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Fourth stimulus check summary: 15 October 2021

All the latest information as President Biden seeks to get his agenda through Congress, plus updates on a fourth stimulus check, Child Tax Credit, unemployment, and Social Security benefits for Friday 15 October.

Nationally initial unemployment claims hit their lowest level since the beginning of the pandemic

While the news out from the Department of Labor showed that employment conditions may be improving, some states are moving in the opposite direction.

In Nevada, initial claims increased by more than 18 percent, compared to levels recorded the previous week.

What and when is the Medicare special enrollment period?


What and when is the Medicare special enrollment period?

Medicare open enrollment begins today

When one reaches the age of sixty-five and claims their Social Security benefits, they are enrolled in Medicare Part A and B. During open enrollment, seniors have the choice to select a Medicare Advantage Plan or Part D, prescription drug plan.

Members will have until 7 December to make their plan selections.

Read more on the plans available for 2022.

What are the benefits of the Child Tax Credit?

Sen. Michael Bennet has been a vocal proponent of the Child Tax Credit expansion since it was first introduced in the American Rescue Plan. Here he posts a graphic outlining the positive impact that the Child Tax Credit has had on millions of American families. 


When is California sending the next fourth Golden State stimulus payment in October?


When is California sending the next fourth Golden State stimulus payment in October?

Since Gov. Gavin Newsom passed the largest recovery bill in Californian history in July, three batches of GSS II have already been released, with the last one having been issued on 5 October. The latest wave of the $600 stimulus check will be going out from the end of this month, with millions of people set to receive the support.

Read more

Additional boost to Social Security payments

Earlier this week the Social Security Administration (SSA) announced a 5.9% increase in the annual cost-of-living adjustment (COLA), the largest of its kind in nearly 40 years. The COLA figure is reflective of high inflation which has slashed the spending power of millions of households and threatens to derail the US' economic recovery. 

When does COLA 2022 take effect for Social Security Benefits?


When does COLA 2022 take effect for Social Security Benefits?

Inflation in the US has taken a considerable bite out of household finances in recent months as the pandemic recovery continues to play havoc with the economy. Every year the Social Security Administration makes an adjustment to what beneficiaries will receive using the US Bureau of Labor Statistics data on inflation.

On Wednesday the agency announced a historic rise in benefits to keep seniors and disabled recipients from losing purchasing power, but when will the huge increase come into effect?

Read more

Journalist could be prosecuted for reporting Social Security weakness

A reporter with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch could face prosecution after noticing a flaw in Missouri's Social Security online portal, and helping the state to fix it. A weakness in the system made it possible to access the Social Security number of some residents. The reporter alerted the state authorities of the issue and the newspaper held back on publishing the story until it was remedied. 

"I'm not sure the current political environment would support sending $2,000 or $3,000 checks to every person every year, but I do think there's political will behind providing more benefits for families raising kids, especially when we saw how hard it is when you have to be home with the kids and home schooling when that was necessary."

Gregory Acs, vice president of income and benefits policy at the Urban Institute, Remarks on the Child Tax Credit
Which state has the highest SSI payment?


Which state has the highest SSI payment?

Each year over $1 trillion is sent out to Social Security beneficiaries and much of the money goes to retired workers, who paid into the programme during their decades in the workforce. The amount of offer is based on seven factors, related to the individual claimant, and the average monthly payment varies greatly between different states.

Read more

VP Harris pushes family-focused Build Back Better legislation

Speaking from the White House, Vice President Kamala Harris outlines the importance of passing the next phase of President Biden's legislative agenda. The proposals would extend the expanded Child Tax Credit programme throgh 2025 and provide affordable childcare for millions of families. 

What is the deadline to file taxes in California and receive a stimulus check?

Golden State Stimulus

What is the deadline to file taxes in California and receive a stimulus check?

