Fourth stimulus check live updates: new payment in California, unemployment benefits, Child Tax Credit...
US stimulus checks: live updates | 4 September
- US job report could pause stimulus unwind, as rise in Delta variant overwhelms
- Senator Manchin wants a pause in Democrats' push for $3.5 trillion spending bill
- First batch of California's $600 Golden State stimulus checks are heading out the door. (Full story)
- To support immigrant families, members of mixed-status households can claim a Golden State stimulus check. (Full story)
- Federal unemployment benefits are set to end on 6 September. Will California and NY and others continue the payments? (Full story)
Useful information / links
- Golden State Stimulus Checks | How to track your payment (Details)
- Third Child Tax Credit payment will be sent on 15 September, when is the last day to opt-out? (Details)
- What's the proposal in Congress to regulate tax preparers? (Details)
- What pandemic programs will remain once extra unemployment benefits end? (More info)
Take a look at some of our related news articles:
More than 40 contenders are competing to replace California Governor Gavin Newsom, but only a handful have a chance. Here’s a look at them...
IRS confirms payment rates
The Internal Revenue Service today announced that interest rates will remain the same for the calendar quarter beginning October 1, 2021. The rates will be 3% for overpayments and underpayments for the fourth quarter of 2021
Although a fourth stimulus check doesn’t look likely in September, some states will be sending certain residents a little extra money in September.
Rental assistance for Californian tenants and landlords
California is offering $5.2 billion in rental assistance to all low-income residents regardless of immigration status to cover 100 percent of past or future rent. Tenants and landlords that apply can receive 100 percent of rent owed from April 2020 and through September 2021. California’s eviction moratorium is set to expire 30 September.
Celebrating Labor Day? Let’s celebrate by using our collective influence to make work pay livable wages to every worker. No less than $20 per hour, paid leave, unemployment insurance, healthcare, pension plans, and RESPECT!
California to take new applications for small business covid-19 relief
Round 9 of the California Small Business COVID-19 Relief Grant Program will begin 9 September when small businesses and non-profit organizations and run until 30 September. New applications for nonprofit cultural organizations are still being accepted for round 8 until 8 September.
The latest jobs report from August was a disappointment, missing analysts' forecasts, economists say the culprit is the surge in covid-19 cases.
Those who lost work as a direct result of the Dixie Fire in Plumas and Lassen Counties, and the River Fire in Placer and Nevada counties, are eligible to apply for DUA benefits.
Unemployment benefits need an overhaul
Rebecca Dixon, executive director of the National Employment Law Project, argues that the unemployment insurance systems across the US are inadequate and must be overhauled. Unemployment compensation varies from state to state, unemployment benefits replace only 44 percent of workers’ wages on average nationally, but in many states the replacement rates are far lower. There is also the problem who can receive jobless aid, in 2019 the national average was just 28 percent of unemployed workers receiving compensation.
Through the federal covid-19 relief programs benefits were greatly increased and workers who normally couldn’t receive income support while out of work could claim benefits. But as Ms Dixon says “As crucial as they are, the federal pandemic unemployment programs merely paper over a deeply flawed unemployment insurance system.”
Canceling $50,000 in student loan debt is one of the most effective executive actions that President Biden could take to provide a massive stimulus for our economy and help close the racial wealth gap. The President can and must #CancelStudentDebt.
IRS warns of increased stimulus check scams
The IRS is warning taxpayers that the agency has detected scams attempts not seen in a decade related to hucksters using covid-19 relief programs to get personal information from individuals. The thieves are sending unwitting people text and email messages to trick would-be victims into giving out their personal details or submitting a payment via communications that attempt to mirror legitimate ones from the IRS.
The tax agency reminds people that the IRS does not send out unsolicited text or emails and to look out for grammatical, capitalization and spelling errors, which the agency says are indicators of fraud.
Will California’s Golden State Stimulus save Newsom?
