan and American Families Plan which together would be a $4 trillion investment. To pay for the infrastructure plan he wants to increase the corporate tax rate to 28% from 21%. The investment in American families would be financed with increased taxes on the wealthiest, those earning over $400,000 annually. 

Below, the Tax Foundation gives a breakdown of where taxes come from in the US. 

AMERICAN FAMILIES PLAN

$3,600 Child Tax Credit: how will it be affected by Biden's American Families Plan?

The expanded Child Tax Credit will provide monthly payments for millions of families and its initial one-year duration looks likely to be extended as part of the new economic package. 

When President Joe Biden gave his first address to a joint session of Congress since entering office, the speech, coming on his 100th day as President, he called for extending the expanded Child Tax Credit at least four more years.

Full details

The Child Tax Credit in numbers state by state

The IRS is working to get the new monthly direct payments to parents up and running for July. Households with children could see $250 to $300 per child per month depending on the child's age. Chuck Marr from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities breaks down by state how many children will benefit from the enhanced tax credit.

Former IRS commissioners support Biden tax plans for agency 

As former IRS commissioners, we know the challenges of administering the tax system, which has grown in size and complexity, particularly in recent years. 

President Biden’s proposal would restore our tax administration system to make it far fairer and more effective. This would benefit everyone who pays their taxes. It would produce a great deal of revenue by reducing the enormous gap between taxes legally owed and taxes actually paid — much of it through increased voluntary compliance. And it would improve taxpayers’ interactions with the IRS. 

Full opinion from ex-commissioners at The Washington Post 

US NEWS

How is $600 Golden State Stimulus check paid? Direct deposit or paper check?

How is $600 Golden State Stimulus check paid? Direct deposit or paper check? 

Depending on the information you provide in your 2020 state tax return, you will either get your Golden State Stimulus payment by direct deposit or in the mail as a paper check. 

Full details

US NEWS

Where is my Golden State Stimulus check? How to claim and track in California

Where is my Golden State Stimulus check? How to claim and track in California 

When you get your Golden State Stimulus payment depends on when you file your 2020 state tax return. 

Find out more about when you can expect your Golden State Stimulus check

Where people search for fourth stimulus check pairs with where stimulus checks have had the most impact 

Although another stimulus check looks unlikely at this stage there are still efforts to send out more coronavirus stimulus. From a petition for recurring stimulus payments at change.org with over 2 million signatures to lawmakers proposing legislation be enacted there is interest in more direct payments. Fast Company did some research and found that where stimulus payments have had the greatest impact matches where people are most keen to see another round of stimulus checks. 

Generous stimulus check donor doesn’t regret generosity despite new found financial hardship 

The story of Toi Cudworth, a resident of San Antonio, Texas illustrates just how close many Americans are from financial uncertainty due to the perennial problem of healthcare, its cost and lack of coverage. She found herself better off than many who were lining up to collect food donations down the street from her house.  

So she donated more than a month’s rent from the $1,200 stimulus check she received last spring. However, months later she was diagnosed with cancer and due to out-of-pocket costs to pay for treatment she now finds herself watching every penny.

Colorado do-gooder leaves own-style stimulus payment to waitstaff 

An individual calling themself the “COVID Bandit” has been leaving out-sized tips to waitstaff around the Denver metro area. The person’s most recent act of charity was a $4,600 tip, the third large tip that has been left at a restaurant in the Denver metro area since January. The note left with the tip asked that $200 be given to every member of the staff. 

new york

New York economy to reopen

People walk through Manhattan on 4 May in New York City.

New York City, New Jersey and Connecticut have announced that starting May 19th almost all Covid-19 related restrictions would be lifted and shops and businesses allowed to reopen. The relaxation of laws and rules follows a steep drop in the number of cases of Covid-19 as the states make rapid progress with vaccinations.

Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images/AFP

Trickle-down economics a failed US policy, say majority

A majority of Americans support measures favored by President Joe Biden to substantially redistribute US wealth, according to an Ipsos poll for Reuters, including tax hikes on the wealthy and a higher minimum wage.

The national opinion poll also found that Republican voters were divided over the "trickle-down economics" championed by their party's leaders since President Ronald Reagan some 40 years ago.

