Fourth stimulus check news summary: 20 May 2021
US stimulus checks live updates: Thursday 20 May 2021
- Leading Dems call for direct payments to be made permanent (full story)
- Expanded Child Tax Credit monthly payments will begin on 15 July, continuing for at least 6 months
- The IRS tax return deadline has now passed; however some states have issued extensions for their own tax day (read more)
- Over six million “plus-up” stimulus check payments have been sent out, a total of $13 billion
- US dollar bounces against European currencies after Federal Reserve reveals talk of tapering bond purchase
- Retail giants report positive economic outlook after stimulus check influx and reopening boost
- Benefits of delaying Child Tax Credit payments (full story)
- Latest batch of payments sees one million stimulus checks sent to recent tax filers
- California sends out $600/$1,200 stimulus checks as part of the Golden State Stimulus scheme
- You can track your third stimulus check by using the IRS' online Get My Payment portal
Take a look at some of our related articles:
Many states are seeing budget surpluses and are weighing a variety of options as to how they will craft their yearly budget and spend the federal aid money they will receive as a part of the American Rescue Plan.
Announcement from the IRS for those eligible for the Child Tax Credit.
Follow our coverage on the changes made to the Child Tax Credit:
Fast Company reports on poll that finds almost two-third of voters support the sending of an additional stimulus payment. Find details here.
Fourth stimulus checks: when will the next relief bill be discussed?
President Biden is holding White House meetings with bipartisan groups to discuss the next stage of his Build Back Better plan, but are stimulus checks on the agenda?
On 28 April President Biden announced details of his American Families Plan, the third part of his administration’s Build Back Better legislative agenda. A fourth stimulus check was not included at that time but there are reports that the President is now considering adding direct payments to the package.
It is thought that Biden will concentrate first on passing the American Jobs Plan, the infrastructure bill, but much of the public focus remains on the American Families Plan. A number of Democrats in Congress have publicly insisted that stimulus checks be included in the bill, but the White House is remaining tight-lipped for now.
Full details here.
Tax Season 2021: Reasons why the IRS is delayed in sending out tax returns
Usually, taxpayers receive their returns within twenty-one days of filing. This year, the IRS has stated that some could see delays in receiving their return. There are two main reasons the IRS is experiencing delays in getting taxpayers their returns promptly. The first is the last-minute changes to the tax code under the American Rescue Plan passed in March. The second is a backlog of paper returns from 2019 that the IRS is still working through.
Full details here.
One of Washington DC's Representatives-at-large is proposing that the city government send "Stimulus Checks Worth Up to $10,000 for DC Residents Who Qualified for Unemployment Insurance and Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Since March 2020"
Read the full letter here.
Breaking: North Carolina Governor proposes using federal funds from the American Rescue Plan to provide families in his state with a stimulus check.
How much will children receive from the Child Tax Credit this summer?
Payments for the enhanced Child Tax Credit are set to begin in July, but how much should families expect to receive in the coming months?
Eighty-eight percent of children in the US can expect to receive benefits from the enhancements made to the Child Tax Credit (CTC), passed through the American Rescue Act. Before the changes to the credit were made, individuals and families had to earn a certain amount of money to be able to receive the credit. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, “some 27 million children — including roughly half of all Black and Latino children and a similar share of rural children” did not receive the full credit amount because their families made too little. The income requirements were removed under the ARA, a change that experts believe could lift up to 4.1 million children out of poverty.
Read full details here on how much families can expect to receive in the next few months.
The Wall Street Journal reports that mortgage and student loan forbearance has allowed people to pay off their credit card debt. How does that help the economy? Read the full details.
Which states have called to cancel all additional federal unemployment benefits?
Over the last few weeks, following the lead of Montana and South Carolina, twenty-one states have announced that they will be ending the additional benefits for unemployed workers this June and July. The announcement includes the extra 300 dollars on top of whatever a claimant receives from their state’s unemployment systems.
Republican governors lead all states that have called to end the additional benefit, which includes: Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Arizona, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, Ohio, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, and Wyoming.
Read our full coverage on the debate over ending these additional benefits.
North Carolina residents could get a fourth stimulus check
North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper has suggested that $250 million of the $5.7 billion allotted to the state in the American Rescue Plan be repurposed to provide a round of stimulus checks for low- and middle-income families.
His proposal would see married couples earning less than $30,000 a year get a $500 stimulus check, while those who earn between $30,000-$60,000 would get $250.
