Fourth stimulus check, US politics live updates: Saturday, 16 October

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Fourth stimulus check live updates: Social Security increase, Medicare enrollment, Child Tax Credit...

US stimulus checks and related news: live updates

Headlines

- Social Security Administration announces historic 5.9% COLA for 2022.

- Who on Social Security could see a $1,100 increase in their benefit amount?

- Several states have begun distributing stimulus and hazard checks

- Calls for a fourth stimulus check for those on Social Security grow

Useful Information/Links

- Which states have no income tax and no property tax?

Child Tax Credit

- IRS have begun distributing the fourth Child Tax Credit payment.

Golden State Stimulus Checks

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

Medicare

- What are the 2022Medicare premiums?

Social Security

- What is the maximum amount of money that can be claimed on Social Security in 2022?

- When does COLA 2022 take effect for Social Security Benefits?

- Can a married couple collect twoSocial Security checks?

- How much will the Social Security Cost-of-Living Adjustment increase be in 2022?

- Social Security benefits calculator

Read through some of our related news articles:

US NEWS

Why are John Deere workers striking?

Dubbed 'striketober', the US is experiencing an unprecedented amount of labor action this month as workers fight back against poor conditions. See full story.

Thread on Sign-Ups for Child Tax Credit

'We need to do better, work smarter, improve website accessibility and more funding for navigators/trusted messengers to get more parents to file for the CTC. This is a must. The American Rescue Plan state and local funding can help.'

That was the message from White House American Rescue Coordinator Gene Sperling.

Read the full thread below:

Social Security

What happens if you don't work 35 years for Social Security?

To be able to claim retirement benefits in the US, it is first necessary to earn 40 'credits', which can be earned during a year of work. The maximum that can be earned in a year in four but even if you reach 40 fast it is usually a bad idea to retire immediately.

This is because there are multiple factors which affect how much you can claim in retirement Social Security payments. These are how much you have earned while earning these credits, your highest salary each year for 35 years, and the age at which you retire at.

Retiring too early could preclude you from earning more money in retirement, so it is usually best to hold off retirement as long as possible, at least until the full retirement age of 66-years old.

Read more here

More rebukes for Manchin as climate change takes center stage

Speaking at the California Academy of Sciences, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi addressed a speech to climate problems that are currently and will affect the US in the coming years. Next month the world will meet in Glasgow for the COP26  summit as nations seek to reconcile growing economies with preventing global destruction.

This all provides a poor backdrop for the Dems as Senator Joe Manchin seeks to remove climate provisions from the reconciliation and infrastructure bills on the eve of the conference.

US NEWS

Why are John Deere workers striking?

In the largest private-sector strike in two years, John Deere is in the midst of a huge workers strike against worker treatment at the farm machinery giant, as 10,000 workers have joined the picket lines to protest against the companies handling of its workers during the last two years.

These strikes could point towards more fundamental problems affecting the US workforce, especially in the context of emerging from the covid-19 pandemic, as well as changes to unemployment payments after mass layoffs.

Read more here

House just needs the ok from Senate for bills to pass

Democrat Representative Mark Pocan made these comments in a likely dig to senators Joe Manchin and Kristen Sinema.

Manchin to sink climate clauses in Congress bills

The West Virginia Senator has been a vocal critic of the large spending that is hoped to be implemented in bith the infrastructure and reconciliation bills.

One of these aspects are the points to address climate change, which Manchin is pushing to be removed.

The senator is a big receiver of donations from big coal companies, his state after all is the greatest manufacturer of the stuff in the US. He also receives $500,000 a year in shares and dividends he has invested in coal plants in the state.

Social Security

What is the maximum Social Security benefit for 2022?

On the morning of Wednesday October 13, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics released the data from September showing an increase of 5.9 percent. Based on the inflation in August and September, the cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) was going to be even higher, but a slight slowdown in inflation has decreased the expected COLA by two percentage points.

The huge increase means the maximum money that can be claimed through Social Security is the highest in years. The terms of how much money payments will be for seniors depends mostly on the age of retirement.

Read more here

"The inability to put food on the table or to keep a roof over one's head, these are things that very badly impact children. So, a family that needs the money to be able to provide food and clothing and support for the family at large is improving conditions of life for children.

"And, of course, some of the money, much of it may be spent directly on children's needs. But, broadly speaking, helping families lead more secure lives is a tremendous benefit to the children in these households."

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, Remarks on the Child Tax Credit

MEDICARE OPEN ENROLLMENT

What and when is the Medicare special enrollment period?

Each year those eligible for Medicare have several weeks to enroll and update their plan selection. The open enrollment period begins today, Friday, 15 October, and will come to a close on 7 December.

