Fourth stimulus check news summary: 17 August 2021
Stimulus checks and Child Tax Credit: live updates, Tuesday 17 August 2021
- Child Tax Credit roll-out linked to drop in food insufficiency, says US Census Bureau report (Full details)
- Unemployment claims continue to fall even as delta variant rips through the US (Full story)
- Millions in the US will lose their unemployment benefits in the coming weeks (Full story)
- IRS sends out over $15 billion in the second round of Child Tax Credit payments, when should you expect yours? (Full Details)
- Child Tax Credit roll-out linked to drop in food insufficiency, says US Census Bureau report
- Prospect of a fourth stimulus check could be affected by July jobs data (Full story)
- Almost 3m signatures now accrued in petition for recurring stimulus checks (Full story)
Useful information / links
- Are you one of the 7 million families that are missing their Child Tax Credit payments? (Details)
- Will the $3.5tn infrastructure package include a direct payment? (Details)
- How many people will get the $1,600 tax refund payment? (Find out)
- California Golden State stimulus check: info on payments for dependents
- When should I get in touch with the IRS if my tax refund hasn't arrived? (Find out)
Have a read of some of our related news articles:
Child Tax Credit garners praise
After the first round of payments of the Biden administration's Child Tax Credit system, several watchdogs and NGOs have reported a significant drop in food insecurity among US families hard-hit by the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
Child Tax Credit: FAQs
If you have unresolved queries about the Child Tax Credit, you may wish to take a look at the IRS’ FAQs page on the scheme.
You’ll find a range of questions and answers on a number of topics, such as eligibility, calculating your credit and unenrolling from monthly payments.
Unlike the stimulus checks paid out, the new advance payments on the Child Tax Credit will have to be repaid if you get more than you are eligible for.
As part of a second round of $600 Golden State Stimulus checks known as 'GSS II', households with dependents are eligible to receive an additional $500 payment.
For those who qualify for the Child Tax Credit, August 13 was the day set for this month’s payments to families with children.
How the Child Tax Credit has helped US families
Money.com’s Kenadi Silcox has spoken to four families about how the enhanced Child Tax Credit has made an impact on their day-to-day lives. The cash injection has been “huge for us”, one interviewee said, while another explained: “It helps children perform in school if the household is in a better financial situation because they have a better diet or parents who can spend more time with them instead of picking up extra shifts.”
US stimulus checks: every AS English article
In our dedicated stimulus checks news section, you’ll find articles providing updates on a possible fourth direct payment, as well as other, similar schemes such as the Golden State Stimulus in California.
Under the Child Tax Credit scheme, parents under the specified income threshold will receive $3,600 for each child under six years old and $3,000 for each child under 17 years of age.
Three stimulus checks have been sent out by the US federal government since the covid-19 pandemic began in early 2020.
Delta variant concerns disrupt consumer spending
"A disappointing print on retail sales for last month," Yahoo finance says. "US consumer spending pulling back more than anticipated as the effects of those earlier-in-the-year stimulus checks wane further and concerns over the spread of the Delta variant also rose."
How has the Child Tax Credit impacted hunger in the United States?
The Census Bureau collects household level data on a two week cycle through the Household Pulse Survey (HPS). The HPS asks respondents the same set of questions to different households over a two-week period and then compares the changes in responses to identify trends.
According to the data, before the first CTC payment was sent on 15 July, around eleven percent of households with children were suffering from food insecurity. After the payments were made, the HPS tracked a three percent decrease in that rate. While this figure may seem small, it actually represents around 24% of households.
Read our full coverage for more details on what other impacts were found.
August Child Tax Credit: what to do if the payment has not arrived
The IRS announced that it sent the second round of child tax credit payments on 13 August. Most families should expect their check by 3 September.
For bank deposits the IRS says the transfers should arrive within three business days. If your credit is being sent by mailed check then it could take one to to weeks to arrive.
Read our full coverage for more details and for guidance on how to see if your check has arrived.
Job Openings hit 10.1 million in June 2021
Also in June, new hires rose by almost 700,000 jobs to 6.7 million. However, in the same period, job separation, defined by the BLS as "the number of workers who are projected to leave an occupation," increased by 254,000 to 5.6 million.
All eyes are on Washington as Congress negotiates the bipartisan infrastructure bill and the White House comes under fire over the chaos seen as US troops leave Afghanistan.
The Invasion of Afghanistan represents American's longest war, and after twenty years and nearly a trillion dollars appropriated by Congress to combat terrorism, many are wondering if it was all worth it.
Interested in more on the troop withdrawal and the Taliban takeover of Kabul? Follow our live feed here.
Are you a renter or landlord in need of financial assistance?
The US Treasury Department may have some resources to help.
