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Fourth stimulus check news summary: 25 May 2021

Update:
US President Joe Biden participates in a briefing on the upcoming Atlantic hurricane season at FEMA headquarters on May 24, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Nicholas Kamm / AFP)

US stimulus checks live updates | Tuesday 25 May 2021

Headlines:

- Florida ending $300 weekly unemployment booster in June (full story)

- US dollar drifts lower as Fed speakers soothe inflation fears

- US Senate Republicans to meet today on White House infrastructure talks

- Child and Dependent Care Credit 2021....all you need to know

- Payments for the Child Tax Credit are around the corner (full story)

- Various states have announced sales-tax-free periods to encourage spending

- The IRS tax return deadline of 17 May has now passed; however some states have issued extensions (read more)

- 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

Keep up to date with the latest US and global vaccine news with our covid-19 vaccine live feed

Take a look at some of our related articles:

$3,000/$3,600 Child Tax Credit: what to know about the stimulus coming in 15 July

AMERICAN RESCUE PLAN

$3,000/$3,600 Child Tax Credit: what to know about the stimulus coming in 15 July

$3,000/$3,600 Child Tax Credit: what to know about the stimulus coming in 15 July

The IRS is preparing a new online portal where parents can choose whether to receive advance payments or hold off until they file taxes in 2022.

IRS warn against fake emails

As part of their ongoing customer service information, the Internal Revenue Service warn users against fake emails.

amazon

US consumer confidence holds steady

U.S. consumer confidence hovered at a 14-month high in May as optimism about job prospects tempered concerns about rising inflation and diminishing government financial support.

Though the survey from the Conference Board on Tuesday suggested the pace of economic growth remained robust in the second quarter, the recovery from the pandemic recession, which started in February 2020, is bumpy.

The housing market, one of the star performers, is showing signs of fatigue, with new single-family homes sales dropping in April amid a dearth of properties, which is boosting prices at the fastest pace in more than 15 years.

Stimulus mortgage program: how to apply to pause mortgage payments

COVID-19 FINANCIAL RELIEF

Stimulus mortgage program: how to apply to pause mortgage payments

Having trouble with mortgage payments as a result of the pandemic? Read our coverage by William Gittins on how to apply to pause payments.

Economy gets moving

Researchers find that stimulus helped to spur an increase in request for businesses licenses and that "Black-owned businesses in above average income neighborhoods sprang up faster than other businesses." Full details here

Child and Dependent Care Credit 

With the 2020 tax filing season having passed, those who provide care for children and dependents should be aware of possible benefits they could receive when filing next year. Read our full coverage to understand the changes the American Rescue Act made to the Child and Dependent Care Credit, including changes increase eligibility and the amount able to be claimed. 

Child and Dependent Care Credit 2021: who qualifies for it? 

Child and dependent care tax credit 2021: how to claim $8,000 or $16,000

World Bank releases report showing the stimulus passed in the US could increase economic growth by an average of one percent in some Asian countries. 

The report highlights possible solutions to get the economies in the region back on track saying that action is needed fast. 2020 was the first year in decades were poverty in the region stopped declining. Researchers estimated that around 32 million people were unable to escape poverty due to the pandemic. 

Read the full report here

Breaking News: In an effort to reach a bipartisan agreement, three senators, Mitt Romney (R-UT), Rob Portman (R-OH), and Joe Manchin (D-WV) are working on a "traditional infrastructure bill." Read more details here for how their proposal differs from the American Families Plan, put forward by President Biden. 

Tilman Fertitta, former owner of the Huston Rockets, explains in an interview on NBC why he has a "love hate" relationship with stimulus. 

United Airlines Vaccine contest: how does it work?

US News

United Airlines Vaccine contest: how does it work?

United Airline announces competition to get people vaccinated flying again. 

Find out how to win a year of free flights here

The increase in housing prices we've seen does raise concerns for us about housing affordability and access to the housing market.

We recognize there is a need for new housing supply, particularly on the affordable end of the market.