California residents earning adjusted gross income (AGI) of $30,000 or less should have received the first Golden State Stimulus check but those requirements have been loosened for the expanded version of the programme. Now, those earning up to $75,000 will be entitled to the state-wide stimulus check. 

You only need to have been a California resident for more than half of the 2020 tax year to qualify for the $600 payment, but must ensure that your personal details are submitted before the deadline. 

Read more

Renewed calls for automatic stimulus check triggers

Congress is currently locked in negotiations to decide the fate of the bulk of President Biden's Build Back Better legislative agenda. Without any GOP support the White House will have to ensure that the entire 50-member Democratic caucus in the Senate remains united, which could make some of the more ambitious elements of Biden's agenda, such as the Child Tax Credit extension, untenable. 

In response to that, Univeral Basic Income advocate Scott Santens has called for automatic triggers to be introduced which would allow additional stimulus checks to be sent out without waiting for congressional approval. 

Next Child Tax Credit payment goes out today

The fourth round of payments as part of the expanded Child Tax Credit will be distributed from 15 October, with upwards of 40 million households expected to benefits from the programme. The expansion, and new monthly payment structure, was included in the American Rescue Plan passed last March but is only funded for a single year. This means that, unless Congress can agree an extension, December's monthly payment will be the last. 

Why could the IRS ask for stimulus money back?


Why could the IRS ask for stimulus money back?

It would be a nightmare scenario for any stimulus check recipient, but in some instances the IRS will be able to request some or all of the payment to be returned if the individual has reported higher than expected taxable income. 

The federal government sent eligible Americans three rounds of Economic Impact Payments or better know as stimulus checks. The IRS automatically sent out the payments based on the information that the agency had when the direct payments were authorized. Any overpayments in those checks were protected from being reclaimed by the government.

Read more

Who needs Medicare Part A, B, C and D?


Who needs Medicare Part A, B, C and D?

Since 1965 Medicare has offered health insurance programmes, heavily subsidised by the federal government, for those aged 65 and older or younger people with certain disabilities or ailments. A range of treatments and services are included in the broad programmes, but they are divided into four separate plans with different eligibility requirements.

The good news and bad news about September jobs report

According to Daniel Pink you are always supposed to begin with the bad news to end on a good note. The September jobs report showed that the US added 194,000 jobs and not the 500,000 that had been projected.

The lower-than-expected number was a result of lingering health and safety concerns from the pandemic as well as problems finding childcare. Also, despite the unemployment rate dropping to 4.8 percent that was the result of many Americans leaving the workforce and not seeking new employment.

On the upside, workers can demand higher pay as they are a more limited resource that employers are competing to attract. Wages rose yet again in September and are up 4.6 percent compared to this time last year.

Reminder: Fourth Child Tax Credit payment hits bank accounts today

The IRS is sending parents of eligible children the fourth direct payment today. There will be two more this year and then the program will expire, unless Congress is able to pass an extension. The proposal set forth in the House would extend the program until 2025 but in order to cut costs in the Build Back Better bill, that extension may need to be shortened.

Senate Democrats irked by Biden's handling of Senators Manchin and Sinema

The two spending proposals to put in place President Biden's Build Back Better plan are being held up by unwaivering lawmakers in his party. On the one side progressives are using passage of the bipartisan infrastructure as leverage to make sure that centrists in the party don't backpedal on their commitment to pass the larger spending bill being negotiated.

On the other, Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema are refusing to vote for the larger bill until it's been reduced to a more digestible size for them. President Biden has been meeting with members of his party to try to smooth over the differences of the two positions.

Despite several one-on-one meetings with the two holdouts in the Senate, Democrats in the upper chamber told the Hill that there doesn't appear to be anything to show from those meetings and not enough progress is being made. With 2022 midterm elections just over, lawmakers want to have something they can take back to their constituents when they hit the campaign trail.

Fourth stimulus check needed for lower income households

A new study by Capital One Insights Center found that the Americans who most needed the stimulus check payments at the beginning of the pandemic are still suffering. Over a year since covid-19 disrupted the economy and livelihoods across the nation the recovery has been lopsided.

