Fourth stimulus check | News summary for 3 November

AS USA

COMMENT
Fourth stimulus check live updates: California stimulus, Social Security 2022, Medicare, Child Tax Credit...

Headlines

- Democrats include an extension to the SALT deduction: What is it and why are so many on the left and right against it

- Seniors should be aware that opting out of Medicare at 65 can come with a serious cost.

- A look back at the state of the economy when Congress passed the first three stimulus checks.

- Bipartisan infrastructure bill: What did the final bill include?

- New reconciliation bill likely to fall short of progressives' Medicare expansion hopes

- More than 4.5m Californians have received their Golden State stimulus checks

- Will Social Security recipients receive a fourth stimulus check?

Increased calls for fourth stimulus check as inflation sees prices rise

Useful information & Links

Child Tax Credit

- Next round of Child Tax Credit payments will go out on 15 November

Stimulus checks

- Fourth stimulus check: the situation in every US state

- Petition calling for $2,000 recurring checks nears 3m signatures

Medicare

- Open enrollment continues through 7 December

- What are the differences between Medigap and Medicare Advantagethe lowdown

Social Security

- Social Securitypayment schedule for 2021

- Calculating your Social Security benefits

- The Social Security COLA increase will go into effect on 30 December 2021.

US Federal Reserve ending covid-19 stimulus checks

In an announcement that has been expected for months, the Federal Reserve has finally said that the winging down of covid-19 stimulus will begin. They announced on Wednesday that they would begin cutting that stimulus by $15bn a month but left interest rates unchanged.

IRS warns against charity scammers

The Internal Revenue Service has warned customers to be aware of online fraudsters masquerading as charity outlets with a drive to steal personal and sensitive data

The challenges American families and workers are facing today are enormous, and President Biden's agenda is the remedy to much of their hardships.

Chuck Schumer, Senate Majority Leader

House could vote on Infrastructure and social spending bills before end of week

Democrats have been negotiating for months over the size and scope of legislation to bring to fruition President Biden's agenda through the Build Back Better plan. To gain some bipartisan support instead of one sweeping bill to include proposals for both the infrastructure and social safety-net aspects, it was split into two.

One kept the roads and bridges infrastrucutre portions that GOP lawmakers could agree to while the remaining infrastrucutre to combate climate change was added to the social safety-net spending. However, the plan was to pass both at the same time to keep pressure on hesitant lawmakers that were only fully comfortable with the "hard" infrastructure bits.

It appears that the long journey to something everyone can agree on may be coming to an end. Reuters reports that Representative Rick Larsen said that a vote on both bills could come as soon as Friday at noon after coming out of a caucus meeting.

Biden pushes forward on policy agenda despite electoral setback

Democrats lost the Virginia governorship and nearly lost the New Jersey governorship in Tuesday's elections. This rebuke from voters have stoked fears among some in the party that it was over the size President Biden's spending measures and want at least the one focused on social spending to be put on hold. 

President Biden and progressive members of the party see the opposite, that voters want Washington to get things done. "That's why I'm continuing to push very hard for the Democratic Party to move along," Biden told the press on Wednesday.

False claims about fourth stimulus check posted on YouTube

Millions of Americans could use another round of stimulus checks as the uneven recovery has left portions of the population still struggling.

There are various petitions for additional stimulus checks for Americans. One has garnered nearly 3 million signatures to send $2,000 recurring monthly checks until the end of the pandemic. Another is asking for a more targeted one-off $1,400 check for senior citizens to help them deal with the past year's inflation.

There had been talk in Congress of additional stimulus payments but as Democratic lawmakers focus on President Biden's Build Back Better agenda no such proposal has been included. No matter, as recently as 1 November a YouTube channel with around 400,000 was falsely claiming that Congress had passed a fourth stimulus check.

Deadline to apply for Child Tax Credits are November 15

The November payment of the CTC coming in under two weeks, accompanying the deadline to be able to receive payments this year.

If you miss this deadline, you will need to claim your full Child Tax Credit when you file taxes in early 2022.

SOCIAL SECURITY

How much will SSI pay in 2022 per month and per year?

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a need-based federal aid program designed to help some groups cover basic expenses for food and shelter. Unlike Social Security which is an entitlement program that workers pay into,  SSI does not have these requirements. SSI is means-tested, which means that there are no contribution or labor requirements and it is distributed on the basis of need.