Jen Psaki, White House press secretary

Republican counteroffer on infrastructure expected

The White House expects to get Republicans' counter-offer on a $2 trillion infrastructure proposal later this week, press secretary Jen Psaki said on Tuesday.

Senate Republicans are due to meet on Tuesday to determine their next steps on bipartisan infrastructure talks, and could deliver their proposal on Thursday, Senator Shelley Capito of West Virginia said.

Republicans have said that they won't back President Joe Biden's plan to pay for infrastructure by altering the 2017 tax bill to increase taxes on the wealthy and companies, and are expected to offer a pared-down proposal.

"We are waiting to hear back from Republicans on how they would propose to pay for it" if they won't raise taxes, Psaki told reporters.

Stimulus checks has Vegas entertainment booming

Houston Rockets' owner Tilman Fertitta points to transient business being up and positive, especially with Las Vegas reaping the rewards from the people who have been stuck inside, and who have stimulus money to spend.

But, he points out, New York is still suffering from the lack of global tourism.

Listen to what he had to say.

We had a whole year where prices didn’t really increase... and for some stuff they actually decreased. So, if you’re comparing this year to that year, then the reading is going to be higher than if the prices had continued to just go up.

If there wasn’t a pandemic, the prices would just go up more steadily, and we wouldn’t see that kind of a jump that we saw recently.

Yeva Nersisyan, Associate Professor of Economics at Franklin & Marshall College

Unused stimulus funds to pay for infrastructure

A small bipartisan group of senators is privately sketching out the contours of a new infrastructure package — and fresh ways to pay for it — that they hope to sell to colleagues after negotiations between Republican senators and the White House stalled in recent days.

The nascent plan is being drafted by a more than a half-dozen lawmakers including Republican Sens. Mitt Romney (Utah) and Rob Portman (Ohio) as well as Sen. Joe Manchin III (D-W. V.). On Tuesday, Romney said the group has come to a “pretty close consensus” on key elements of a blueprint that focuses largely on traditional infrastructure, such as roads, bridges, trains and broadband Internet.

“We’re not very far from the Biden proposal on areas where we both think it’s appropriate for an infrastructure bill,” Romney told The Washington Post on Tuesday.

Full story from Seung Min Kim and Tony Romm

$54 million stimulus to fix Nevada unemployment system

Nevada lawmakers considered whether to spend $54 million in federal stimulus money on a long-term fix of the state's outdated unemployment system.

The statewide shutdown in March 2020 crippled Nevada's unemployment system, which suddenly saw an unprecedented number of people applying for benefits.

DETR officials said a complete modernization could cost as much as $54 million but would bring the systems into the 21st century and better prepare the state for the next financial crisis.

"What Nevadans get in the future is a sort of future-proof disaster response program that is able to handle the ups and downs of unemployment," said DETR director Elisa Cafferata.

Biden stimulus plan: solution or problem?

'Since the pandemic, the US government has unleashed the currency printing presses like never before. Over the past 15 months, the US government has showered the economy with more than $5.4 trillion in pandemic-related “relief” funds. And that comes on top of the $4 trillion annual spending budget for the US federal government.

'It doesn’t take a Harvard-trained economist to understand the simple notion that when the government floods the economy with trillions more dollars, the value of existing dollars decreases. And prices rise.

'Even worse, as the US government is saturating the economy with trillions of dollars, it is actively suppressing productivity with policies that incentivize Americans to remain out of work. More dollars chasing fewer goods and services is a recipe for economic disaster, aka stagflation.'

Chris Talgo provides his view on the current stimulus plan. Spoiler alert: he's not a fan.

When are weekly unemployment benefits in Florida ending? Deadline and reason

UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS

When are weekly unemployment benefits in Florida ending? Deadline and reason

Florida announced Monday that the state will join 22 other states ceasing participation in Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation program (FPUC), the $300 weekly extra payment to those receiving unemployment benefits. Unlike the majority of those states, it will keep other federal unemployment benefits.

Three weeks ago, Montana began a trend among Republican-led states of announcing that they would no longer participate in some or all of the federal unemployment programs set up under the CARES Act last year to help the millions of Americans thrown out of work due to the covid-19 pandemic.

