Fourth stimulus check news summary: 18 August 2021
Stimulus checks and Child Tax Credit: live updates, 18 August 2021
- President Biden approves largest increase in the value or food stamps, or SNAPbenefits, in the program's history (Full story)
- Wall Street slips after weak retail sales figures
-IRS still has nearly 30 million tax returns left to process. (Full story)
- How has the Child Tax Credit impacted hunger in the United States? (Further details)
- IRS sends out over $15 billion in the second round of Child Tax Credit payments, when should you expect yours? (Full Details)
Useful information / links
-Who is eligible to receive food stamps, or SNAP benefits? (Details)
- What is IRS TREAS 310 and how is it related to 2020 tax returns? (More info)
- Looking for guidance on how to track your August Child Tax Credit Payment?(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:
2021 Child Tax Credit helps families with back-to-school spending
Retail spending jumped in July concentrated in the days immediately following the receipt of the first of six advance payments from the 2021 Child Tax Credit. Department stores saw a nearly 45 percent increase in sales year-on-year, with apparel sales up 80 percent over last year according to a Mastercard SpendingPulse report.
Dems working to extend 2021 Child Tax Credit
The Child Tax Credit enhanced under the American Rescue Plan has already begun to help many families struggling from the fallout of the covid-19 pandemic and ensuing economic crisis through the advance payments on the credit. President Joe Biden and Democrats in Congress are working to extend the program as part of the budget proposal being hashed out in Congress. The changes to the program greatly increased the amount families could claim per child and expanded eligibility to lower-income households by making the credit fully refundable.
Although several progressives would like to make the changes permanent, President Biden has called for the changes to be extended at least until 2025. Yahoo Money reports that there may be changes to the credit, as well as shortening the extension to 2024 in order to make the refundable portion of the tax credit permanent which could reduce childhood poverty by over 40 percent this year.
This week the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced an increase in the value of food stamps, or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits as they are formally known.
The enhanced benefit which equals about $36.24 per person, per month, can be expected starting 1 October 2021.
Are you are eligible?Check out our guide
Food stamps for families: how much will the value go up and when?
Great news for families from the Department of Agriculture: the value of food stamps, or SNAP benefits will increase more than it has ever in the history of the program.
Read our fullcoverage for details on how much and when the larger payments can be expected.
Helpful reminder from the IRS for those who do not normally file taxes. In order to receive payments associated with the enhanced child tax credit, non-filers can use a tool launched by the IRS.
How long have tax refunds been delayed? Can I claim it?
Complaints over tax refunds week delays which have been increasingly gaining prominence on social media shows the IRS is still suffering the consequences of global pandemic.
According to the National Taxpayer Advocate, IRS is sill holding 29 million tax returns for manual processing.
Read our full coverage for more information on when you can expect your return.
How has the pandemic impacted GDP growth?
The Gross Domestic Product, GDP, "is the value of the goods and services produced by the nation’s economy less the value of the goods and services used up in production."
According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, GDP grew by 6.5 percent from May to June 2021. This figure is slightly higher than, 6.3 percent increase recorded from January to March 2021.
The GDP of the United States and basically every other country on earth took a huge hit when the pandemic began last year. During the same period, April to June 2021, the US GDP shrank by over 30 percent but thanks to government stimulus and assistance, it bouncedback rather quickly.
As the economy recovers and begins to stabilize, the rate of GDP growth is expected to slow.
Read more from the BEA here.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi throws support behind a reconciliation bill that includes the measure of Biden's Build Back Better Agenda that were left our of the bipartisan infrastructure bill.
As federal pandemic unemployment benefits inch closer to their end date, data shows that the number of claims continues to decrease.
Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics recorded 320,517 unemployment claims for federal programs for "the week ending August 7, a decrease of 5,198 (or -1.6 percent) from the previous week."
States with the highest increase of initial claims for the week ending on 31 July were "Indiana (+3,572), Georgia (+1,421), Rhode
Island (+1,285), Alabama (+1,226), and Illinois (+1,160)."
States that saw the largest decrease in initial claims were, "Pennsylvania (-6,113), Texas (-3,745), Michigan (-3,060), [and] Tennessee (-3,000)"
Interested in learning more about how many people could lose benefits come September? Check out our full coverage.
Are real wages increasing in the United States?
With much talk of businesses offering higher wages to attract workers, new data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that "real hourly earnings" are down 1.2 percent for the year.
Real earnings are calculated "by dividing average hourly earnings and average weekly earnings by the BLS Consumer Price Indexes." Meaning that when prices are increasing and wages are not, the real earnings decrease. When prices remain constant but wages increase, real earnings would increase.
So while businesses may be offering higher wages to attract workers, those increases are offset by the increases in prices being seen across the country.
US retail sales drop in July on weak autos
US retail sales fell more than expected in July as shortages weighed on purchases of motor vehicles and other goods, but spending on services could keep the economy on a strong growth path in the third quarter.
Retail sales dropped 1.1% last month, the Commerce Department said on Tuesday. Online sales tumbled, payback after Amazon pulled forward its Prime Day to June from July. Data for June was revised up to show retail sales increasing 0.7% instead of rising 0.6% as previously reported. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast retail sales slipping 0.3%.
Motor vehicle production has been hampered by a global shortage of semiconductors. The scarcity of chips has also impacted the availability of some household appliances like microwaves and fridges.
"Even as demand remains strong, motor vehicle sales have continued to fall over the past few months as the semiconductor shortages have made it difficult for consumers to find vehicles they want regardless of the price," said Sam Bullard, a senior economist at Wells Fargo in Charlotte, North Carolina.
The last round of Child Tax Credit payments were sent on August 13 and you may be wondering how long the money could take to arrive in your bank account.
Delta variant dents consumer confidence
"It is possible that rising covid cases caused by the Delta variant are beginning to dent consumer sentiment, but the fact that restaurant spending increased during the month suggests that such concerns are modest. Retail sales are not adjusted for inflation, and it may be that recent price growth is starting to affect sales volume," said Curt Long, chief economist and vice president at the National Association of Federal Credit Unions.
Fed Chair Jerome Powell said recently that it remained unclear whether the Delta spread will have a noticeable impact on the economy, adding that many companies have been able to adapt.
Child Tax Credit sees poverty drop in US
Vox reporter Dylan Matthews explores the drop in US poverty during the Covid pandemic
Wall Street slumps after weak retail sales
Wall Street's main indexes slid on Tuesday, with the S&P 500 logging its biggest one-day percentage fall in about a month, weighed down by a drop in U.S. retail sales that raised concerns about the economic recovery, as well as by disappointing results from Home Depot.
Most of the S&P 500's sectors finished lower, with consumer discretionary the weakest performer, falling 2.3%. Home Depot shares fell 4.3% after the company's U.S. same-store sales fell short of estimates for the first time in nearly two years as pandemic-fueled do-it-yourself projects tapered off. Shares of rival Lowe's Companies dropped 5.8%.
IRS notify grandparents over Child Tax Credit
The Internal Revenue Service inform grandparents raising grandchildren that they may qualify for advance monthly payments of the 2021 CTC.
New data shows the the first payment of the Child Tax Credit cut child hunger by 3%. Our team took a look at the other impacts the credits had on households.
Surging covid-19 cases are putting the return to school under threat and states are taking measures to ensure the safety of pupils and teachers.
Stimulus checks and Child Tax Credit live updates: welcome
Hello and welcome to our live blog for Wednesday 18 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.