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.

Read more

SOCIAL SECURITY

Which state has the highest SSI payment?

Each year the Social Security Administration (SSA) provides a financial foundation for tens of millions of retired workers. In 2020 more than $1 trillion was sent out to beneficiaries, much of which goes to retired workers who paid into the programme during their decades in the workforce. 

But not all states have the same average payment size; we take a look at the states with highest average Social Security payments... 

Read more

Yellen outlines benefits of the Child Tax Credit 

Today, the IRS confirmed that the majority of eligible families will now have received the fourth Child Tax Credit monthly payment. However unless Congress can agree to an extension the monthly payments will end in December. In this video from July, when the expansion was first introduced, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen outlines why President Biden fought so hard for the programme. 

Golden State Stimulus

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

The next round of Golden State stimulus checks will be sent out at the end of this month, with a total of around two-thirds of California taxpayers expected to have received a payment by the time the distribution is finished. 

You only need to have been a California resident for more than half of the 2020 tax year to qualify for the $600 payment, though you must still be a state resident on the date your payment is issued and you must have filed your tax return before the deadline to be eligible for a stimulus check. 

Read more

Child Tax Credit payments land in bank accounts

The IRS has confirmed that the majority of eligible families should have already received the next round of Child Tax Credit monthly payments, the fourth wave of federal support to be distributed since the programme was introduced in July. Parents will receive a monthly payment worth up to $300 per child until the end of the year. 

“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

SOCIAL SECURITY | COLA 2022

Will all Social Security recipients receive the new increase of $1,100?

On Wednesday the Social Security Administration (SSA) announced that the cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for 2022 will be 5.9%, which represents the largest increase in 39 years.

The huge increase reflects the continuing economic damage done by the pandemic and the high level of inflation which has crippled the buying power of millions of low-income households. Last year’s increase of just 1.3% was one of the lowest in recent history, but today’s announcement means that Social Security recipients will be due a healthy raise in January.

Read more

IRS offer tax tips on selling homes

The Internal Revenue Se4rvice offer some key tax tips for those interested in selling a house....To claim the exclusion, the taxpayer must meet ownership and use tests. During a five-year period ending on the date of the sale, the homeowner must have owned the home and lived in it as their main home for at least two years.

Full details here

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

GOLDEN STATE STIMULUS

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

Child tax credit

Republican Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona have called for restricting child tax credit eligibility to lower-earning families ensures government assistance will reach the neediest.

Business Insider has more....

Child Tax Credit pitch for the kids

During a Friday event promoting the family and child care elements of his Build Back Better Agenda, President Joe Biden quipped that he “liked kids better than people.”

Biden was in Connecticut in an effort to bring his sweeping social welfare and climate legislation across the finish line. The bill, intended to be passed on a party-line basis, has been held up by divisions among Democrats over its price tag and contents.

"When I talked to all your folks out on the playground, as I joked, everybody knows I like kids better than people,” Biden said. “Fortunately, they're like me. Maybe that's why I like them."

The president was in the midst of making a pitch for one of the more popular policies, the child tax credit. “The money’s already a game-changer,” he said. Although Republicans have historically supported child tax credits, he pointed to their votes against the American Rescue Plan.

"My friends on the other side never had any problem providing $2 trillion in tax cuts for the very wealthy,” Biden said.

Full account from the Washington Examiner.

 

SOCIAL SECURITY | COLA 2022

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. The agency has announced a historic rise in benefits to keep seniors and disabled recipients from losing purchasing power.

Greg Heilman talks through what can be expected in the coming months.

Democratic infighting for infrastructure bill

President Biden is convinced that they will get the bill done.

"Too many folks don't realise that we need to invest in our people," he said.

You can listen to the president in this report.

Challenges to Biden bill see rewording

A critical piece of US President Joe Biden's climate agenda, which would replace coal- and gas-fired power plants with wind, solar and nuclear energy, will likely be dropped from the budget bill pending in Congress, the New York Times reported.

White House staffers are revising the legislation due to strong opposition from Senator Joe Manchin, the centrist Democrat from coal-rich West Virginia whose vote is crucial to its passage the newspaper said, citing sources familiar with the matter.

"Senator Manchin has clearly expressed his concerns about using taxpayer dollars to pay private companies to do things they’re already doing," Manchin spokesperson Sam Runyon told Reuters in a statement.

"He continues to support efforts to combat climate change while protecting American energy independence and ensuring our energy reliability," Runyon said.

