Fourth stimulus check news summary: 4 October 2021



Stimulus checks & spending bill updates


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

- September saw more than 1 million new applications for unemployment benefits

- Some states will send an additional stimulus check to residents this month.

- States unemployment benefit trusts are nearly out of cash across the nation and leaders are deciding the best path forward.

- Yearly maximums for social security benefits are soon to be released for 2022.

Useful information

Golden State Stimulus

- When will the payments arrive and who qualifies?

Medicare and Social Security

- 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.

- Medicare Advantage Plans - a guide.

Take a look at some of our related news articles:

 Ocasio-Cortez on Progressive maths

House Progressives held their ground this week and denied a vote on a bipartisan infrastructure bill until a deal on a larger human infrastructure deal could be reached.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez joined NBC’s Mehdi Hasan to discuss where negotiations stand. Rep. Ocasio-Cortez also talked about her controversial ‘present’ vote on additional funding for Israel's Iron Dome defense system.

Listen to what she had to say.

Means testing Child Tax Credit could limit social ladder movement

Lowering the threshold for the Child Tax Credit may act as a work disincentive. The phaseout for the tax credit is so high meaning parents still receive a significant amount even if their income increases. However, if this is lowered it could discourage people from advancing at work because it means they’ll lose their credit or see it significantly decrease.

“You could imagine shaving that down, it’s saving some money. But ... there’s always going to be those trade-offs between those work incentive aspects, and then the costs,” said Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach, the director of the Institute for Policy Research at Northwestern University, who helped spearhead a letter signed by more than 400 economists advocating for an extension of the expanded child tax credit last month.


When is Social Security COLA for benefits in 2022 announced?

Inflation has been rising at a record pace in 2021 as the economy rebounds from the pandemic, this is not uncommon. Although many Social Security beneficiaries whose income is fixed are experiencing the pain of higher prices right now, that high inflation will translate into a record increase in benefits.

Every year the Social Security Administration gears what it pays in monthly benefits through the annual Cost-Of-Living-Adjustment (COLA). Social Security benefits are one of the few types of incomes retirees receive that is adjusted for inflation. The COLA for 2022 will be announced in October when the US Bureau of Labor Statics releases its final month of the third quarter Consumer Price Index data.

Child Tax Credit or weapons?

There are just three child tax credit payments left to distribute this year, but there is already growing evidence that the plan to help lift families out of poverty is working. Families are building up much-needed emergency funds, digging out of debt and setting aside money for college. This makes a strong case for Congress to prioritize making the payments permanent.

While debate about its continuation is ongoing, Congress passed its new budget for the military, at much greater cost and much less value for Americans paying taxes compared to an extra check which more than 80 percent of US households are getting.

Social Security

What medical conditions qualify you for Social Security checks?

Social Security payments don't just cover seniors, they cover the disabled as well. Both the Supplementary Security Income (SSI) and the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) payments can be attained by having a disability, but both have different requirements. A recipient can have both payments at once, if they satisfy both criteria.

The SSI is the simpler to attain, being designed to provide financial assistance for seniors or people with disabilities who have a limited income. Most state have their own support programs to assist people on SSI benefits.

To qualify for the SSDI individuals must be registered as disabled, using the list in the article, and must also satisfy certain work history requirements. Bear in mind that family members working (spouse or parent) can also be used to satisfy the requirements, which would be difficult for many to achieve who are born disabled.

Moved recently? Update your Child Tax Credit information!

You still have time before the 11:59 deadline tonight to update the information and receive the October Child Tax Credit. It will be the fourth one sent menaing there are just two left in 2021.

An expansion of the credit after 2021 depends on what bills will get through Congress. Two bills that would affect the CTC, the reconciliation and infrastructure bills, are currently stuck in the House but should get passed in some form before November.

Will Biden manage to extend the Child Tax Credit monthly payments?

The expanded Child Tax Credit was a key part of President Biden's Build Back Better agenda, but he is facing an uphill battle to get it extend beyond the intitial year. With such a slender margin in the Senate, Biden must keep all 50 members of the Senate Democratic caucus together to ensure that they can pass the proposals using reconciliation. However some, most notably Sen. Joe Manchin, have expressed their unwillingness to fund the expanded Child Tax Credit beyond 2021. 

Will a Child Tax Credit expansion be included in the reconciliation package?

