US stimulus checks: | news summary for 6 May 2021
US stimulus checks: live updates
- IRS confirms payments for child tax credit are slated to begin this July (full story)
- IRS 2020 tax filing extended date of 17 May looming
- President Joe Biden on American Families Plan promotional tour, seeks bipartisan support
- IRS has yet to distribute around 4% of stimulus checks (full story)
- New batch of stimulus checks provides 585,000 additional plus-up payments, worth an estimated $1.2 billion
- 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)
- You can track your third stimulus check by using the IRS' Get My Payment tool
- US covid-19: 32.6 million cases / 579,410 deaths (live updates from JHU)
Check out some of our related articles:
Ten days remain ahead of tax return deadline
Despite the IRS exension confirmed in March, the deadline is looming for 2020 tax filers.
First responders in Florida are to receive a one-time bonus as a "small token of appreciation" for their efforts during the coronavirus pandemic, Governor Ron DeSantis announced on Wednesday.
While running for office, Biden promised to be a president who would look out for the little guy and he appeares keen to continue pushing that message now he is in the White House. Last Wednesday he gave his first address to a joint session of Congress and recounted examples of how the recent stimulus checks have helped working families.
But while Biden is optimistic about the good that the direct payments have done for American households, his administration appear unwilling to speak publically on the possibility of a fourth stimulus check. Here's what the President has said so far...
How much can I get from the Child Tax Credit?
The new-look Child Tax Credit is a stark change from the previous version of the policy that provided just a single tax credit to be delivered at the end of each tax year. The updated version, which is due to come into play from July this year, will see monthly payments worth up to $300 per child sent to American families.
Some have compared the programme to the recurring stimulus checks that many is Congress have been pushing for, with consistent payments to provide a safety net throughout the pandemic. Not sure how much you could be entitled to? Check out this IRS explainer...
The IRS has been racing to distribute the third stimulus checks in the midst of a busy tax season, but has managed to get the majority of payments out within a matter of weeks. The US tax authority has sent approximately $384 billion worth of payments through direct deposit, paper checks, and pre-paid visa debit cards.
The money has been sent in six batches of payments, which have varied in size and scope as time has gone on. Over half of the payments were sent in the first batch which included more than 90 million checks. The most recent batch included just over 2 million payments valued at around $3.4 billion.
Fourth stimulus check update from the White House
It seems like the White House is unwilling to really push for another round of direct payments at this stage, with President Biden looking to focus on other legislative priorities for now. His administration have not officially rejected the idea of a fourth stimulus check, but any push would have to come from Congress.
Earlier this week White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters: "We'll see what members of Congress propose, but they're not free." However we do know that there is considerable support for reucrring stimulus checks amongst Democrats in both Houses, so we cannot rule that out entirely.
How to get a free holiday out of your stimulus check
For many the third stimulus check was a vital lifeline but if you are fortunate enough to be contemplating a bit of a splurge with your direct payment, here's how to make it really work for you.
Author and speaker Jen Glatz tells Business Insider about she intends to get a free holiday (or at least the flights for one) out of her third stimulus check payment. It may not be doable for any but she seems to have a solid plan.
She writes that she intends to "use my stimulus check to pay for bills I have to pay while earning 50,000 miles in return. Each Capital One mile is worth 1 cent when you redeem toward travel purchases, so 50,000 miles is worth $500 in travel."
Minneapolis consumer spending soars after stimulus check boost
The Federal Reserve announced last month that the $1,400 stimulus checks were having the desired effect with a notable increase in spending habits, and state officials are now reporting the same. Aside from providing urgently-needed support for millions of low-income Americans, the stimulus checks are designed to help stimulate the economy.
Such positive reports will strengthen calls four a fourth stimulus check, with a group of 21 Democratic senators signing a letter to President Biden in which they ask him to consider including recurring direct payments, potentially worth up to $2,000, in the next economic bill.
The American Rescue Plan was finally signed into law in March, providing various measures to help struggling American families. Perhaps the most popular immediate boost to household income came from the $1,400 stimulus checks, of which around $386 billion worth have been distributed.
The $1.9 trillion covid-19 relief bill also includes an enhanced Child Tax Credit that will send parents monthly direct payments for each child 17 and younger they claim for tax purposes. While not as flashy or as universal as the stimulus checks, families who receive the Child Tax Credit will be in line for monthly direct payments of up to $300 per child, for at least one year.
