Fourth stimulus check summary: 2 June 2021

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Fourth stimulus check live updates: is it coming in June? Monthly child tax credit, tax refund dates

US Stimulus check news: updates | Wed 2 June 2021

Where do experts believe investments in infrastructure should be made? 

Experts from RAND, a research organization focused on public policy, released guidance on where they believe investments in infrastructure should be targeted. This report comes as negotiations between Democrats and Republicans on President Biden’s American Jobs Plan near collapse. 

One of the areas highlighted by the researchers is the security of the energy grid and the infrastructure it relies on. Citing the recent hacking of the Colonial Pipeline and the increasing frequency of damage done by natural disasters, the authors say that in the end these investments “ tend to pay for themselves over time.” 

For more information on where else they believe investments should be targeted, read the full story. 

Stimulus spending: St Louis

As we reported earlier, different parts of the country are choosing how to spend the millions they have received in federal aid to support them through the pandemic.

This is the take from St Louis.

Stimulus success discussed

After a study shows that the stimulus checks helped reduce hardship during the covid-19 pandemic (see below for more on this), Bishop William Barber joined Joy Reid on what America needs to do next to address poverty and low wealth.

Stimulus fund ingenuity varies by state

In state capitols and city halls across the US, local officials are drawing up ambitious plans on how to spend the $350 billion in federal aid they’re receiving under the American Rescue Plan.

Their most urgent need is using the funds to address the impact of covid-19, provide relief to people and businesses and address their own financial straits caused by the pandemic. But with tax revenue largely recovering and the economy reopening, states are able to go beyond covering deficits and direct covid response, and use the funds to address broader problems exacerbated by the pandemic. 

They can invest in projects that have gone underfunded, like water infrastructure and broadband services. Some cities are even considering using the funds for new ambitious initiatives, like providing recurring cash payments for low-income residents.

Stimulus, inflation and the Fed toolkit

Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis leader Neel Kashkari pushed back against those who believe the central bank and broader government stimulus are setting the stage for a major inflation problem.

“If the White House is wrong and if we’re wrong, if I’m misreading the labor market and we are actually at full potential and these inflation readings are here to stay, the Federal Reserve has the tools to adjust interest rates to keep inflation in check and to prevent it from spiraling out of control,” Mr. Kashkari said.

Full story

Study shows latest rounds of stimulus checks significantly helped American families 

The massive injection of cash into American households has provided a look into how it could be used in less extreme times for those in need. A new analysis published by researchers at the University of Michigan of Census Bureau surveys argues that the $2,000 sent in the last two rounds of stimulus checks significantly improved Americans’ ability to buy food and pay household bills and reduced anxiety and depression. The poorest households and those with children saw the biggest impact from these payments.

Read more at the New York Times

The US Census Bureau releases a Household Pulse Survey every two weeks where they ask people from across the country questions related to food insecurity, anxiety, stimulus payments, employment status, and more. 

Mental Health and Economic Anxiety Fast Figures (10 - 24 May) 

-50% of those receiving SNAP or WIC benefits reported dealing with symptoms of anxiety including "feeling nervous, anxious, or on edge." This number increased to fifty-seven percent for those who had reported borrowing money from friends of family in the last seven days. 

-A fifth of all those who responded reported that they could not control their worrying. For those with incomes under $25,000 a year, this number was 37%.

 

 

CORONAVIRUS STIMULUS CHECK

Fourth stimulus check: how long did negotiations for previous stimulus take?

Fourth stimulus check: how long did negotiations for previous stimulus take?

Are there any clues to be gathered on how long it could take to negotiate a fourth stimulus check based on the previous debates over direct payments? Will Gittins takes a look at this question in our full coverage. 

US only G7 country projected to have a larger economy from what the pre-covid trends had suggested. All other countries are expected to have smaller economies. Read full story here from New Statesmen.

US News

Unemployment benefits in Hawaii: how to certify and prove the work search requirement

Unemployment benefits in Hawaii

Hawaii has lifted the waiver on work research requirements in order to receive unemployment benefits. This comes as Hawaii's unemployment rate has hit its lowest levels since the pandemic began. 

Read our full coverage for details on how to comply with the requirements and to learn more about the services provided to unemployed residents looking for work. 

NEW from AXIOS: Stimulus checks helped keep Americans afloat

AXIOS reports on a new study from University of Michigan that shows how many in US were able to "afford food and pay for standard household expenses after stimulus checks were distributed by the IRS in January and April." 