President Biden faces a tough task as he attempts to keep a diverse caucus together throughout the upcoming reconciliation bill negotiations. He had hoped to pass the remainder of his ambitious Build Back Better legislative agenda using reconciliation but two key Dem lawmakers, Sen. Joe Manchin and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, are refusing to support a package that could include an extension to the Child Tax Credit programme. 


WhatsApp, Facebook and Instagram went down | Service outage and last minute | Live updates

Getting delayed stimulus checks and Child Tax Credit payments will remain a priority for many, but today another issue has arisen that is affecting people all across the world. 

You may have noticed that your WhatsApp, Facebook and Instagram accounts have not been functioning properly for the last few hours. If you want to get the latest updates on the technical fault that has disupted the tech giants, check out our dedicated live feed...

Read more

Lawmaker calls for a fourth stimulus check and eviction moratorium

Progressive Rep. Cori Bush has stated that the stagnating economic recovery, made public in the underwhelming August jobs report, requires greater financial stimulus to ensure it does not begin to drift during the tough winter months. She proposes additional stimulus checks and a return of the evictions moratorium, which prevents people losing their homes if they are temporarily unable to make rent or mortgage payments. 


Which states will pay additional stimulus money in October 2021?

President Biden is currently focused on pushing through the spine of his Build Back Better legislative agenda, which is encompassed in a huge $3.5 trillion reconciliation package currently being negotiated in Congress. Progressives are pushing for the whole thing to be passed, but are facing pushback from a small number of moderate Democrats. 

The ambitious programme of works does not, however, include a fourth stimulus check. To offer short-term support for struggling residents a number of states have instituted their own relief bills to send one-off payments to millions of Americans. 

Read more

Where's my Child Tax Credit payment?

Tens of millions of families have been receiving monthly direct payments from the IRS since July as part of the expanded Child Tax Credit programme. However some low-income households may have been missing out on the support because they have not yet registered for the financial relief. 

If you are not usually required to submit a tax return then the IRS may not have your details on file to make a payment. Here's everything you need to know to sign up for the Child Tax Credit monthly payments...

Social Security

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

Social Security has been in the news recently as the ongoing debate over the US debt ceiling threatens to disrupt the payment of Social Security for some. The programme's funding is ring-fenced but disruption to the federal government will certainly impact the structures that distribute and oversee the payments. 

This situation has left many wondering how to get the most out of their Social Security payments, and what is the maximum amount they could receive from the programme this year...

Read more

What are the benefits of the Child Tax Credit?

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has given her support for a Child Tax Credit extension at a House Financial Services Committee hearing entitled: “Oversight of the Treasury Department’s and Federal Reserve’s Pandemic Response."

Yellen told lawmakers: "After first payments in July, food insecurity among families with children dropped 24%." President Biden is eager to include an extension for the programme in the $3.5 trillion reconciliation proposal but is facing oppostion from moderates within his own party, who baulk at the cost of such a measure. 


Missing stimulus check or Child Tax Credit payments?

Over the past 18 months the IRS has been tasked with administrating and distributing payments as part of two enormous federal support programmes: the three rounds of stimulus checks and the expanded Child Tax Credit. Hundreds of millions of Americans have benefitted from the programmes, but there is concern that some eligible households may not have had their full entitlement. 

If you think this could be you, here's how to claim any missing payments from the Social Security administration...


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

Social Security is one of the most widely-used financial support programmes in the United States and is essential for the livelihoods of tens of millions of Americans. 

For the past four decades Social Security has been subject to taxation but in the intervening years no inflation adjustments have been made. This means that almost all recipients will be required to pay tax on their payments, although the amount eligible for tax can vary greatly. 

Read more

Failure to raise debt ceiling threaten Child Tax Credit and Social Security

THe United States risks defaulting on its debt obligations for the first time in history unless an increase to the national debt ceiling can be agreed in the couple weeks. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has estimated that the US will lose the ability to cover its costs around 17 October unless a resolution can be found. Failure to do so would sent financial markets into a tailspin, as well as threatening crucial programmes like the Child Tax Credit and Social Security. 

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

Full story

Disaster assistance and emergency relief

IRS extends October 15 and other upcoming deadlines, provides tax relief for victims of Hurricane Ida in several affected areas.

Durbin: 31 October target for infrastructure and reconciliation bills

Democratic senator Dick Durbin has said that 31 October has been set as the target date to get the infrastructure and reconciliation bills passed by Congress.