Prices for consumer goods shoot up over the last 12 months
Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show that the prices of consumer goods have increased 5.4% over the last year. The sector leading the increase? Energy.
Want to learn more about what an increase in consumer prices means? Read our full story.
Where is the unemployment projected to stand during the next elections?
Goldman Sachs, the financial asset manager, projects that by the 2022 Mid-Term elections, the US unemployment rate could drop more then 3%.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi has been known to stick her neck out for the more moderate members of her caucus. As negotiations over the bipartisan infrastructure package continue in the House, she has done it again.
While supportive of a reconciliation bill, she is also interested in House committees looking at objectives that meet the needs of both that bill an the infrastructure package.
Only crypto brokers need to comply with IRS reporting requirements
The US Treasury is set to announce that “only cryptocurrency companies it considers brokers will need to comply with proposed IRS reporting requirements” Bloomberg reports. President Biden's $1 trillion infrastructure bill hopes to raise $28 billion from the cryptocurrency industry. The IRS will look at whether firms’ actual activities genuinely classify them as a broker under the tax code.
The US Government's extended pandemic support for the unemployed is set to expire soon.
Some states have withdrawn from the program even sooner.
Advocacy groups are calling on President Biden to extend the programs beyond the September deadline. Read the full story here.
Drought in US causes mandatory cuts in water supply
US officials have declared an official shortage in the massive reservoir of Lake Mead for the first time, triggering water cuts to the drought-stricken Southwest.
The shortage will reduce water allocation to Arizona, Nevada and Mexico for the year beginning in October, said the US Bureau of Reclamation.
Arizona will lose 18% of its annual apportionment, while Nevada will see cuts of 7%. The allotment for Mexico will be slashed by 5%.
The initial round of cutbacks will affect mainly farmers in the short term, but further drops in water levels could affect 25 million people in the cities of Los Angeles, San Diego, Phoenix, Tucson and Las Vegas.
Lake Mead, formed in the 1930s from the damming of the Colorado River at the Nevada-Arizona border, is the largest reservoir in the United States.
US expected to recommend vaccine boosters for all Americans regardless of age
Biden administration health officials are expected to recommend a third, Covid-19 booster shot for all Americans, regardless of age, with an announcement to come later this week, a source familiar with the plans confirmed to USA TODAY.
For those who qualify for the Child Tax Credit, 13 August was the day set for this month’s payments to families with children. However, as with the first round of payments, some may not receive theirs as expected.
The Child Tax Credit payments are part of the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, a stimulus bill signed into law by President Joe Biden to help the nation rebound from the coronavirus pandemic. The payments will total $3,600 per child age 6 and under, and $3,000 for kids ages 7 to 17.
If you didn't get your payment and think you were entitled to one, here's how to check the status of your Child Tax Credit payment...
Food stamp benefits receive record increase
(Reuters) - The US Agriculture Department is set to announce revised nutrition standards dramatically boosting average food stamp benefits, the agency confirmed on Sunday.
The New York Times first reported the plan to unveil the largest permanent benefits increase in the history of the government's primary anti-hunger program, saying the change would result in average benefits rising more than 25% compared to levels before the pandemic.
Under the new rules, average monthly benefits, $121 per person before the pandemic, will rise by $36 starting in October, the newspaper reported, adding that all 42 million people in the program would receive additional aid.
At the same time, a temporary 15% increase in benefits as part of pandemic relief is set to expire on 30 September. The $3.5 billion boost approved earlier this year provides about $27 more per person, per month, or over $100 more a month for a household of four, in additional food stamp benefits.
"Ensuring low-income families have access to a healthy diet helps prevent disease, supports children in the classroom, reduces health-care costs and more," US Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in a statement. "The additional money families will spend on groceries helps grow the food economy, creating thousands of new jobs along the way".
IRS reminder on Child Tax Credit
The Internal Revenue Service remind customers that Child Tax Credit payments are not considered income and will not affect your access to government benefits.
How to trigger the Child Tax Credit payments
The IRS has been working hard to get Child Tax Credit payments out to as many eligible families as possible, but were unable to send them to some households. The tax authority has based eligibility for the payments on information provided in the most recent tax return filings.
If you are not required to submit a tax return then the IRS may not have your details on file. If so, use this link to provide your personal and banking information to trigger the payments.
The Labor Department released their monthly jobs report last week, revealing the data for numbers of people in work in the US as well as average hourly earnings, important as the current inflation in the country is high.
The unemployment data will likely impact President Biden's next course of action as he attempts to steer the country through a difficult economic recovery. How will last week's promising jobs numbers impact the push for a fourth stimulus check?
"Direct payments as a result of the expanded Child Tax Credit are now in month two. In that time: - child poverty has been cut in HALF - we have seen a significant decrease in child hunger Our job now: extend the expanded Child Tax Credit. Let's get it done".
