Fourth stimulus check news summary | 3 October 2021

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Fourth stimulus check live updates: spending bill, social security benefits, Child Tax Credit...

Stimulus checks and Child Tax Credit: live updates, Sunday 3 October 2021

Headlines

- $3.5tn reconciliation bill would lower Medicare eligibility age from 65 to 60.

- Congress prevents govternment shutdown until 3 December after passing stop-gap spending bill.

- Treasury Secretary Yellen sounds alarm over federal government running out money.

Useful information

Stimulus checks

- States to offer additional stimulus checks in October.

- Petition demanding recurring stimulus checks nears 3m signatures.

Golden State Stimulus

- When will the payments arrive and who qualifies?

Medicare and Social Security

- At what age is Social Security no longer taxed in the US?

- When are the 2021 and 2022 Social Security payment dates?

- How much is the maximum monthly Social Security payment?

- What are the Social Security disability benefits by state?

- 2022 Social Security "Cost-of-Living Adjustment" - the lowdown.

Take a look at some of our related news articles:

Stimulus Checks

How much were the first, second and third stimulus checks and when were they sent out?

We take a look at each of the three federal stimulus checks that have been sent out in the United States since the start of the covid-19 pandemic.

Unemployment benefits

Unemployment benefits: How will states return payments to the central government?

When the pandemic took hold in the United States back in March 2020, Congress quickly passed the CARES Act, which made significant changes to unemployment insurance. Through two main programs, the federal government was able to extend the number of weeks those unemployed could claim benefits and increased the value of their benefits.

At one stage there were more than 29 million people claiming unemployment benefits. Clearly, this was to cost a significant amount of money. Usually states pay for unemployment benefits out of their own funds but the federal government had to step in due to the huge numbers of unemployed.

Now they want their money back.

Senator Sinema is wrong. From day one it has been clear, the President of the United States has said it, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has made it clear, Senator Schumer has made it clear, both of these bills are going forward in tandem. They have to be passed together.

Bernie Sanders, Senator (Vermont)

I'm a former Mayor, I know how much we have to address our crumbling infrastructure... but I also know that there are people in this country who cannot chew food because they have no teeth in their mouth. I know the American people are sick and tired of paying ten times more for prescription drugs than the people of Canada.

Bernie Sanders, Senator (Vermont)

I also know the scientists are telling us that if we do not act boldly in terms of cutting carbon emissions, then the planet we leave our kids and grandkids will be increasingly uninhabitable... We are taking on the entire ruling class of this country. [Big corporations] are spending hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars to prevent us giving the American people what they want.

Bernie Sanders, Senator (Vermont)

"People have made it clear... both of these bills are going forward in tandem"

Senator Bernie Sanders has been speaking to ABC news about Senator Sinema's reaction to the failure of the House to pass the Infrastructure bill.

His comments can be found above.

Progressive caucus chief rules out pared down reconciliation bill

Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) said on Sunday she was not willing to go as low as $1.5 trillion in negotiations for the Democratic-backed reconciliation bill that has stalled in Congress after that price tag was floated by Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) last week.

"Well, that's not going to happen," she told Bash on CNN's "State of the Union." "That's too small to get our priorities in. So, it's going to be somewhere between $1.5 and $3.5." 

A $1.5 trillion bill would almost certainly be the death of an extension of the Child Tax Credit to 2025, at least in its current form, one of the progressive priorities.

SOCIAL SECURITY BENEFITS

What qualifies a child for social security benefits?

Across 2020 the Social Security Administration (SSA) provided $2.8 billion in monthly financial assistance to around four million children, as well as millions more retirees and those with at one or both parents are disabled, retired, or deceased. 

However the eligibility requirements for a child to receive a Social Security payment are slightly more confusing than they are for adults. We take a look at who can qualify...

Read more

Rep. Tonko supports Build Back Better proposals

President Biden is looking to build support in Congress for the remaining elements of his Build Back Better agenda, which includes a huge infrastructure proposals and a package intitially unveiled as the 'American Families Plan'. 