Governor Gavin Newsom is facing a recall election on 14 September, at the moment he has a healthy lead in the polls and is ticking up just as the California Franchise Tax Board has begun sending out a second round of Golden State Stimulus checks. His opponents say that the second round of the stimulus program is just a gimmick to buy votes, by law he had to give residents a tax rebate after the state experienced a record budget surplus in 2020, but he had two years in which to give the money back.
However, some voters in the state are upset that they were left out of the latest scheme. Many retirees, veterans and disabled Californians who live on fixed incomes will not receive a payment this time around. In order to qualify residents had to “earn” at least $1 and less than $75,000 of reportable income. Since benefits aren’t considered “earned” income, they do not qualify. Will these voters come out against Newsom in the upcoming recall?
For residents of California, the pandemic unemployment benefits will end today, Saturday 4 September 2021. A number of aid programs are due to expire.
"Our country is facing record inflation, raising the costs of everyday goods and services. It’s past time to get our spending in check, and not spend $3.5 trillion while middle-class families and small businesses foot the bill".
Millions of Americans are to have their extra unemployment benefits stopped at the start of next week but it looks like states have no intention of extending them, despite calls from Biden's camp.
"The Republicans running for this Senate seat opposed expanding the Child Tax Credit. If they don’t think PA families deserve our support, they don’t deserve to represent you. Instead, we need leaders who’ll make this tax credit permanent. I will".
"Many billionaires pay less federal tax in a given year than you do"
US Senator for Vermont Bernie Sanders delivered a speech in which he made a renewed call for a tax hike on some of America's wealthiest people, "They've got so much money they can't even spend it here on earth, they're off buying spaceships".
US economy growing at the fastest rate in 40 years - Biden
President Joe Biden took to Twitter on Saturday to give an update on the US' recovery, which he says has been a success story this year. "Our economy grew in the first half of the year at the fastest rate in about 40 years. Despite the impact of the Delta variant, what we are seeing is a strong and durable economic recovery. America is on the move again," he tweeted.
Maine leads the field in distributing rental relief
Only about 11% of federal funds from the $46.5 billion Emergency Rental Assistance program have been distributed by state and local governments to tenants and landlords who are feeling the strain of the pandemic. Some states have yet to release any economic aid at all. That cannot be said of Maine, who had dished out more than $46 million to more than 9,200 households by the end of July.
Over 60% of vulnerable tenants are estimated not to have applied for the two Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) Programs, most probably because they don’t know about it.
"Gaining access to affordable, reliable broadband is critical to America's competitiveness. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act, invests $65B in broadband bringing us closer to providing every American with access to high-speed, affordable, & reliable Internet".
Golden State stimulus checks worth $600 begin to hit bank accounts after being signed into law by Gov. Newsom on 13 July.
Biden's "historic momentum’ promises more economic aid for Americans
President Biden may not be thinking about another round of stimulus checks for the time being but other aid programs and projects are being lined up to help struggling Americans. Biden said in declarations picked up by Fox News, "The second thing that has to happen in September is for the Congress, the House and Senate, to finish passing my economic agenda so that we can keep up the historic momentum we’ve been building. It’s about investing in America’s future. Not about short-term stimulus. That’s not what we’re talking about. These are long-term prosperity we’re talking about. Creating millions of good-paying jobs for hardworking Americans. It's about reducing bottlenecks in our economy, about reducing long-term price pressures.”
If is passed by the Senate and signed into law, the American Families Plan promises to extend the Child Tax Credit for an additional four years.
Manchin calls for "strategic pause" on $3.5 trillion budget package
Senator for West Virginia Joe Manchin has requested that Democrats put President Biden's $3.5 trillion budget plan on the back burner.