Those programs have been twice extended, most recently under the American Rescue Plan which finances that economic assistance to the jobless until 6 September.

Greg Heilman brings you all the latest in the Florida developments.

Texas stimulus planning for fall session

As the legislative session winds down in Austin and hundreds of bills fizzle out, lawmakers are already setting the table for a special session in the fall.

That’s when the Legislature is expected to redraw state legislative and congressional districts, after the federal census data used for that process was delayed by months. Now, Gov. Greg Abbott is adding spending negotiations to the agenda, charging legislators with allocating $16 billion in federal coronavirus relief funds when they return to Austin.

Full story below.

Stimulus impact: steady consumer confidence as housing shows signs of strain

US consumer confidence hovered at a 14-month high in May as optimism about job prospects tempered concerns about rising inflation and diminishing government financial support.

Though the survey from the Conference Board on Tuesday suggested the pace of economic growth remained robust in the second quarter, the recovery from the covid-19 pandemic recession, which started in February 2020, is bumpy.

The housing market, one of the star performers, is showing signs of fatigue, with new single-family homes sales dropping in April amid a dearth of properties, which is boosting prices at the fastest pace in more than 15 years.

The Conference Board said its consumer confidence index slipped to a reading of 117.2 this month from 117.5 in April, the highest level since February 2020. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast the index at 119.2.

Effective May, the Conference Board switched to an online from a mail survey. Data from January through April was revised to reflect the results of the online survey. The dip mirrored other sentiment surveys, which were pulled down by worries that rising inflation would erode consumers' purchasing power.

Inflation is bubbling as the economy's reopening after coronavirus-related restrictions and massive fiscal stimulus unleash pent-up demand, which is pushing against supply constraints, leading to price hikes for most goods.

Daily White House press briefing

White House press secretary Jen Psaki is speaking about all things US and Biden, including stimulus and infrastructure spending.

Join her now or catch up later...

Is gold predicting more stimulus?

That's certainly the view being put across from economist Daniel Lacalle.

More stimulus boosts for public schools

The Milwaukee Public Schools board is set this week to approve its $1.3 billion budget for next school year.

There’s a lot of financial uncertainty right now, because the state budget is still in the works and MPS doesn’t know whether families who left the district during the pandemic will come back.

But a budget analysis from the Wisconsin Policy Forum finds there is also reason for optimism. MPS is expecting $731 million in federal covid-19 relief money, which is available for use over the next three years. And, voters approved a tax referendum in April 2020, which provides an additional $77 million for the next fiscal year.

Wisconsin Policy Forum president Rob Henken says the infusion of federal money will allow MPS to address some of its long-standing facilities needs. The district is proposing about $200 million in building repairs and renovations, mainly to upgrade air quality in schools and replace water fountains with bottle-filling stations.

Full story from Emily Files.

Covid-19 vaccine in the US live updates: CDC investigating potential heart problems, vaccination lottery....

US NEWS

Covid-19 vaccine in the US live updates: CDC investigating potential heart problems, vaccination lottery....

As well as the financial aid provided through stimulus checks, unemployment, child care and other benefits, a key part of the Biden administration's strategy to say goodbye to the crippling effects of the pandemic was its vaccination rollout.

To keep you fully up to date with all the latest news and updates regarding the covid-19 pandemic and all aspects of the vaccine development and rollout across the United States and around the world, we bring you a daily blog.

Did you know, for example, that as of today 7.2 million residents under eighteen have received at least one dose of the Pfizer & BioNTech vaccine? Over the course of the last five days, the US has administered to 1.3 million of the youngest residents eligible. 

Check out this and all the latest news live.

Unemployment benefits: will the $300 weekly payments continue?

US NEWS

Unemployment benefits: will the $300 weekly payments continue?

Citing the need to get people back to work 23 Republican-led states have decided that enhanced unemployment benefits helping Americans who couldn’t work due to the pandemic are holding back the economic recovery. Although the financial assistance is slated to continue until the first week of September in the federal bill, some of those states have chosen to start ending benefits as soon as June.