Cooper told WNCN recently: "This is a good idea put forth by the legislature. It has helped a lot of families. We included this in our proposal because of the input we got from a number of legislators that they would like to continue it."
The IRS will continue to send out the remaining direct payments and “plus-up” payments as the tax agency processes 2020 tax returns. Yet there is also a push for a fourth stimulus check to be sent out to Americans struggling due to the pandemic.
Members of the House Ways and Means Committee have sent the White House a letter urging President Biden to include recurring stimulus payments in the American Families Plan according to reporting in Newsweek, the third such letter from Congress this year. The White House is reportedly considering implementing "automatic stabilizers," but what does that mean?
“Obviously, we’re continuing to evaluate what their needs are to continue to get the pandemic under control, put people back to work, but we think [the expanded Child Tax Credit is] also a proposal that will have a long-term benefit."
“We’ll see what members of Congress propose, but [stimulus checks] are not free."
Child Tax Credit is "a step in the right direction"
Jess Morales Rocketto of Care in Action US speaks to MSNBC about the potential benefits that the reformed Child Tax Credit could have on American families. The cost of childcare is often cited as a key reason why women sometimes struggle to return to the workplace, but it is hoped that the monthly CTC payments may provide the financial support needed to smoothe the transition back to work.
President Biden has remained tight-lipped on the prospect of a fourth stimulus check but many in Congress, and across the country, are eager to see more direct payments in the near future.
There has been little support from the GOP but a number of Democrats have made public their belief that a fourth stimulus check is needed to support families through the pandemic. This includes some prominent Senators and Representatives, along with six members of an important House committee.
How much will I get from the new Child Tax Credit programme?
Earlier this week President Biden confirmed that the new Child Tax Credit payments will start to go out from 15 July, hitting the original target set in the American Rescue Plan. The new system will see parents receive monthly direct payments of up to $300 per child, but that amount varies based on a number of factors.
To find out how much your family could receive in the new Child Tax Credit, use this handy online calculator...
The IRS has confirmed that it will continue making payments for the third round of stimulus checks for the rest of the year, distributing the supplementary 'plus-up' payments. These payments are going to to those who were intitially underpaid in their stimulus check, typically because they had not yet filed their most recent tax returns.
The IRS are sending out another batch of these stimulus checks on a weekly basis; but how many have they sent, and could you be in line for one?
Are stimulus checks a good idea?
All three rounds of the direct payments have been met with celebration from Americans who are struggling to make ends meet during the pandemic, but how will they affect the economy in the long-term? As the possibility of a fourth stimulus check contuines to gather momentum, here's a look at the counter-argument against offering another round of direct relief.
Child Tax Credit will be "put to good use"
We know now that the overhauled Child Tax Credit payments will begin on 15 July but many families are still unsure of how to make best use of that financial support. The new programme will see monthly direct payments worth up to $300 per child sent to eligible parents. Here, TODAY's personal finance expert runs through a few ways to spend your Child Tax Credit payments.
Walmart enjoys stimulus check spending boost
It has been a tough year for retailers with the pandemic stifling earnings and preventing shoppers from visiting stores for months at a time. However there is now some optimisim in the sector after two rounds of stimulus checks provided new impetus for consumer spending.
"My optimism is higher than it was at the beginning of the year," said Walmart Chief Executive Officer Doug McMillon. "In the US, economic stimulus is clearly having an impact, but we also see encouraging signs that our customers want to get out and shop."
“We must make this lifeline permanent, which is why Congressional Democrats will continue to champion an expanded Child Tax Credit – because we can only Build Back Better by putting families first.”
Are automatic stimulus checks on their way?
There have been growing calls for a fourth stimulus check as the IRS completes the distribution of the third round of payments. Biden is yet to comment publically on the prospect but this Newsweek report suggests that his administration is considering implementing a system of "automatic stabilizers," which would see direct payments sent out whenever certain economic criteria are met.
Growing calls for Child Tax Credit payments to be made permanent
The new-look Child Tax Credit has drawn a lot of attention in recent weeks, with numerous prominent Democrats coming forward to call for the 12-month programme to be made permanent. The current legislation only lasts for a year, and Biden's Amercan Families Plan includes provision to extend it until the end of 2025.
However many are not satisfied with this and Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi released a statement on Monday insisting that the support be made permanent.