How to plan for the Child Tax Credit payments
The new Child Tax Credit system is unlike any policy in US history with monthly payments worth up to $300 per child for American families. Some have compared the direct payments to the stimulus checks, but you could argue that these are better with recurring payments for at least the next 12 months.
Humanity Forward run through what this could mean for American families, as well as how to get the most out of your Child Tax Credit entitlement.
US economy rebounds after stimulus spending
The American Rescue Plan was the latest large-scale stimulus package aimed at restarting the American economy and it appears to have helped after some sizeable gains in March and April. The $1.9 trillion package not only provided new impetus for businesses but reignited consumer spending too.
The $1,400 stimulus checks were the largest to date and appear to have had a very positive impact on the retail and hospitality sectors. The clear boost is being used by some as evidence that a fourth stimulus check is needed to continue the momentum but, for now, Biden seems intent on focusing on other priorities.
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 which the state authorities are still processing.
The CFTB will be distributing the stimulus checks in three batches, with the first of them starting to arrive in the second half of April. The next wave will arrive later this month, but there may be quite a wait for the remaining ones...
Widespread support for Child Tax Credit expansion
The stimulus bill signed into law in March introduced a complete overhaul to the Child Tax Credit system, which will see parents receive monthly direct payments worth up to $300 per child. However this new process was initially only funded for 12 months, and was designed to offer releif to families during the pandemic.
But after calls from Democratic lawmakers to extend the provision, Biden announced that his American Families Plan would provide federal funding for the programme through 2025. This move comes with a great deal of public support behind and recent polling carried out by Data Progress found widespread support for a permanent extension.
Golden State Stimulus Check payments to 2.5 million Californians
Back in February Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that the California state legislature had passed a stimulus bill provided $7.6 billion of state funding to help residents and businesses who are struggling with the pandemic.
One of the major features of the package was a round of $600 stimulus checks for low-income residents. Although the bill was signed into law before the American Rescue Plan it took months for the California Franchise Tax Board to begin distribution, meaning that the payments will arrive as a fourth stimulus check for recipients. Newsom's office have confirmed that a total of $1.6 billion will be spent on the checks.
New Child Tax Credit programme will feel like stimulus checks
The IRS has less than two months to go if it is to hit its target of getting the new Child Tax Credit system up and running by July. The massive expansion of the programme was included in the American Rescue Plan but the distribution process will require a new online portal to be developed before the money is sent out.
The new system will see parents receive the cash in the form of a monthly direct payment, in a similar form to the stimulus checks that have proved so popular throughout the pandemic. Advocacy group Humanity Forward shares data suggesting that many recipients are unaware of the payments that will be coming their way once the new Child Tax Credit system is operational.
McConnell claims stimulus checks caused workforce shortage
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has spoken out against the most recent round of stimulus checks, which he believes have created an incentive not to work. McConnell, still the highest-ranking Republican in Congress, also told reporters:
"I think our benefit programs are so generous that people can look at what they receive for not working, and compare it to what they would get to go to work, and then think, 'Why go to work?' That needs to stop."
McConnell was a key part of the Republican resistance when Biden tried to pass the American Rescue Plan earlier this year and not a single GOP lawmaker voted for the stimulus package which contained the $1,400 third stimulus check.
Stimulus and covid-19 relief programs gave a boost to personal incomes
Of the $5.9 trillion of enacted covid-19 relief, the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget (CRFB) estimates that $3.6 trillion was committed or disbursed over the one-year period beginning last April. Of that using data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis $1.6 trillion over the course of the year directly increased personal income. However, the CRFB think come was boosted by over $2.5 trillion when the economic impact of covid-19 relief is included.
Al in all disposable income grew 10.6 percent while the average over the three prior years was just 5 percent. Without the cash injects they calculate that income would have decreased by 5 percent.
NYC mayoral candidate pitches stimulus for Broadway
New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer who is running for mayor of the Big Apple put forth a way to give a stimulus boost to the arts. He proposes buying 250,000 tickets to cultural venues and give then to essential workers and students.
Broadway has had its theatres shut since March last year and has just now begun selling tickets for shows in September.
First responders in Florida are to receive a one-time bonus as a "small token of appreciation" for their efforts during the coronavirus pandemic, Governor Ron DeSantis announced on Wednesday.
Local officials in Japanese town in hot water for use of government stimulus money
Like most other places Japan’s tourism industry has been hard hit by the covid-19 pandemic. In an effort to attract more tourists the town of Noto decided to put stimulus money from the central government into a statue of a giant squid, the town delicacy. Since then the town officials have had to answer criticisms for why the money wasn’t spent on more essential items.