The results of the study that families and individuals with incomes under $25,000 a year, saw the largest increase income. 

Full details 

US News

$3600/$3000 Child Tax Credit: What do I have to do before July to get it?

$3600/$3000 Child Tax Credit: What do I have to do before July to get it?

The IRS is preparing to send the first round of payments for the Child Tax Credit in July. What steps do you need to take to receive the credit?

Read our full coverage if you still need to file your taxes to ensure the IRS has the information it needs to send your payments. 

How has the size of the workforce changed since April 2020? 

According to data from the US Department of Labor, on average US states and the District of Colombia grew their workforces by 77,000 workers from April 2020 to April 2021. 

Which states saw the most growth in the size of the workforce? 

1. Texas: 662,969

2. New York: 635,505

3. Florida: 477,193

4. California: 363,359

5. Massachusetts 336,496

Have any states seen deceases in the size of their workforce in the last year? 

Yes, fourteen states saw decreases in their workforce. The greatest losses were recorded in: 

1. Virginia: -165,628

2. Washington: -123,476

3. Kentucky: -97,537

4. Connecticut: -84,846

5. Iowa: -71,976

Overall, these losses and gains bring the net increase in the size of the workforce to 3.9 million nationally. 

Labor Productivity in the US

Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released the 2020 Labor Productivity report on 27 May. The BLS describes labor productivity as the relationship between “real output and the labor hours involved in its production. These measures show the changes from period to period in the amount of goods and services produced per hour worked.” The data can help the government understand the effects of various factors “including: changes in technology; capital investment; utilization of capacity, energy, and materials; the use of purchased services inputs, including contract employment services,” and others have on productivity.

The report released on 27 May, shows that 2020 saw the highest increase in productivity since 2010. Additionally, since 2007, forty-four states and the District of Colombia saw increases in output, while hours worked “while hours worked increased in only 15 states.“ 

Read full report here

Economic Outlook

Brookings’ Hutchins Center Fiscal Impact Measure showed that fiscal policy led to a 8.5 percent increase in US GDP. Economic experts report that in the first quarter of 2021, the GDP rose “at an annual rate of 6.4%”. 

Their experts believe this increase stems from the sending of stimulus checks that hit bank accounts in from January to May. However, the researchers caution that they are projecting decreases in growth as the “effects of stimulus wane.” 

Full details here

CHILD TAX CREDIT

Child Tax Credit: what do I get if I opt out from this stimulus?

The new-look Child Tax Credit programme, which had previously provided a single end-of-year credit worth up to $2,000 per child, will soon begin sending out monthly direct payments to eligible parents.

However families can also choose to receive the federal support as a single tax credit, similar to the old system, worth up to $3,600 for children younger than six and $3,000 for those aged between six and 17. While the monthly payments are expected to be particularly beneficial for low-income families during the pandemic, a single tax credit may be more useful to some. 

Read more

How did the third stimulus check affect American household?

It is now two and half months since the first $1,400 direct payments began landing in people's bank accounts and we can now see the impact of the American Rescue Plan. This report from the New York Times suggests that the stimulus checks had a significant impact on areas like food poverty, financial instability and mental health. 

This will strengthen the calls from some for a fourth stimulus check, arguing that the US is not yet free of the pandemic. A group of Democratic lawmakers in Congress have already written to President Biden asking for recurring stimulus checks until the end of the pandemic. 

US news

Covid-19 vaccine in the US live updates: vaccination lottery, card, rate, side effects...

Do you enjoy our live coverage on stimulus news? We also have a dedicated live feed for news on the covid-19 vaccines that covers CDC announcements, vaccine lotteries, vaccination rates across the country, and other breaking news.  

Find the live feed here

IRS TAX REFUND

How to claim an unemployment tax refund and how to check the IRS payment status

An estimated 40 million people received unemployment benefits during the course of 2020 and the American Rescue Plan gives them a substantial tax break. The first $10,200 of jobless payments that they received last year will not be subject to tax.

Those who had already submitted their tax returns before the tax exemption was made official are now in line for a healthy tax refund. But the IRS has warned of delays in the tax refund process that have left many waiting for their payments. 

Read more

Democrats fight to make Child Tax Credit permanent

The Child Tax Credit had been the focus of a group of Democratic lawmakers for years, who argued that a more European system is needed to ensure that American children are not going without essentials. The vast majority of developed nations over some form of regular payments to parents to help with the cost of raising children, but the new programme is the first of its kind in the US. 