The study split respondents into three annual income groups and those in the lowest income group are still experiencing similar or more pain than during the crisis. Around a third of respondents reported income loss in the spring of 2020. While the number has halved for those in the upper two categories, it hasn't changed for those who earn the least. Furthermore many report higher debt levels than before the pandemic.

Manchin wants Dems to choose just one of four extremely popular spending proposals

Senator Joe Manchin has said that he won't vote for the current iteration of the Build Back Better bill being hammered out in Congress. He and Senator Kyrsten Sinema want to see the price tag come down from the currently proposed $3.5 trillion over ten years. 

He has suggested to colleagues that they choose just one of four family-focused proposals included in the bill; universal pre-K, childcare sudsidies, paid family leave or extending the Child Tax Credit changes. A new survey from Navigator shows that Americans like all four by strong majorities.

Representative Pramila Jayapal told CBS News that Democrats will get the legislation passed but that they will have to shorten the length of time that they are in place.

Rep Pramila Jayapal on Biden's agenda, "We will get it done"

Democrats are hammering out the details of the second part of President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better plan to compliment the bipartisan infrastructure bill that has already passed the Senate but needs to pass the House. The Progressive Caucus is using their strength in numbers to hold up that vote to ensure that the rest of Biden’s agenda is passed as well. 

Although it appears that Democrats are at an impasse with Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema withholding their crucial votes in the Senate where Democrats need all 50 votes they can muster from their side of the aisle, Progressive Caucus Chair Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal is confident they will get Biden’s proposals passed through both chambers, albeit on a smaller scale.

"It is, as you know, a bit of a messy process,” Jayapal said. Adding “We will get it done.”

To pass meaningful legislation, we must put aside our differences and find the common ground within our party. As with any bill of such historic proportions, not every member will get everything he or she wants. I deeply appreciate the sacrifices made by each and every one of you.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, from his letter to colleagues

How are parents using the Child Tax Credit payments?

US-born and immigrant parents are both using the monthly payments from the Child Tax Credit to take care of the essentials, pay bills and create a raining day fund. However immigrant parents whose children are naturalized citizens making them eligible to participate the the program are much more likely to spend the money on additional education for their children, either through tutoring or savings for university. They also dedicate more funds to healthcare and childcare expenses since they are not eligible for subsidizes which US-born parents enjoy.

The IRS is sending out the fourth of six payments today to around 35 million households. The tax provision and the advance payments will expire at the end of December if no action is taken to extend the program in Congress. The Child Tax Credit extension was on Senator Joe Manchin's pick-one list of four family-focused proposals in the Democrats' spending proposals.

Biden urges the unvaccinated to get their jab

There are still around 66 million Americans that haven't gotten vaccinated against the covid-19 virus. Although case numbers have been decreasing hospitals around the coutry are still being overwhlemed with unvaccinated covid-19 patients.

The latest surge in cases is blamed for the lower than expected numbers in the jobs report from September.

When does COLA 2022 take effect for Social Security Benefits?


When does COLA 2022 take effect for Social Security Benefits?

Inflation in the US has been rampant as the nation recovers from the damage wrought by the covid-19 pandemic, taking a bite out of household finances. None more so than those who live on a fixed income, but fortunately relief will be coming in a couple of months.

Every year the Social Security Administration makes an adjustment to what beneficiaries will receive using the US Bureau of Labor Statistics data on inflation. On Wednesday the agency announced a historic rise in benefits to keep seniors and disabled recipients from losing purchasing power.

When will recipients see the increased amount?

Sinema and Manchin might not even be onboard with with smaller spending bill

Democrats in Congress have been negotiating among themselves on the size and scope of President Biden's Build Back Better plan. An agreement was reached to pass two bills, one a roads and bridges infrastrucutre bill that could garner bipartisan support and another larger bill to incorporate measures to combate climate change and invest in American families.