In his speech to Congress last week, Biden attacked trickle-down economics as an idea that has never worked. The poll was conducted after the speech.

The theory, which asserts that tax breaks and other benefits for corporations and the wealthy will benefit everyone else, has been fiercely debated since Reagan made it a centerpiece of his economic strategy in the 1980s.

A 2020 study by the London School of Economics of 50 years of data from 18 countries showed that the only significant effect of significant tax cuts to the rich was to increase income inequality with little benefit to unemployment or economic growth.

According to the Ipsos poll, 51% of adults agreed with the statement that "trickle-down economics have never worked in America," while 26% disagreed.

Among Republicans, four in 10 agreed that it was a failed theory, while three in 10 disagreed. Among Democrats, seven in 10 agreed that trickle-down economics never worked, while two in 10 disagreed.

Overall, 73% said they approved of Biden's economic message to Congress, according to the poll.

Stimulus decision making linked to economy

As shared by Humanity Forward, a recent poll has found that 62% of Americans would prefer to tie the stimulus payments to the US' economic health instead of allowing Congress decide when to send additional payments.

Petition for monthly stimulus checks passes two million signatures

The idea has received the backing of some senior Democratic lawmakers but given a lack of concrete backing by the White House for a fourth stimulus check the probability of a recurring $2,000 monthly payment seems unlikely to bear fruit. Still, a petition is doing the rounds and has reached over two million signatures to date.

CNN analysis explains how the Republicans could overturn the Democrat majority in the House of Representatives next year, placing the legislative agenda of the Biden administration at risk.

Read the full story here

Psaki: stimulus checks "are not free"

Prospects on a fourth stimulus check are not looking encouraging as President Biden's Press Secretary Jen Psaki tells media the checks "Are Not Free." The administration is open to hearing arguments from Congress on a fourth check but advocacy on the topic may not be coming from the White House. 

IRS issues check advice to homeless people

Individuals and families experiencing homelessness in the US may still be eligible to receive stimulus check payments if they are able to submit a tax return. The IRS has staff ready to assist these vulnerable members of our communities. Spread the word. 

Do you manage or know of an organization that could support people in filing their taxes? Check out the information provided by The Get It Back Campaign. The Get it Back Campaign "helps eligible workers claim tax credits and use free tax filing assistance to maximize tax time. A project of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, the Campaign partners with community organizations, businesses, government agencies, and financial institutions to conduct outreach nationally."

Biden's plan enjoys broad support

A new poll from Data for Progres shows sweeping support for the American Families Plan, including 64% of independent voters

US News

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis ends many of the state’s covid restrictions

In an effort to move the economic recovery of his state forward, Florida governor Ron DeSantis signed a series of bills and executive orders into law yesterday. 

The first was a bill passed by the Flordia legislature, placed a state-wide ban on vaccine passports, weakened the ability of local jurisdictions to establish lockdowns, and allocated funding to prepare for future pandemics.

Additionally, Gov. DeSantis signed two Executive Orders, which suspend all “local all local emergency orders until 1 July, 2021, at which point local orders will be permanently invalidated.”

Read the full story and response from local officials here

US News

Unemployment benefits: how long will the $300 enhanced payment last?

Those receiving unemployment benefits can breathe a little easier knowing that until 6 September, they will receive $300 on top of their weekly benefit. If a recipient claims all eligible weeks of the enhanced benefit, their total income will increase by around $7,500. This additional income has been described as critical to keeping US households afloat as millions scramble to find work.

Read the full story here

President Biden at Tide Water Community College in Virginia, speaking about the American Families Plan and how it could help more people in the US attend college. Among the initiatives in the plan is to make community college free to most families in the US

US News

What is Biden’s plan to forgive up to $10,000 in student debt?

Biden has made statements publicly supporting the cancellation of up to $10,000 in student debt through executive action… when could it happen?

Read more

Stimulus checks live updates: welcome

Hello and welcome to our daily stimulus-checks live blog, which brings you the latest news on a possible fourth direct payment, in addition to updates and information on the third round of checks currently being sent out.

We'll also provide info on the Golden State Stimulus payments being distributed in California, as well as details on other economic-aid measures in the US, such as the expanded Child Tax Credit.

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