Find out which states are ending benefits

$50 stimulus to pay internet bill eligibility: who can get it?

US NEWS

$50 stimulus to pay internet bill eligibility: who can get it?

During the covid-19 pandemic many Americans were confined to their homes relying on their internet connection to have access to the outside world for schooling, work and to have a chance to see the faces of friends and family. However, for many households paying for good or any internet connectivity could be a daunting task.

A new government program the Emergency Broadband Benefit that provides assistance to pay for internet access is now available to low-income households.

Find out if you qualify

American Family Plan could make raising a child more affordable 

Much of the debate swirling around President’s Biden’s next two investment packages is the cost. The two together come in at around $4 trillion in new spending. The American Jobs Plan focuses on infrastructure while the American Families Plan centers on rebuilding the middle-class through social spending programs.

The Biden administration has said the latter, costing $1.8 trillion, could save the average American family with young children $14,800 a year on child care. Grow Acorns takes a look at the numbers.

Third stimulus check: how long will the payments be issued?

CORONAVIRUS STIMULUS CHECKS

Third stimulus check: how long will the payments be issued?

When Congress passed the American Rescue Plan in March, it specified that the Internal Revenue Service had until the end of the year to disburse the direct payments.

Since payments began 12 March, the day after the bill was signed into law, the agency has sent over 165 million payments. Those payments represent over ninety percent of the stimulus money budgeted for the third round of stimulus checks to Americans.

When will the IRS finish sending payments?

Child Tax Credit: can you opt-out of the child tax credit?

US News

Child Tax Credit: can you opt-out of the child tax credit?

According to the White House around thirty-nine million families are able to receive benefits associated with the enhanced child tax credit passed through the American Rescue Plan.

Before the changes made to the child tax credit, families were able to receive $2,000 per child. Now, families could receive $3,000 for children between the ages of six and seventeen and $3,600 for children younger than six.

Families are slated to begin receiving payments for the child tax credit in July, but some are wondering if they should delay their payments.

Increase in small business start-ups related to stimulus aid 

Each of the three successive Economic Impact Payment packages has seen a surge in small business start-ups, the New York Times reports. That trend was especially felt in black neighborhoods possibly starting a new era of entrepreneurship. 

Citing data from a study conducted by the Startup Cartography Project, looking at data from eight US states, the study provides new insight into the changing nature and geography of entrepreneurship in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. Consistent with other data sources, following an initial decline, the overall level of state-level business registrations not only rebounds but increases across all eight states. 

Areas including a higher proportion of Black residents, and more specifically higher median income Black neighborhoods, are associated with higher growth in startup formation rates between 2019 and 2020. Moreover, these dynamics are reflected in the passage of the major Federal relief packages. 

Even though legislation such as the CARES Act did not directly support new business formation, the passage and implementation of relief packages was followed by a relative increase in start-up formation rates.

$10,200 exclusion: When will the IRS return the unemployment tax refunds?

2021 TAX REFUND

$10,200 exclusion: When will the IRS return the unemployment tax refunds?

The American Rescue Plan passed by Congress in March made changes to the way unemployment benefits can be taxed. The bill included the “exclusion of unemployment compensation of up to $10,200 for individuals for taxable year 2020” to help support families who have seen falls in their income over the last year.

The filing deadline for taxes in the United States has now passed and millions, especially those who are unemployed, are now awaiting their return.

$3,000/$3,600 Child Tax Credit: what to know about the stimulus coming in 15 July

AMERICAN RESCUE PLAN

$3,000/$3,600 Child Tax Credit: what to know about the stimulus coming in 15 July

One of the most beneficial features of the American Rescue Plan for American taxpayers with children is the expanded Child Tax Credit. Depending on the age of your children you could receive up to $3,600 for each child.

The IRS is preparing a new online portal where parents can choose whether to receive advance payments or hold off until they file taxes in 2022.