Tokyo is set to host the Olympics this summer after they were postponed last year. However there won’t be any foreign tourists allowed to attend the games, so you’ll have to wait to visit Noto.
Some recipients of IRS letter about stimulus check payment feared it was a scam
After every stimulus payment the IRS sends a letter to inform the recipient about the payment, which they ask you to keep on file for your records. If there is some problem with sending you a payment, the agency will likewise issue a letter.
However with the latest round some thought that the letter was some sort of scam as it came with President Biden's signature and a web address to find out more about the American Rescue Plan that made the checks possible. It's not a scam and isn't the first time one of the letters informing about a stimulus check carried a president's signature.
After the first stimulus payments approved by the CARES Act were sent out, the IRS' mailer had former President Trump's signature, as well as his name on the checks.
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. Contrary to Trump, Biden didn't have the checks branded with his name to help expedite their being disbursed.
How to save some of your stimulus money if you travel this summer
President Joe Biden has set 4 July as the reopening date for the US, but some states are already getting a head jump on him. With fewer restrictions around the US some will be itching to get out after a long year of lockdowns. That is if you managed to squirrel away some stimulus money over the past year. The Balance gives some advice on how you can save money leveraging your credit card should you venture out and about.
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.
California’s should receive Golden State Stimulus check some time in next two months
Hundreds of thousands of Californians can expect a stimulus check from the state within the next eight weeks, if they haven’t already received one. One-time payments under the “Golden State Stimulus,” ranging from $600 to $1,200, are on the way for eligible Californians who qualify to receive the state’s Earned Income Tax Credit.
Money is also coming to people who filed taxes using an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number and earned $75,000 or less annually. Generally, undocumented residents file taxes with an ITIN.
The American Rescue Plan passed by Congress and signed into law in March allocated around $400 billion for a third stimulus check. The IRS began sending these direct payments worth $1,400 for heads of household and for each of their dependents in March. The tax agency sent out the eighth batch with 1.1 million payments on Wednesday, bringing the total amount sent to American households to $386 billion.
The Earned Income Tax Credit is a refundable tax credit that is targeted at low- and moderate-income workers. It reduces the amount of taxes a filer owes, or can even be collected as a refund. The American Rescue Plan gave the Earned Income Tax Credit for childless workers a boost for 2021 tax filings in 2022, but they need to file to claim it.
The American Rescue Plan included an enhanced weekly unemployment benefit of $300 on top of what claimants receive from the state. Those receiving unemployment benefits can breathe a little easier knowing that until 6 September, they will receive the top-up to 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.
Bipartisan trio want to use stimulus money to fight other health crisis
Prior to covid-19 the US had another major health problem, the opioid crisis. The most recent data reflect September 2019 through August 2020. During that period, there were 88,295 predicted deaths, a record high that is almost 19,000 more deaths than the prior 12-month period. Opioids accounted for over 70 percent of overdoses in 2019.
Democratic Reps. Abigail Spanberger (D-Va.) and David Trone (D-Md.), along with Republican Rep. David McKinley of West Virginia, have joined forces to ask Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen for latitude to use some of the president’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus stimulus package for addressing the opioid crisis.
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 as the tax agency processes 2020 tax returns.
If you are procrastinating until the last minute though, take a moment to consider other tax provisions that came with the American Rescue Plan that you can claim this year.
Is a fourth stimulus check possible?
Over the past year every eligible adult has received up to $3,200 and child $2,500 in direct stimulus payments. The latest round of $1,400 stimulus checks helped but for 6 out of 10 surveyed by Bankrate.com said that check wouldn’t last them 3 months.
Given that Americans are still struggling, there are calls for a fourth stimulus check. The White House press secretary Jen Psaki recently said that it would have to be up to Congress to send more stimulus. So what is happening in Congress?
The IRS has doubled down on their commitment to begin sending payments associated with the enhanced child tax credit this July. Families could begin seeing up to $300 per child in monthly payments from the enhanced child tax credit starting this summer.
PayPal profit tops estimates on digital payments boom
PayPal Holdings Inc reported its strongest first quarter on record and beat profit estimates on Wednesday, with a coronavirus-driven shift to online shopping and digital transactions boosting payment volumes.
PayPal's quarterly performance builds on an equally strong 2020 for the company, which also saw record levels of payment volumes.
San Jose, California-based PayPal processed a total of $285 billion in payments in the first quarter, up 50% from a year earlier, and added 14.5 million net new active customers.