The first made it through the Senate but is awaiting a vote in the House. The delay stems from the two-track plan for passing the bills, progressives worry that if the infrastructure bill is allowed to pass before the rest of President Biden's agenda gets passed centrists will drag out negotiations until the proposals die for lack of inertia.

The biggest hurdle for Democrats to getting the Build Back Better plan through Congress are Senators Kyrsten Sinema and Joe Manchin. Without their crucial votes the Democrats cannot get the legislation through the Senate falling short of the 50 votes they would need. They have asked for the top-line price of $3.5 trillion to be slashed by up to two thirds and it appears that they are unwilling to even meet their colleagues in the middle.

Democrats push for Build Back Better spending

Presdent Biden is currently looking to gather support for the remaining elements of his Build Back Better legislative agenda, ahead of the Congressional vote on the reconciliation package later this month. The bill could be as large as $3.5 trillion, but there is concern that a small group of moderate Democrats may scupper Biden's vision and could see important programmes removed from the final package. 

Amongst those believed to be in danger is the Child Tax Credit extension, which has already been linked to a considerable drop in childhood poverty in the early months of the new programme's existence.

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

Families support the continuation of the Child Tax Credit

A new study from the University of Michigan found that 78% of families receiving payments for the Child Tax Credit say it is very important that the checks continue until the pandemic is over.

Data captured by the US Census Buerau has also tracked a "30% decline in food insufficiency for adults with children following the initial monthly payments and a 43% decline in food insufficiency for low-income households that received the initial payment."

The next payment will be sent by the IRS on 15 October.

How much money has the Child Tax Credit given families in 2021?


How much money has the Child Tax Credit given families in 2021?

In July the IRS took on a new mission, to send around 35 million families monthly advance payments on the enhanced Child Tax Credit. Families have now received half of the payments for 2021 but that only represent one quarter of the credit they could be eligible for.

The six advance installments on what is a tax rebate for the 2021 fiscal year represent only half the total Child Tax Credit that families could be eligible to receive. So how much have families received and what can the look forward to receiving?

$1400 stimulus check to social security recipients: the proposal and who supports it


$1400 stimulus check to social security recipients: the proposal and who supports it

Over the last year, prices of basic goods have increased rapidly. Consumers have paid higher prices across the board as the economy reopened and supply chains destroyed by the pandemic were reconstructed.

This hurts those especially hard that live on a fixed income such as Social Security beneficiaries. The Senior Citizens League sent a letter to Congress urging them to send a targeted stimulus check to Social Security beneficiaries worth $1,400.

Nationally initial unemployment claims hit their lowest level since the beginning of the pandemic

While the news out from the Department of Labor showed that employment conditions may be improving, some states are moving in the opposite direction.

In Nevada, initial claims increased by more than 18 percent, compared to levels recorded the previous week.

Which states have had the highest rates of people on unemployment benefits?

For the week ending on 25 September the states with highest  insured unemployment rate were:

1. Illinois 4.4%

2. Puerto Rico 4.3%

3. California 3.3%

4. Hawaii 2.9% ,

5. New Jersey 2.7% 

6. District of Columbia 2.6%

7. Nevada 2.6%

8. Alaska 2.5%

9. Pennsylvania 2.5%

When will the next Child Tax Credit payment arrive?

The IRS will begin sending out the next round of Child Tax Credit monthly payments on Friday, 15 October, the fourth wave of the payments to date. As it stands Congress has not been able to agree an extension to the one year of funding, so the monthly payments are set to end after the December edition. 

Hello, and welcome to our dedicated fourth stimulus check live feed, bringing you all the latest updates from Washington. President Biden is embarking on a crucial period in his presidency, looking to pass the remaining pillars of his ambitious Build Back Better legislative agenda. 

We'll have the latest on the Child Tax Credit extension and Social Security benefits payments, as well as the COLA 2022 adjustments.


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