Child Tax Credit expansion will cut childhood poverty
Payments for the new-look Child Tax Credit are set to begin on Wednesday 15 July, and Democrats are already optimistic about the impact that the programme will have. Congressional candidate Jevin Hodge of Arizona notes that the new CTC could halve childhood poverty for children of colour over the course of its initial 12-month duration.
Democrats need to improve public perception
A new poll carried out by the Democratic Party finds *only half* of rural battleground voters associate stimulus payments with the Dem Party.
Full article via Washington Post
EU vaccination campaign catching up with that of the United States, von der Leyen says
The European covid-19 vaccination campaign is gaining speed and catching up with that of the United States, EU Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen said on Thursday.
"We aim to have offered a jab to 70% of all adults by the end of July...this is almost the same target as the one the US has set," she told a conference.
Critics of the EU vaccination campaign should keep in mind that the EU has exported 220 million jabs, almost as many as it has used for its own citizens, von Leyen said in a snipe at the U.S. and Britain.
"Others are keeping their entire vaccine production all to themselves, but the EU will reach its vaccination targets without sealing itself off from the world."
Previous stimulus check amounts
The first stimulus check approved by the Trump administration amounted to $1,200, with the second stimulus seeing eligible recipients collect $600. The third stimulus check and first under the Biden administration, is worth up to $1,400 per person, although the eligibility requirements are narrower.
How many Americans could receive an unemployment tax break this year?
Some of the millions who filed a 2020 tax return and reported unemployment assistance payments will begin to see refunds appear in bank accounts this week.
Lawmakers push for direct payments as part of American Families Plan
The focus for more social spending seems to be focused on the American Families Plan, the White House’s proposal for investing in the American family. President Biden unveiled his $1.8 trillion investment in education, child care and paid family leave in April. It isn’t clear when Congress would take up the proposal as lawmakers are working through the details of the infrastructure bill. This proposal would encounter even stronger opposition from GOP lawmakers with the increased taxes on the wealthy that are included and the larger role the state would take in everyday life.
Democrats would most likely seek to pass the bill before the end of the year to include expanded tax provisions from the American Rescue Plan that only apply to the 2021 fiscal year. In order to get the bill through the evenly split Senate would require support from at least 10 Republicans unless Democrats use budget reconciliation as they did with the American Rescue Plan. The parliamentary process allowed Democrats to pass the legislation without the threat of the filibuster using a simple majority vote.
When could a fourth stimulus check be approved?
President Biden has presented the next two phases of his Build Back Better plan which would see an additional $4 trillion in spending on infrastructure and American families. Both pieces of legislation are expected to encounter headwinds from Republicans because of the sheer size of the plans.
The White House has been meeting with bipartisan groups of lawmakers to hammer out details of what he wants to see included in the American Jobs Plan, President Biden’s infrastructure bill. So far, the counteroffers from GOP lawmakers have been much smaller than what the Biden administration is calling for but Republicans are upping the amount that they could envision spending.
Dollar bounces after Fed minutes revives tapering discussion
The dollar bounced off three-month lows against European currencies on Thursday after minutes from the Federal Reserve's last policy meeting revealed there was more talk of tapering their bond purchase than investors had thought.
In the Fed minutes, several policymakers said that a discussion about reducing the pace of asset purchases would be appropriate "at some point" if the economic recovery continue to gain momentum.
That surprised investors given Fed Chair Jerome Powell had said right after that meeting last month that it is not time yet to begin discussing any change in policy.
"The minutes contained wordings that appear to seek to start discussion on tapering at an earlier timing than expected," said Takafumi Yamawaki, head of fixed income research at JPMorgan.
"If the next jobs data due on June 3 is strong, markets will start bracing for the Fed making a specific mention on tapering at its next meeting in June."
Which states have called to cancel all additional federal benefits?
Citing signs of a robust economic recovery, 21 Republican governors have announced that their states will end additional unemployment benefits in June and July.
Fourth stimulus check: when can be the new payment according to the experts?
Democratic lawmakers continue to call for President Biden to include more stimulus checks in the American Families Plan, so when could they come?
US stimulus checks live updates: welcome
Welcome to our live US stimulus-checks blog for Thursday 20 May. We’ll be bringing you updates on a possible fourth direct payment and updates on the third stimulus check, which the IRS has been distributing since the $1.9tn American Rescue Plan was signed into law in early March.
We'll also provide information on other economic-aid schemes such as the expanded Child Tax Credit, which gives qualifying households up to $3,600 per child per year, and the Golden State Stimulus payments going out in California, where Governor Gavin Newsom has announced plans include more residents of the state in the program.