"October 31st is our new target date, certainly to get the debt ceiling done long before that, but also when it comes to this issue, reconciliation and the infrastructure bill," he told State of the Union.


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

The vast majority of Americans will be required to pay tax on at least part of their Social Security payments, sometimes as much as 85% of the benefits if their total income exceeds certain thresholds.

However once you are at full retirement age (between 65 and 67 years old, depending on your year of birth) you will no longer be taxed on Social Security payments. The size of your annual Social Security entitlement continues to grow up to the age of 70, so you may want to consider delaying your claim for a few years if you intend to continue working past the normal retirement age.


Petition for recurring monthly $2k stimulus checks surpasses 2.9m

A petition calling for recurring monthly stimulus $2000 checks is drawing closer to its 3m target, and has now surpassed 2.9m signatures, making it one of the most signed petitions in the platform's history.

You can sign the petition here.

Richmond: Biden expects "to get" both infrastructure and reconciliation bills

Senior White House adviser Cedric Richmond has said he is confident about the passing of both the bipartisan infrastructure bill and the larger reconciliation package bill.

Appearing on "ox News Sunday, Richmond said. "We know what we're doing".

"We're concerned about delivering," he stated. Richmond added that President Biden "wants both bills and he expects to get both bills."

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.

How many people were left without unemployment benefits when federal programs ended in early September?

The People's Policy Project, reported that 7.2 million people were "fully removed from the pandemic unemployment rolls," between 28 August and 11 September. It is important to consider that children and other dependnets also suffered when these benefits were cut.

Millions of households have reported concerns over being able to keep a roof over their heads, and Congress seems to be holding their opposition to extending the programs further.

Which state has the lowest unemployment rate?

According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Nebraska with an unemployment rate of 2.2% in August had the lowest in the country.

The BLS will release the September unemployment data this Friday. However, state level data for last month will not be available until later this month.

Which states have seen increases in initial unemployment claims since federal pandemic related programs ended?

For the week ending 18 September the states that saw the largest increases in initial claims were:

1. California (+17,218)

2. Virginia (+12,140)

3. Ohio (+4,147)

4. Oregon (+3,413)

5. Maryland (+2,452).

States that saw the greatest decrease in initial claims during the same period were:

1. Louisiana (-6,935)

2. New York (-2,275)

3. Missouri (-1,568)

4. Oklahoma (-1,264)

5. New Mexico (-1,055).

Read the full report.


Did you miss yesterday's episode of Meet the Press? Check out all the interviews here.

Social Security

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

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

Payments are continuing unabated until the end of the year and the SSA has published the schedule for next year's payments to put in your calendar.

See the full calendar in our full coverage.


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

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

Since 1983, Social Security has been subject to taxation but in the intervening four decades no inflation adjustments have been made, so almost all recipients will be required to pay tax on their payments.

However once you are at full retirement age (between 65 and 67 years old, depending on your year of birth) you will no longer be taxed on Social Security payments.

Read our full coverage to figure out what factors impact taxation situation.

What has President Biden said about the debt ceiling?

So far, not much. However, this morning the President is expected to deliver remarks over the impending crisis and urge prompt action. This comes after Republicans blocked to attempts to increase the debt ceiling last week, worrying many in the financial sector over possible US default.

The President is expected to speak around 11:15 (EDT).

Could US credit worthiness be impacted if the debt ceiling is not increased?

Yes. Some credit ranking agencies are already warning that a downgrade could happen should Congress fail to address the debt ceiling crisis in a timely manner.

In 2011, the US Credit Rating was brought down from AAAA to AAA after Republican resistance to increasing or suspending the debt limit began to cause panic in the already fragile economy.

Last day to opt out of the October Child Tax Credit payment

The IRS allows families to opt out of the payments should they rather receive the funds from with the credit in full when they file their taxes. This month, families must opt out by today, 4 October.


What's the difference between Social Security SSI and SSDI?

What's the difference between Social Security SSI and SSDI?

Social Security provides payments for over 63 million beneficiaries and currently around one in five Americans receive a Social Security benefit of some kind.

Two of the most common programmes from the Social Security Administration (SSA) are the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI).

Read our full coverage for information on who's eligible and how you can apply for each.

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.

"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.

Welcome to our stimulus checks and Child Tax Credit live feed

Hello and welcome to our live feed for Monday 4 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.