In his opinion piece for the Wall Street Journal entitled, Why I Won’t Support Spending Another $3.5 Trillion, Manchin voiced criticism for the package. ""The nation faces an unprecedented array of challenges and will inevitably encounter additional crises in the future. Yet some in Congress have a strange belief there is an infinite supply of money to deal with any current or future crisis, and that spending trillions upon trillions will have no negative consequence for the future. I disagree. An overheating economy has imposed a costly “inflation tax” on every middle- and working-class American. At $28.7 trillion and growing, the nation’s debt has reached record levels. Over the past 18 months, we’ve spent more than $5 trillion responding to the coronavirus pandemic. Now Democratic congressional leaders propose to pass the largest single spending bill in history with no regard to rising inflation, crippling debt or the inevitability of future crises. Ignoring the fiscal consequences of our policy choices will create a disastrous future for the next generation of Americans".
America's jobs recovery figures slump
America's jobs recovery showed signs that it is struggling with the figures for August showing that fewer jobs were created than hoped. The US economy added just 235,000 jobs during August; the unemployment rate was 5.2%, down from 5.4 % in July. Glassdoor Senior Economist Daniel Zhao told CNN Business that surging cases of Covid-19 are partly to blame for the dip in numbers. The seven-day average of Covid-19 cases in the US was just under 130,000 cases per day by the end of August, the seven-day average for hospital admissions was 11,533 per day while the average figure for deaths related to Covid-19 was 896 per day.
Current US jobs figures are 5.3 million down on those from February 2020 when the pandemic began.
Zhao explained, "Delta is reducing consumer demand and threatening the reopening. Ultimately it's just a harsh reminder that the pandemic has control of our destiny".
Infrastructure focus as Sen. Cassidy meets Pres. Biden
Louisiana GOP Senator Bill Cassidy tweeted out what was said with President Joe Biden when he arrived at New Orleans airport yesterday to get first-hand sight of the damage caused by Hurricane Ida. Infrastructure was key.
'Met the president at the tarmac. We spoke about the need for resiliency. We agreed putting power lines beneath the ground would have avoided all of this. The infrastructure bill has billions for grid resiliency.
'We also spoke about the needs of southwest Louisiana. And he said that he is committed to it and that it will happen in the upcoming annual budget. We must make sure that everyone in Louisiana and the northeast U.S. is cared for after this disaster'
Stimulus measure unwind pause likely after job report
In retrospect it seems so obvious. A non-farm payroll report published on 3 September showed that 235,000 jobs were created in America in August, down from a monthly average of more than 1 million since June. The sharp deceleration came as daily covid-19 cases soared to their highest levels since the start of the year. In driving up America’s covid-19 infections sharply, the fearsome Delta variant also weighed down the economy.
Surprisingly, though, the soft patch caught most economists off guard. They had expected 720,000 new jobs, according to a survey by Dow Jones, a newswire. The Delta variant’s fingerprints were all over the slowdown. Hiring all but stopped at workplaces that bring people into close contact with each other, notably restaurants. The hospitality and leisure sector went from creating a monthly average of 350,000 new jobs over the past six months to none in August.
The Economist delves in.
Student stimulus - debt cancellation
Biden has cancelled more student loans than any president in history. This includes:
- $5.8 billion of student loans for student loan borrowers with a total and permanent disability;
- $1.3 billion in student loan cancellation for 41,000 student loan borrowers in March;
- more than $1.5 billion in student loans through the borrower defense to repayment process for nearly 92,000 student loan borrowers; and
- another $1.1 billion in student loans cancelled through borrower defense to repayment.
Zack Friedman brings you more on the heroes and villains of the student debt cancellation.
California Franchise Tax Board (CFTB) has now started distributing stimulus checks as part of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s $100 billion California Comeback Plan. The massive state-wide relief package is designed to provide fresh impetus to the state’s economic recovery at a time when the national recovery appears to be stalling.
One of the key features of the bill was a round of $600 stimulus checks that will be sent to around two-thirds of all Californians. All taxpayers who make up to $75,000 annually will be sent a direct payment, provided they did not receive the recent Golden State Stimulus check.
"I say to my colleagues in Congress: This tax cut for working families is something we should extend, not end, next year.