As such, Senator Michael Bennet and others are desperate to ensure that the programme does not expire at the end of its current 12-month duration. They are pushing for Congress and the White House to make the new Child Tax Credit direct payments permanent. 

CORONAVIRUS STIMULUS CHECKS

Fourth stimulus check: how many signatures are asking for a new $2,000 monthly payment?

Currently, President Biden appears intent on focusing on more long-sighted stimulus measures to get the US economy back on track. However there is a substantial proportion of American society who believe that a fourth stimulus check is desperately needed. An online petition set up by a Colorado restaurant owners and mother, Stephanie Bonin, continues to draw support after it was first set up last year.

The petition reads: “I’m calling on Congress to support families with a $2,000 payment for adults and a $1,000 payment for kids immediately, and continuing regular checks for the duration of the crisis.”

Read more

Some states opt to spend federal support on stimulus checks

The American Rescue Plan provided hundreds of billions of dollars in federal funding for states to spend as they wished in response to the pandemic. Many have opted to extend additional unemployment benefits or offer support to small businesses, but some are using the money for a fourth stimulus check for their residents. 

The Cherokee Nation, which has received $1.8 billion from the federal government, has announced that all citizens will get a two-part stimulus check worth $2,000 per person. North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper is proposing one-off payments of $250 or $500 to help middle- and low-income residents who are struggling financially. 

What is the new-look Child Tax Credit programme?

The White House is very optimistic about the potential of the reformed Child Tax Credit, which will see eligible parents sent monthly payments worth up to $300 per child. The overhauled programme is set to come into play form 15 July and is currently founded for one year, although Democrats are trying to extend it to 2025 or even permanently. 

CORONAVIRUS STIMULUS CHECK

Fourth stimulus check: how long did negotiations for previous stimulus take?

How long does it normally take to pass a round of stimulus checks? That's the question many are asking as talks in Congress regarding the proposed fourth stimulus check appear to be stalling. There is a significant proportion of the Democratic caucus who favour addtional direct payments but for now they seem far down the list of President Biden's priorities.

We take a look back at each of the three previous rounds of stimulus checks to see how they made it from proposals to your pockets. 

Read more

US News

Fourth Stimulus Check: is the new payment in jeopardy?

President Biden's first few months in office have been characterised by an ambitious agenda with trillions of dollars proposed in a bid to overhaul the US economy. However as his administration continues to focus on the American Families Plan and the American Jobs Plan, there is concern that the prospect of a fourth stimulus check is fading. 

The GOP seem reluctant to support large-scale spending bills but there is a considerable number of Democratic lawmakers who are eager to push for another stimulus check, perhaps one with recurring direct payments. Here's what we know so far...

Read more

Is a fourth stimulus check coming?

The IRS is continuing to distribute payments as part of the third round of stimulus checks but the vast majority of eligible Americans have already received their full entitlement. With this in mind, attention is beginning to turn to the next round, with growing calls for a fourth stimulus check. 

The stimulus-led increase in consumer spending that characterised the US economy in April has worn off and some suggest that further federal support is needed to avoid another flat-line. 

Calls for more changes to the Child Tax Credit system

The American Rescue Plan included a significant change to the Child Tax Credit programme to better serve low-income families in the US. Whereas, in the past, households who paid little or no tax were excluded from receiving the full entitlement, the new system will see them eligible to receive the full amount. 

However some Democrats in Congress argue that it does not go far enough, and are calling for an end to the disadvantage placed on single parents. Rep. Ayanna Pressley here shares a proposal first forwarded by Rep. Katie Porter which would make it easier for single parents to receive the full Child Tax Credit, which will be worth up to $300 per child in monthly payments from 15 July. 

Growing calls for recalling fourth stimulus check as petition draws 2.2m signatures

A petition calling on President Biden to implement a fourth stimulus check, with recurring monthly payments worth up to $2,000, has surpassed 2.2m signatures. The online petition was set up last year but is continuing to draw interest and has received over 100,000 new signatures in the last week alone. 

It remains to be seen if Biden will be swayed by the pressure as he appears to be focusing on other legislative priorities for now. Neither his American Jobs Plan or American Families Plan included another round of direct payments. 

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The Bow-Tie Cinema movie theater in Annapolis, Maryland

The US federal government continues to push out $350 billion in stimulus funding for states and localities to help them recover from the devastating hit inflicted by covid-19.