"Our strong first-quarter results demonstrate sustained momentum in our business as the world shifts into the digital economy," Chief Executive Officer Dan Schulman said in a statement. The company has been among the big winners of the pandemic as more people used its payment services to shop online and pay bills while staying indoors during the health crisis.
96% of stimulus checks now issued via IRS
As of the end of April, the US tax authority has sent approximately 96%, or $384 billion worth of payments through direct deposit, paper checks, and pre-paid visa debit cards. The IRS has sent six batches of payments which have varied in size and scope as time has gone on. Over half of the payments were sent in the first batch which included more than 90 million checks. The most recent batch included just over 2 million payments valued at around $3.4 billion.
Petition for fourth stimulus check surpasses 2 million signatures
There is little news from the White House in terms of a new direct payment but there are growing calls, both across the country and within Congress, for Biden to consider recurring payments in future bills.
A new petition entitled ‘$2000/month to every American #moneyforthepeople #covid19’ has reached 2.1 million signatures as people put pressure on the government. The petition was authored by Stephanie Bonin, who describes her situation as that of a typical “working family” who “needed to know that we would have a safety net during this pandemic”.
Aviation, travel groups urge fully reopening US-UK travel market
A coalition of U.S. and European travel, airline, union, business and airport groups has called for fully reopening the U.S.-UK air travel market 'as soon as safely possible.'
In a letter to U.S. President Joe Biden and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, the groups said the leaders' planned meeting in early June "would be an ideal opportunity for a joint announcement of the full reopening of the U.S.-UK air travel market for both U.S. and UK citizens."
The United States since March 2020 has barred nearly all non-U.S. citizens who have recently been in the UK from the United States.
"The return of Transatlantic flying would not only have a significantly positive impact on our respective economies but will also reunite those who have been separated from their loved ones for over a year," said the letter, signed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Airlines for America, Global Business Travel Association, Air Line Pilots Association, Virgin Atlantic, Association of UK Airlines, Aerospace Industries Association and others.
"Safely reopening borders between the U.S. and UK is essential for both countries’ economic recovery from covid-19."
'Stimulus checks are not free'
When asked about the possibility of a fourth stimulus check, White House press secretary Jen Psaki made clear that Biden would not push for another round, adding that it was up to lawmakers to do so. She told reporters gathered: “We’ll see what members of Congress propose, but [stimulus checks] are not free”.
US private payrolls increase solidly in April
US private payrolls increased in April as companies rushed to boost production amid a surge in demand, suggesting the economy gained further momentum early in the second quarter, powered by massive government aid and rising vaccinations against covid-19.
Private payrolls rose by 742,000 jobs last month, the ADP National Employment Report showed on Wednesday. Data for March was revised higher to show 565,000 jobs added instead of the initially reported 517,000.
Economists polled by Reuters had forecast private payrolls would increase by 800,000 jobs in April.
The ADP report is jointly developed with Moody's Analytics. The report has a poor track record predicting the private payrolls count in the government's more comprehensive, and closely watched, employment report because of methodology differences.
Dollar eases off of two-week high ahead of jobs report
The dollar eased off of its more than two-week high hit earlier on Wednesday as U.S. economic data came in a bit softer than expected and traders awaited a key jobs report at the end of the week.
In the U.S. services industry, activity eased in April from a record level in March, likely due to shortages of inputs amid a burst of demand, data from the Institute for Supply Management showed.
"That's certainly worrisome for U.S. dollar traders and holding them back from restoring long dollar positions ahead of non-farm payrolls," Kathy Lien, managing director at BK Asset Management, said of the data.
The median forecast for Friday's jobs report is for a rise of 978,000, but estimates stretch as high as 2.1 million. "There is a good chance it will exceed 1 million, but as we look at some of the leading indicators for the economy, the recovery and the labor market, we are not seeing that outsized strength that everybody had anticipated and that's holding the dollar back," Lien said.
President Biden’s new tax proposals would see the wealthiest and corporations paying more, while benefiting the majority of households through tax credits.
Tax filing deadline of 17 May looming
The IRS confirmed in March an extension to file 2020 taxes with the new deadline less than a forthnight away.
The California Franchise Tax Board (CFTB) is sending out $600 direct payments to eligible citizens, but when will the Golden State Stimulus Check arrive?
The fate of the next round of direct payments is up in the air after public statements from President Joe Biden and White House press secretary Jen Psaki.
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.