Both Manchin and Senator Kyrsten Sinema, a centrist from Arizona, have objected to the initial $3.5 trillion price tag for Biden's spending plan to fund social programs and fight climate change. As a result, the president faces a difficult balancing act in trying to bring down the cost but not alienate progressive Democrats who also are essential to passing the legislation. In the evenly split Senate, every Democratic vote will be needed for passage.

Following a meeting this month on Capitol Hill with his fellow Democrats, Biden suggested the bill could be trimmed to around $2 trillion over 10 years.

US | CHILD TAX CREDIT

Child Tax Credit October 2021 payment: what to do if I haven't received it?

The IRS began sending out the fourth of six monthly child tax credit payments on Friday 15 October. With families set to receive $300 for each child under 6 and $250 for each child between 6 and 17, the October payments will reach approximately 36 million taxpayers for a total of $15 billion.

Most parents who receive payment by direct deposit should have received the money in their accounts on Friday. But those who generally receive paper checks will have to wait a bit longer for the checks to arrive by mail. If you are among that group, there is probably no point taking any action now other than keeping an eye on the mailbox for the next week or so. But bear in mind that it could take until the end of the month.

However, if you typically get the payment in your bank account and have yet to receive it, you may be wondering where it is. We have pulled together some useful advice.

Build Back Better... with a focus on pricing

The prices of Medicare drugs are top of the list of priorities with key voters says this recent poll.

This is followed by taxing the rich and the expansion of Medicare.

SSI and an age-focused stimulus check

The Senior Citizens League has sent a letter to members of the US House of Representatives and US Senate, urging them to consider the age-focused stimulus.  

“We’ve heard from thousands of them [seniors] who have exhausted their retirement savings, who have started eating just one meal a day, started cutting their pills in half because they can’t afford their prescription drugs, to list just a few of the drastic steps so many have had to take because of what inflation has done to them this year,” the letter read.

“Many have written to us that ‘our government has forgotten about us.’”

Next year’s Social Security checks will have one of the biggest cost-of-living adjustments in decades, with increases of more than 6%, but the Senior Citizens League says it’s not enough. That’s because, in part, the larger Social Security payment could bump some seniors into higher tax brackets, resulting in surcharges to their Medicare Part B premiums.

US NEWS | STIMULUS

What is Fed tapering and how could it affect new stimulus check?

You've likely heard the word 'tapering' being banded about in conversations about the US economy as it grows stronger out of the covid pandemic crisis, but do you know what it means?

If not, we're here to help you with this summary article on the Fed's plans.

The reality that the mainstream media has done an exceptionally poor job in covering what actually is in the legislation.

There have been endless stories about the politics of passing Build Back Better, the role of the president, the conflicts in the House and the Senate, the opposition of two senators, the size of the bill, etc. – but very limited coverage as to what the provisions of the bill are and the crises for working people that they address.

Bernie Sanders, Senate Budget Committee Chairman

Media targeted for Biden bill lack of clarity

Senate Budget Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) blamed the media, in part, for Americans not knowing what is in a sweeping social spending plan being negotiated by the White House and Congressional Democrats.

Sanders, in a statement, said it is "absurd" that many Americans don't know what is in President Biden's plan and, while cautioning that there could be many reasons for that, launched a broadside against how the bill has been covered by the press.

Sanders's statement comes as Democrats are struggling to break through on the spending plan, amid an intense focus on the price tag for the bill and weeks of high-profile Democratic squabbling over the still-being-negotiated legislation.

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.

CORONAVIRUS STIMULUS CHECKS

Why could the IRS ask for stimulus money back?

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.

However, some taxpayers didn’t get all that they were eligible for at the time the stimulus checks went out. This was due to the information the IRS used differing from the actual financial or family situation when the payments were sent out. Taxpayers though, could claim any additional funds coming their way through the Recovery Rebate Credit on 2020 tax returns.

But a math error meant some taxpayers might have claimed too much and they didn't pay the IRS enough in taxes.

Greg Heilman explains why the IRS may ask for the money back.

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. 

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

SOCIAL SECURITY

Which state has the highest SSI payment?

The Social Security Administration (SSA) provides a financial foundation for tens of millions of retired workers every year, and currently pays out over $1 trillion a year to beneficiaries. Much of the money goes to retired workers, who paid into the programme during their decades in the workforce.

However while the programme is largely funded centrally, the actual amount received depends on each individual’s work history and personal situation. Supplemental Security Income (SSI), the most widely accessible programme overseen by the SSA, can vary greatly from state-to-state, with the retirees in some areas netting over $180 a month more than the national average.

Will Gittins brings you the latest on SSI payments.

Stimulus check live blog: welcome

Hello and a very warm welcome to today's 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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