"And I say to all of you watching: Make sure your family, friends, and community know about this tax cut. Send to them, as I said, ChildTaxCredit.gov to learn more about the difference this is going to make in their lives."
Mail worker jailed for stealing stimulus checks
A statement from the US attorney's office in Boston said that Angela Gomez, 40, of Lynn, had stolen roughly $5,000 in stimulus check payments from her job as a USPS worker. She has been sentenced to three months in prison and ordered to pay back the money stolen, which also included another $16,000 in fraudulent purchases and ATM withdrawals.
If you think you may have had a stimulus check payment lost or stolen, check out the IRS' guidance: Payment Issued but Lost, Stolen, Destroyed or Not Received
Progressives call for additional stimulus spending
The underwhelming jobs report released yesterday has left many feeling that more needs to be done to ensure that the US' economic recovery does not stagnate. President Biden has dismissed the need for an extension the additional unemployment benefits that end this weekend, but progressives from within his own party argue that more needs to be done. An extension of the expanded Child Tax Credit is at the top of their wish list.
The US has sent out three rounds of stimulus checks since the covid-19 pandemic induced economic crisis began in the spring of 2020. Eligible Americans received up to $3,200 from Uncle Sam and some are still seeing additional payments from the Economic Impact Payments.
California is sending $600 stimulus checks to two-thirds of residents and some other states and local authorities have followed suit with their own direct payments. Could you be in line for another stimulus check payment?
More calls for recurring automatic stimulus checks
For now, President Biden is concentrating on other legislative priorities and the push for a fourth stimulus check is currently in a bit of a lull. However many activists have not given up the fight and are calling for recurring stimulus checks to become part of US society.
Scott Santens, advocate for a universal basic income, argues that making recurring stimulus checks a part of American life would provide financial recompense for those who carry out unpaid labour, such as childcare or looking after elderly relatives.
he expanded Child Tax Credit was designed to provide additional support for American families as they struggle through the economic fallout of the pandemic. Currently, the beefed-up programme is only funded for one year but there are hopes that it can be extended further.
The early signs suggest that it is having a positive effect on American society and has been linked to an increase in household income for July, the first month in which the payments were sent. But will this have any impact on the efforts to see the monthly payments continue beyond next year?
The real cost of not extending the Child Tax Credit
Sen. Cory Booker has been a long-time proponent of an expanded Child Tax Credit and he is again calling for Congress to pass an extension of the new programme. Parents will receive a monthly payment worth up to $300 per child, but there is currently only funding for one year of the payments.
Booker states that the overall cost of childhood poverty to the United States is $1 trillion per year.
The California Legislature approved a second round of Golden State Stimulus checks after the state ended up with a record budget surplus. The new round of economic aid to Californians raised the eligibility ceiling to make around two thirds of the state’s residents eligible for the payments.
Some lucky residents who received a payment in the first round will get an additional payment in the latest round. Those with dependents and those who file taxes with an ITIN and didn’t qualify for the federal Economic Impact Payments.
Child Tax Credit payments keep three million out of poverty
The Democrats have been on a PR drive in recent weeks to push for an extension of the expanded Child Tax Credit, which is currently only funded for a single year. Both President Biden and many progressives in Congress are eager to see it extended and the early data shows why.
The first month of payments alone, which was sent out in July, have been linked to a 25% decrease in childhood poverty, meaning that around three million children stayed above the poverty line. Results like this make it likely that Biden will find the votes in Congress to extend it, or even make it permanent.
Golden State stimulus checks are on the way
An estimated two-thirds of Californians are in line to receive a $600 stimulus check as part of the California Comeback Plan. The $100 billion package was signd into law by Gov. Gavin Newsom earlier this year but it has taken some time for the California Franchise Tax Board (CFTB) to administrate the massive undertaking.
However earlier this week the first waves of payments were sent out to eligible residents, and the CFTB will continue to do so for weeks to come.