The aid is part of President Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan that Congress approved in March, and will help recover the 1.3 million workers who still have not come back following the pandemic crisis, officials said. (Photo by Jim Watson / AFP)

Stimulus, restrictions, and getting the economy back on track

California’s strict public health measures during the pandemic protected its economy, setting the stage for an even faster recovery in the state than nationwide, UCLA economists reported.

The Golden State’s strong technology and white-collar business sectors, along with a relatively rapid boost in home building, will buoy its economy, offsetting a slower return of tourist-dependent leisure and hospitality jobs, according to the UCLA Anderson quarterly forecast.

In the nation and in California, “we are about to have one of the best years of economic growth that we’ve had since World War II,” said Leo Feler, the UCLA Anderson Forecast’s senior economist. “We’re looking at a boom time for the U.S. economy.”

Margot Roosevelt reports for the LA Times.

I think US economic performance over the next couple years is probably going to be quite good.

William Dudley, Former New York Fed President

Stimulus-linked inflation 'could become more persistent' - Dudley

The recent spike in, and much discussed, US inflation is likely transitory for now - but it could become more persistent in the coming years as more people return to work, said former New York Fed President William Dudley.

“I think that the scare right now is probably going to abate a bit as we go through the next year, but I think in the long run, are we going to see inflation ... above 2%? I think the Fed is going to succeed in doing that,” Dudley told CNBC’s “Squawk Box Asia” Wednesday.

Inflation has been a major focus in recent weeks. Investors are worried that a quicker rise in consumer prices would prompt the Federal Reserve to hike interest rates earlier than expected. The US consumer price index rose 4.2% in April from a year ago - the sharpest increase since September 2008.

Listen to the full interview with Dudley.

TAX FILING

What is tax form 5498 and what's the purpose of filing it?

Some tax filers choose to utilise an individual retirement account (IRA), which allows them to save for their retirement with more favourable tax conditions. This can take the form of a traditional IRA, a roth IRA or a rollover IRA, each of which has different benefits.

However in order to keep the IRS updated about any IRA contributions that you have made you will need to complete Form 5498, which also covers any applicable recharacterisations, conversions, and year-end fair market values.

Will Gittens brings you all the details on tax form 5498.

Stimulus relief: the winners and losers

As an extraordinary recovery is underway, it won’t be long before business leaders face a perennial political economy question: With wages rising and workers’ claim on economic output growing, will firms’ profits come under pressure?

With tight economic conditions all but guaranteed, there are multiple scenarios of how output will be shared between workers and firms in the post-covid expansion. The policymakers who have placed the big stimulus bet also will have to negotiate the path ahead.

We’ve identified a small number of plausible scenarios that sketch the interaction of wage growth, productivity growth, and policy management. While workers and policymakers can live with several of the scenarios, only one will be truly appealing for firms.

Full report from Philipp Carlsson-Szlezak, Paul Swartz, Martin Reeves

You'll see reports about how the economy is starting to grow, but there are a lot of Americans living paycheck to paycheck, and for a lot of them the government relief programs haven't been able to help.

Greg Nasif, Political Director of Humanity Forward

Fourth stimulus check: more comments

Some top economists have called for more direct aid to Americans. More than 150 economists, including former Obama administration economist Jason Furman, signed a letter last year that argued for "recurring direct stimulus payments, lasting until the economy recovers."

Although the economy is improving, including a surge in hiring in March, millions of people continue to suffer from reduced income and have not been able to tap government aid programs, said Greg Nasif, political director of Humanity Forward, a nonprofit pushing for recurring stimulus payments. Only 4 in 10 jobless workers actually received unemployment aid, according to a March study from economist Eliza Forsythe. 

Aimee Picchi gives her take on further payments for CBS.

US News

$10M New Mexico Vaccine Lottery: how to enter and sign up

Stimulus checks and vaccine lotteries: US spending

New Mexico becomes the twelfth state to announce a covid-19 vaccine lottery. The Vax-to-Max program will give away 10 million dollars worth of prizes.

For more information on how to opt-in see our full coverage. 

Other states to have implemented a vaccine lottery?

Nine states, including New Mexico, have established covid-19 lotteries. Here is a summary:

California

California’s vaccine lottery is the largest to be announced and will give away $1.5 million to ten Californians who have received at least one dose of a covid-19 vaccine.

Colorado

On 25 Colorado Governor Jared Polis unveiled the “Colorado Comeback Cash Vaccine Drawing” which will select five vaccinated residents to win $1 million.

Since the contest has been announced the percent of residents who have received at least one dose of a covid-19 vaccine increased one point to 45.4%. 