Democrat Rep. Paul Tonko has voiced his support for the legislation, saying that the Build Back Better Act: "Supports middle/lower income tax cuts w more support to vital & hugely successful programs like Child Tax Credit benefit"

SOCIAL SECURITY BENEFITS

What qualifies a divorced spouse for social security checks?

Building up a retirement fund requires putting in time and effort, and the better your earnings during your working years, the more you can expect to receive from Social Security benefits. 

However, sometimes one spouse forgoes their career opportunities for the sake of their spouse’s career or for their family. It is for situations such as this that the Social Security entitlement is often split between people in the case of a divorce, but what qualifies a former spouse for the payment?

Read more

You can still sign up for the Child Tax Credit

The fourth round of payments as part of the expanded Child Tax Credit will be sent out later this month, but there is concern that many low-income families are not yet enrolled in the vital programme. If you think you should qualify, but have not yet received a payment, you may need to provide your personal and banking details to the IRS to trigger the monthly payments...

DEBT CEILING

Is the US federal government really running out of money?

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has warned that the US government will run out of cash by 18 October unless Congress agrees to increase the debt limit. "It is uncertain whether we could continue to meet all the nation's commitments after that date," Yellen's wrote.

However that date is just an estimation based on tax payments and the true cut-off point could vary as government's cash flows are "subject to unavoidable variability." If a solution can't be agreed by then the United States could default on its debt for the first time in history, sending financial markets into a tailspin. 

Read more

“Nearly 50 million seniors could stop receiving Social Security payments or receive them delayed."

“Our troops would not know when they would get their next paycheck. We have 30 million families who rely on the monthly Child Tax Credits and they would not receive that relief, at least not on time.”

Janet Yellen, Treasury Secretary

STIMULUS CHECKS

Which states will pay additional stimulus money in October 2021?

Democrats in Congress are struggling to find a common ground on the huge reconciliation proposal put forward by President Biden in order to fund his ambitious legislative agenda. With the bill as the priority, hopes of a fourth stimulus check from the federal government have faded, but many states and local authorities are choosing to distribute their own direct payments to residents. 

Read more

Struggling families could afford food thanks to Child Tax Credit

Speaking before lawmakers at a House Financial Services Committee’s hearing entitled “Oversight of the Treasury Department’s and Federal Reserve’s Pandemic Response", Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen outlined the importance of extending the Child Tax Credit. The expanded programme, which went into force in July, was only funded for a single year and will soon come to an end if not extended by Congress. 

“Thanks to the American Rescue Plan, families across the country will begin receiving monthly Child Tax Credit payments today. In our community, nearly 3 in 4 children will receive these payments, putting money in the pockets of parents to help pay for mortgages, child care, summer learning, and more, as we continue to recover economically from the pandemic."

“The Child Tax Credit will deliver critical resources to families when they need it most, but let’s be clear: families need support well beyond this pandemic. I’m fighting in Congress to permanently expand these Child Tax Credit payments, so our families have the resources needed to thrive this month and into the future.” 

Rep. Lauren Underwood, Remarks on the Child Tax Credit

Child Tax Credit could slash childhood poverty

Proponents of the Child Tax Credit expansion are outlining the benefits that the programme could bring. New research by Gregory Acs of the Urban Institute, and Kevin Werner, a research analyst in the income and benefits policy center, has suggested that an extension beyond 2021 could result in a 40% decrease in childhood poverty. In 11 states, the programme could halve foos insecurity. 

biden

Biden says he'll 'work like hell' to pass bills

US President Joe Biden said on Saturday he was going to "work like hell" to get both an infrastructure bill and a multi-trillion-dollar social spending bill passed through Congress and plans to travel more to bolster support with Americans.

Biden visited the Capitol on Friday to try to end a fight between moderates and left-leaning progressives in his Democratic Party that has threatened the two bills that make up the core of his domestic agenda.

The president on Saturday acknowledged criticism that he had not done more to gin up support for the bills by traveling around the country. He noted there were many reasons for that, including his focus on hurricane and storm damage during recent trips, among other things.

Biden said he would be going around the country "making the case why it's so important" and making it clearer to people what is in the two bills.

He said he wanted with the bills to make life more livable for ordinary Americans by making child care affordable, for example.