What you should know before July

Where is my California Golden State Stimulus? How to check when it will arrive

California Golden State Stimulus

Where is my California Golden State Stimulus? How to check when it will arrive

The State of California passed a $9.6 billion relief package back in February 2021 to provide assistance to residents struggling with the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. Among the measures was a California-wide equivalent of the nationwide federal stimulus checks. The California payments are known as Golden State Stimulus checks and are being paid out by the state’s Franchise Tax Board (FTB); they are worth $600 or $1,200 depending on eligibility.

Check when yours will arrive

Sales Tax Holiday in Florida: When are they taking place and what items are included?

US News

Sales Tax Holiday in Florida: When are they taking place and what items are included?

Various states have announced sales-tax-free periods to encourage spending. Florida residents will begin their first sales tax-free period on 28 May.

“Job creators” prepare to come out swinging at President Biden’s plan to raise taxes 

More than two dozen groups representing US businesses and employers unveiled a new coalition Tuesday to fight against virtually all of the Democrats’ plans to raise taxes on self-described “job creators,” CNBC reports. 

The new groups will go by the name “America’s Job Creators for a Strong Recovery.” The group intends to counter-message the President and Congress on raising taxes to pay for the trillion-dollar investment package on infrastructure.  

The organizers themselves acknowledge that that rhetorical battleground leans strongly in Democrats’ favor in public opinion polls. They hope to change the narrative that the higher taxes would hurt businesses and thus the economic recovery.

Fed soothes fears about tapering stimulus, markets rise 

US Federal Reserve officials have signaled that monetary stimulus won’t be slowed any time soon pushing European shares to record highs on Tuesday. The mood has turned optimistic again with less concern over whether the US Fed would begin tapering bond purchases

James Bullard, president of the St Louis Federal Reserve, put to rest tapering worries saying “I think there will come a time when we can talk more about changing the parameters of monetary policy, I don’t think we should do it when we’re still in the pandemic.” 

Child Tax Credit 2021: what is the maximum age of the children to request the payment?

CHILD TAX CREDIT

Child Tax Credit 2021: what is the maximum age of the children to request the payment?

The American Rescue Plan passed in March will be sending more help to families with children in 2021 through an enhanced Child Tax Credit with optional monthly payments set to begin 15 July.

Eligible families can receive up to $3,000 per child between the ages of 6 and 17 at the end of 2021. Each child under age 6 at the end of 2021 could qualify for up to $3,600.

Those with dependents 18 to 24 will still claim a $500 tax credit if they meet the requirements.

Full details

India prepares stimulus package to help industries worst affected in second wave 

As India continues to deal with a second wave, the government is discussing a stimulus package for sectors that have been the worst affected. The finance ministry is working on proposals to bolster small and medium-sized companies, along with tourism, aviation and hospitality industries. No timeline has currently been set. 

India became the global hotspot for the pandemic which has decimated travel since the second wave picked up in March. Unlike last year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has refused to implement a strict nationwide lockdown. Many local governments though have imposed restrictions to stem the spread of the virus.

Waiting for a refund from IRS?

Locate your refund using the Internal Revenue Service's 'Where's my Refund' tool.

More info

Replicating US model, Britain's vaccine rollout drives return to supermarkets

British shoppers are heading out to the supermarket more often as the country's covid-19 vaccination programme gathers pace, industry data showed on Tuesday.

Market researcher Kantar said shoppers made 58 million more visits to the supermarket in the 12 weeks to May 16 than they did in the same period last year when Britain was in the grip of the first wave of the virus.

“As the vaccine rollout moves full steam ahead, consumers are getting more confident venturing back out to stores," said Fraser McKevitt, Kantar's head of retail and consumer insight.

As of Monday over 38 million Britons had received a first dose of a vaccination. Kantar said there were also signs that the big weekly shop, which made a comeback last year when Britons tried to reduce the time spent outside of their homes, may be on its way out.

Can an employer ask if you're vaccinated in the US?

Coronavirus

Can an employer ask if you're vaccinated in the US?

New CDC guidance on mask-wearing for vaccinated people leaves employers in an awkward position in trying to figure out how to establish office safety.

What information is an employer allowed to ask?

SC

How much could a possible fourth stimulus check be worth?