Delaware

On 25 May, Governor John Carney introduced “ DE Wins!,” which described as “a public education and incentive program aimed at increasing COVID-19 vaccination rates in Delaware.”

All individuals above the age of twelve, who have been vaccinated “will be entered to win $5,000 in cash and additional prizes in twice-weekly drawings conducted by the Delaware Lottery.” On 30 June, two residents that have received a vaccine will be eligible to win the $302,000 grand prize.

Maryland

On 20 May, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan announced the $2 Million VaxCash Promotion which gives those vaccinated in the state a chance to win $40,000.

On 4 July, one person will be selected to win the $400,000 grand prize.

Ohio


Ohio was the first state to announce a vaccine lottery for both young people and adults. The first of five drawings to select a $1 million winner was held on 26 May.

Vaccinated individuals in Ohio now have four more chances to win. The state has announced that the vaccination rate did begin to increase after Governor Mike DeWine announced the contest.

Oregon

On 21 May, Governor Brown of Oregon, introduced the “Take Your Shot” Program. Residents of Oregon have until late June to get vaccinated to have a chance of wining, $10,000 (37 winners)  or $1 million (1 winner).

Younger Oregonians could win one of five $100,000 scholarships to an Oregon university or colleges.

West Virginia

On 1 June, West Virginia became one of the latest states to launch a covid-19 vaccine lottery. The state will be giving away cash prizes as well as goods like riffles and trucks.

US News

$3600/$3000 Child Tax Credit: What do I have to do before July to get it?

Ninety percent of families are now eligible to receive the enhanced credit. These numbers are up significantly and will benefit more than twenty-four million children. To qualify, individuals must make $75,00 a year or less, those filing as Heads of Household must make $112,000 or less, and those married filing jointly must have a combined income of $150,000 or less. The benefit will be sent to parents and guardians in the care of biological children, step-children or step-siblings, foster or adopted children, siblings, grandchildren, and nieces, and nephews.

The only requirement is that the child lives with the taxpayer claiming the benefit for at least half the year. Meaning that single parents with joint custody, split evenly, can both claim the credit. As far as immigration status is concerned, the child must be a citizen or national or have legal immigration status.

Find out more about what you need to know on the Child Tax Credit

Stimulus, inflation and central bank control

Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis leader Neel Kashkari pushed back against those who believe the central bank and broader government stimulus are setting the stage for a major inflation problem.

“If the White House is wrong and if we’re wrong, if I’m misreading the labor market and we are actually at full potential and these inflation readings are here to stay, the Federal Reserve has the tools to adjust interest rates to keep inflation in check and to prevent it from spiraling out of control,” Mr. Kashkari said.

Full story.

US News

When are unemployment benefits ending in Florida?

In April 2020, unemployment increased to 14.2 percent in Florida, more than five points higher than the 2019 average. The Miami area has the highest unemployment rate at almost 7%, but overall the data collected showed the unemployment across the state had dropped to 4.8 percent. While higher than pre-pandemic levels, the sharp decline represents a significant improvement in the Sunshine State’s economy.

 Based on these improvements, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has called to reinstate some additional requirements for those on unemployment to receive their benefits. As the pandemic caused mass layoffs in the Spring of 2020, Florida and many other states removed the job search requirement to receive benefits. Job search requirements mandate those on employment to provide evidence that they are searching for new career opportunities.

Maite Knorr-Evans digs into the detail.

Tax refund payments begin to arrive

After months of waiting for some eager filers, many are reporting that their 2020 tax refund is on its way to their bank account. Some have received notifications from their bank informing them that the payment is on the way after a delay from the IRS. 

The Fast Company confirm that an IRS spokesperson has said that the payments are beginning to land now, which will be a relief for those waiting for the money. 

UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS

Unemployment benefits in Michigan: how to certify and prove the work search requirement

Michigan residents who are currently receiving state unemployment benefits will now have to prove that they are actively looking for work to get the financial support, after a rule change was introduced.

Starting on 30 May residents are now required to fulfil the work search criteria, which had been removed at the start of the pandemic to help those who were out of work. However as the state’s economic recovery continues recipients of unemployment support will now have to justify their eligibility.

Find out more in Will Gittens' latest report.

US stimulus checks live updates: welcome

Welcome to our live US stimulus checks blog for Wednesday 2 June, the start of what could be a significant month.

Throughout the day, we’ll be bringing you all the latest information on a possible fourth direct payment as well as 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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