On Friday the Labor Department released the August jobs report and it made pretty underwhelming reading for President Biden. The US jobs market added around 235,000 new jobs during the month of August, far less than the 1.05 million added the month before and around a third as many as economists had predicted.
The stagnating rate of unemployment decrease will be of grave concern for the 7.5 million out-of-work Americans who are set to lose their unemployment benefits this weekend. The pandemic additional jobless payments have been in place since March 2020 but Biden has allowed them to lapse, saying that now is the time for a return to normality.
True state of US economy expected when pandemic unemployment benefits expire
The US economy came surging back from the depths of the pandemic-induced economic crisis fueled by historic stimulus and covid-19 relief measures. These pumped vast amounts of money into the households, businesses and local coffers.
One measure that kept many households going after losing work due to the pandemic were enhanced federal unemployment benefits which were last extended under the American Rescue Plan. They will finally expire on Labor Day with no additional federal extension in the works, nor state plans to continue the enhanced jobless aid even where unemployment remains stubbornly high.
Prior to the federal expiration date 26 states opted to cut the benefits early hoping to spur people back into the labor market, blaming the income support for creating labor shortages. The ceasing of those weekly payments didn’t have the large gains in employment that had been expected, but did deny those states’ economies of extra federal funds channeled through the unemployed. Now the states that remained in the programs will also lose the federal funds and the true state of the US economy will be seen just as the nation is experiencing another surge of covid-19.
2021 Child Tax Credit booster for local economies
The advance payments on the 2021 Child Tax Credit are making a difference for millions of families across the US giving them some financial stability. That money is also expected to give local economies and government coffers additional injections of cash as well. In Indiana alone consumer spending could increase by $700 million according to a recent report. This could lead to the creation of almost 14,000 full-time jobs. All this would translate into more revenue for the state of just shy of $61 million.
States won’t continue pandemic unemployment benefits
Labor Day will mark the end of the federal pandemic unemployment benefits put in place to help the millions of Americans who found themselves out of work because of covid-19. Around 7.5 million Americans are expected to go over a benefits cliff when those programs expire in the states which chose to continue the programs until the expiration date.
States that still have higher than normal unemployment rates were urged to use stimulus funds from the covid-19 relief bills to keep some of the programs going, but it appears that won’t happen. Business Insider reports that Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh hasn’t heard from any of the states regarding extending enhanced payments. This comes as job growth in the US experienced its lowest jobs growth in seven months due to the Delta variant of the covid-19 virus.
Delta variant curbs US job growth, August saw slowest growth in seven months
US employment growth likely pulled back in August after gaining nearly 2 million jobs in the past two months as soaring covid-19 cases reduced demand for travel and entertainment, but the pace was probably enough to sustain the economic expansion.
The Labor Department's closely watched employment report on Friday would come as economists have been sharply marking down their estimates for the third quarter gross domestic product.
Reasons cited include the resurgence in infections, driven by the Delta variant of the coronavirus, and relentless shortages of raw materials, which are depressing automobile sales and restocking.
Surging covid-19 cases could also have kept some unemployed people home, frustrating efforts by employers to boost hiring.
"The Delta variant is like a sandstorm in an otherwise sunny economy," said Sung Won Sohn, a finance and economics professor at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. "If it weren't for that, employment in August would have been even higher."
According to a Reuters survey of economists nonfarm payrolls likely increased by 750,000 jobs last month. The economy created 1.881 million jobs in June and July. Should job growth in August meet expectations, that would leave the level of employment about 5 million jobs below its peak in February 2020.
But the forecast is highly uncertain, with estimates ranging from 375,000 to 1.027 million.
Stimulus checks and Child Tax Credit live updates: welcome
Hello and welcome to our live blog on Saturday 4 September 2021, providing you with the latest updates on a potential fourth stimulus check, and information on the expanded Child Tax Credit, a scheme which so far has seen two monthly payments of up to $300 per child go out to qualifying American households.
We'll also bring you news on other economic-aid measures in the US, such as unemployment benefits and food assistance programs.