The fourth stimulus check amount depends on several factors. If passed, it would probably look similar to the previous checks

The first stimulus check (approved by the Trump administration) was worth $1,200, while the second stimulus check, also under Donald Trump was worth $600. The current third stimulus check (and the firrst under Joe Biden)  is worth up to $1,400 per person.

 

Mother uses stimulus check to fund lucrative new venture

Ellie Diop launches successful 'Ellie Talks Money' project on the back of a stimulus check payment

Full story via Black Enterprise

bitcoin

Bitcoin holds firm

Cryptocurrencies fought back on Monday, retaking ground lost during a bout of weekend selling that was fueled by further signs of a Chinese crackdown on the emerging sector. Bitcoin rebounded about 10% early in the day and then held around $38,000, recovering from a tough weekend in which it fell as much as 17% to $31,107 on Sunday.

Bitcoin is up nearly 30% for the year, but has fallen by almost half from its April record peak of $64,895. The volatility has undermined the case for its mainstream acceptance.

Unemployment benefits: will the $300 weekly payments continue?

US NEWS

Unemployment benefits: will the $300 weekly payments continue?

While the American Rescue Plan extends federal pandemic unemployment benefits until September, 22 states have now chosen to end them earlier.

What you need to know

IRS advocates security software

The US Internal Revenue Service recommends users install sone form of security software to prevent against online hacking

Capito

Senate Republicans to meet on White House infrastructure talks

Senate Republicans are due to meet on Tuesday to determine their next steps on bipartisan infrastructure talks following last week's White House offer to pare down President Joe Biden's sweeping $2.25 trillion proposal to $1.7 trillion.

One of the lawmakers, Senate Republican Conference Chairman John Barrasso, said on Monday the group of six lawmakers  would hold a Tuesday morning meeting, as they approach an unofficial end-of-May White House deadline to show progress in the talks.

Senator Shelley Moore Capito, of West Virginia, who is leading the Republican infrastructure effort, said her negotiating team would discuss possible next steps but offered no details about options. "I'm not ready to call it quits, I can tell you that," Capito told reporters.

stocks

Wall Street climbs on tech gains as U.S. Treasury yields dip

U.S. stocks climbed on Monday, with the Nasdaq jumping more than 1% as a retreat in U.S. Treasury yields helped lift expensive stocks in sectors such as technology as investors attempt to gauge the trajectory of inflation.

Among the 11 major S&P sectors, technology advanced 1.76% and communication services rose 1.84% as the top performing on the session, as yields on the benchmark 10-year Treasury bond hit a two-week low, which also buoyed other richly-valued growth stocks.

Inflation concerns cooled for the time being as investors may be starting to view President Joe Biden's infrastructure bill as likely to be smaller, or unable to provide as big an economic boost, even after being pared down in size on Friday.

Bill Stone, chief investment officer, The Glenview Trust co in Louisville, Kentucky said growth stocks were likely getting a look on Monday due to the decline in yields. "It seems to be the continued bounce in a rotation back to growth, the top performing sectors today are all growth stocks,". "It's the continuing tug of war" he said.

Child and dependent care tax credit 2021: how to claim $8,000 or $16,000

AMERICAN RESCUE PLAN

Child and dependent care tax credit 2021: how to claim $8,000 or $16,000

The American Rescue Plan greatly expands the amount of expenses for child care, so that you can work, which you can write off on your 2021 tax return.

What you need to know to claim the credit

How to contact the unemployment office in New York: Phone, Email, and Postal Address 

US News

How to contact the unemployment office in New York: Phone, Email, and Postal Address 

Have questions about your unemployment benefits and in need of support from the NY Department of Labor, here is how to get in touch with them.

How much money has IRS sent in stimulus checks since 2020?

CORONAVIRUS STIMULUS CHECKS

How much money has IRS sent in stimulus checks since 2020?

Since the onset of the pandemic and the economic crisis three rounds of stimulus checks have been approved, but not all the money slated has gone out.

Read more

US stimulus checks live updates: welcome

Welcome to our live US stimulus checks blog for Tuesday 25 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.

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