"There's nothing in any of these pieces of legislation that's radical, that is unreasonable," Biden said. "I'm going to try to sell what I think the people, the American people, will buy."

Biden expressed confidence that both bills would get passed but declined to set a deadline, such as the November Thanksgiving holiday, for when that would happen.

"I believe I can get this done," Biden said.

Photo: REUTERS/Al Drago

Every AS USA article on stimulus checks

In AS USA's dedicated stimulus checks section, you'll find news articles offering updates on a possible fourth direct federal payment in the United States, as well as information on other, similar schemes such as the Golden State Stimulus in California.

Take a look at AS USA's stimulus checks section

MEDICARE NEWS

What are the different types of Medicare Advantage plans?

Many Medicare beneficiaries opt to boost their coverage by adding an Advantage Plan.

Our team took a look at what kinds of plans are available

US NEWS

Medicare vs Medicaid: what are the differences?

In the United States, there are two semi-public health insurance schemes: Medicare and Medicaid.

What are the main differences between the programs?

Social Security

When are the Social Security pay dates for 2021 and 2022? Full schedule by month

Thanks to the skin-of-the-teeth passing of the stopgap funding bill on Thursday night, there should not be any delays in the sending of federal payments. Some of the most important are Social Security, which tens of millions of Americans access throughout the year.

Check out the payment schedule for 2021 and 2022

Social Security

What is the maximum amount you can earn from Social Security in 2021?

Despite the turmoil of this week's debt limit being reached, and the potential impact it could have had on Social Security payments, the news of the short-term spending bill is only good news for recipients. Payments will continue as usual.

The terms of how much money payments will be for seniors depends mostly on the age of retirement. The most an individual who files a claim for Social Security retirement benefits in 2021 can receive per month is:

- $3,895 for someone who files at age 70,

- $3,148 for someone who files at full retirement age (currently 66 and 2 months),

- $2,324 for someone who files at 62.

Further details

Unemployment benefits

How many unemployment claims have there been in September 2021?

September saw more than 1 million new applications for unemployment benefits, a large number but well below previous pandemic months.

Full details

Child Tax Credit: useful online tools

The IRS has created a series of online tools for claimants of the expanded Child Tax Credit, which has so far seen three monthly payments go out to qualifying households.

The Eligibility Assistant allows parents to check whether they qualify for the credit, while Update Portal enables Americans to see whether they’re enrolled for monthly payments, unenroll from monthly payments and change their bank/contact details.

Meanwhile, the Non-filer Sign-up Tool allows parents who do not submit a tax return to register for the scheme.

You'll also find a frequently-asked-questions page on the IRS website, in addition to the following video explainer on the Child Tax Credit:

FOURTH STIMULUS CHECK

Fourth stimulus check: how many signatures does the petition for the new payment have?

A Change.org petition urging Congress to approve recurring stimulus checks worth up to $2,000 has reached nearly 3m signatures.

"Supplying Americans with monthly support until they can get back on their feet can save our communities from financial ruin," said the petition's creator, Colorado restaurant owner Stephanie Bonin.

Find out more

Sign the petition

US NEWS

Would the $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill lower the Medicare eligibility age?

Democrats have finalized their $3.5 reconciliation bill, and one major aspect would be the lowering of the Medicare eligibility age to 60.

Full story

STIMULUS CHECKS

Which states will pay additional stimulus money in October 2021?

Despite the inaction in Washington on calls for additional stimulus checks, some states will be sending residents pandemic economic aid this month.

Full details

Stimulus Checks

How much were the first, second and third stimulus checks and when were they sent out?

So far, three stimulus checks have been sent out by the US federal government since the covid-19 pandemic began in 2020.

We take a look at each of the direct payments

Welcome to our stimulus checks and Child Tax Credit live feed

Hello and welcome to our live feed for Sunday 3 October, as we bring you the latest news on a potential fourth federal stimulus check in the United States. We'll also provide you with information on the monthly Child Tax Credit scheme - which has so far seen three payments of up to $300 go out to eligible households - and on other benefits available to Americans. We'll likewise offer updates on negotiations in Congress over the Democrats' $3.5tn reconciliation bill.

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