Child Tax Credit sees food insecurity falls by 24%
A study has found that food security has shrunk by almost a quarter since the start of the first round Child Tax Credit payments a month ago. On the passing of the Child Tax Credit as part of the American Rescue Plan back in March, the Biden administration said that the enhanced CTC would cut child poverty in half.
Schumer announces $1bn Great Lakes Restoration Initiative
Democratic senator and senate majority leader Chuck Schumer was in Tonawanda in New York, where he announced the $1 billion Great Lakes Restoration Initiative as part of the new bipartisan infrastructure bill.
US appeals court sets quick schedule to consider eviction ban
A three judge panel of the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia has set a fast-track schedule to consider whether to allow a new Biden administration covid-19 residential eviction ban to remain in place.
Lawyers for Alabama and Georgia realtors filed an emergency request at the weekend seeking to overturn the new 60-day eviction ban that was ordered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on 3 August.
On Friday, a US district court judge in Washington said he would have blocked the new ruling but said her hands were tied by an earlier appeals court ruling.
The appeals court said the Justice Department has until Tuesday at 9 a.m. EDT to respond and then lawyers for the landlords have until Wednesday at 9 a.m. EDT to reply. Both sides asked the court to rule by Thursday.
The White House said Friday it continues to urge state and local governments to quickly distribute $46.5 billion in emergency rental assistance funds approved by Congress.
Lawyers for the landlord and real estate groups on Saturday cited President Joe Biden's earlier statements in asking for a quick ruling.
"As the president himself has acknowledged, the CDC’s latest extension is little more than a delay tactic designed to buy time to distribute rental assistance," the groups said urging the appeals court to consider taking immediate action to block the eviction ban's enforcement.
Under heavy political pressure, the CDC reversed course on 3 August and issued a slightly narrower eviction moratorium just three days after the prior one expired. The current moratorium covers nearly 94% of US counties, but that could change based on covid-19 conditions.
More than 15 million people in 6.5 million US households are currently behind on rental payments, according to a study, and collectively owe more than $20 billion to landlords.
For more information on the progress of that petition and various others, you can read our coverage here.
Fourth stimulus check petition close to reaching target
The Change.org petition created by Stephanie Bonin, a Colorado restaurant owner, has been gaining traction since its creation last year. As of today, 2.818.540 people have signed the petition, close to the target of 3,000 signatures.
The petition calls on Congress “to make recurring checks automatic if certain triggers are met,” so that people will not have to wait around for the government to act. Those recurring checks would be “$2,000 payments for adults and $1,000 payment for kids."
Bonin, who fears for her financial future along with millions of Americans, wants the disbursements to be made monthly until the pandemic ends saying “Otherwise, laid-off workers, furloughed workers, the self-employed, and workers dealing with reduced hours will struggle to pay their rent or put food on the table.”
US consumer sentiment plummets in early August to decade low
US consumer sentiment dropped sharply in early August to its lowest level in a decade, in a worrying sign for the economy as Americans gave faltering outlooks on everything from personal finances to inflation and employment, a survey showed.
The unexpected reading could give Federal Reserve policymakers pause if it translates in the months ahead to a dent in economic activity. The central bank has been getting closer to a decision on when to begin pulling back the extraordinary stimulus it put in place to shield the economy from the covid-19 pandemic.
The University of Michigan said its preliminary consumer sentiment index fell to 70.2 in the first half of this month from a final reading of 81.2 in July. That was the lowest level since 2011, and there have been only two larger declines in the index over the past 50 years. Those were at the depths of the 2007-2009 recession and during the first wave of shutdowns in April 2020 at the beginning of the pandemic.
The losses were widespread across income, age, and education subgroups and spanned all regions. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast the index would remain unchanged at 81.2.
US stock market indexes slipped immediately after the report was released, while the price of gold gained ground. US Treasury bond yields hit session lows.
"The renewed plunge suggests the latest wave of virus cases driven by the Delta variant could be a bigger drag on the economy than we had thought," said Andrew Hunter, an economist at Capital Economics.
Economic growth is still expected to grow this year at its fastest pace in four decades after falling into a brief recession in 2020 caused by the coronavirus pandemic. But the recovery is showing some indication of cooling off.
Covid-19 cases have doubled in the past two weeks to reach a six-month peak as the more transmissible Delta variant spreads rapidly across the country. Labor shortages across the service sector also persist while supply chain disruptions have continued.
Stimulus checks and Child Tax Credit live updates: welcome
Hello and welcome to our live blog for Tuesday 17 August 2021, bringing you the latest news on a possible fourth stimulus check, and updates on the expanded Child Tax Credit, which saw around 36 million US families receive their second monthly payment at the weekend. We'll also provide information on other economic-aid measures in the United States, such as unemployment benefits and forthcoming changes to food assistance programs.