The program which was established in 1974 has two eligibility thresholds. The first is that a person must be sixty-five and older, AND/OR disabled, AND/OR blind. The individual must also have an income under a certain level, be a citizen or legal immigrant, and remain in the United States. In most cases, an individual cannot have assets worth more than $2,000, excluding their home and car. For couples, the asset limit stands at around $3,000.

 SSI payments will be paid on the first day of each month in 2022.

Read more here

Sanders: We must expand Medicare

Bernie Sanders, the prominent progressive senator from Vermont, has again reiterated his support for expanded Medicare support as the Democrat agenda still lumbers through Congress.

There has been rumblings today in Washington that aspects of the bill will be put back in, such as maternity and paternity pay for four weeks.

WATCH: Democrat Representative attacks Manchin and Sinema over bills

Will these bills ever be voted upon?

The latest from Washington is that the infrastructure and reconciliation bills are likely to be voted on Thursday or Friday, but as with previous targets, there is no guarantee this will happen.

Congress has been in limbo for months over how to approach the bills, with the Democrat's razor-thin majority in the Senate proving to be a large obstacle.

WATCH: House Democrats push for Child Tax Credit extension

SOCIAL SECURITY

How are Social Security benefits calculated and on how many years of work are they based?

More than 65 million Americans are currently receiving some form of Social Security support and the annual cost of the extensive support programme is in excess of $1 trillion. For most Americans the Social Security payments will be crucial to ensuring financial security in later life but it can be difficult to know how much to expect to receive. 

We explain how to keep track of your earnings history and estimate the size of Social Security payments...

Read more

Schumer pushes for Child Tax Credit expansion

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has outlined his belief that an extension to the Child Tax Credit should be a key part of Build Back Better negotiations in Congress. The Democrats are thought to be close to agreeing a deal on the broad structure of the reconciliation bill, but Sens. Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema are still unwilling to commit their support. 

Stimulus Checks

How has US economy changed since the first, second and third stimulus check were approved?

The pandemic has a brought about changes to the social welfare system never before seen in the US. Residents received checks from the government to keep them afloat as the economy entered free-fall, receiving thousands of dollars in support through various programmes. 

The most popular of these initiatives were the three rounds of stimulus checks which were sent out during the first 12 months of the pandemic. But how to the huge influx of federal money affect the economy?

Read more

Which sectors have seen the highest increases in compensation?

The BLS has released data on increases in compensation for major sectors of the workforce. Across the economy "private industry workers increased 4.1 percent, compared with an increase of 2.4 percent for the year ended September 2020."

At 6.9% the largest increase in compensation was seen in the leisure and hospitality industry. Service sector workers also saw an increase above 6.1%.

US NEWS

 Is the government mortgage stimulus relief program real?

The pandemic has upended households across the nation, who never expected to find themselves in such a precarious financial situation. Many households have struggled to make mortgage payments and had hoped the reconciliation bill would include measures to protect them.

According to the Eviction Lab, a platform that tracks evictions, more than 7,682 landlords have filed paperwork to have their tenants evicted this week.

Read our full coverage to see what was decided in relation in relief for homeowners. Our team also took a deep dive into one of the most controversial aspects of the $1.75 trillion package: the extension of the SALT deductions.

MEDICARE

Is it mandatory to go on Medicare when you turn 65?

While most seniors are eager to enroll in Medicare at sixty-five, some wonder if it is the right choice for them. The question of whether or not Medicare enrollment at sixty-five is mandatory depends on various factors like work status and the employer provided coverage.

From the time a person turns sixty-five and becomes eligible for Medicare, a grace period of eleven months is allowed before the penalties are applied.

Read our full coverage to see if opting out of Part A and B of Medicare could be the right choice for you.

 

68% of Private Sector workers have access to a retirement account

The BLS has reported that nearly seventy percent of private sector workers have access to a retirement plan. However, in the service industry, less than half of workers have access, which could be contributing to their flight from the labor market.

Will the reconciliation bill lower the price of prescription drugs?

Nearly 75% of Medicare beneficiaries purchase a Part D plan to keep the price of prescription drugs down, showing that many find the prices a burden when living on a fixed income.

The White House has released a memo detailing the compromise as to how the reconciliation bill will in the long-run lower the cost of prescription drugs...

While the plan would allow "Medicare will negotiate prices for high-cost prescription drugs," what constitutes a "high-cost" prescription drug is not detailed. Additionally, the government will have to wait for certain drugs to be on the market 9 to 13 years before negotiations can begin. Many critics argue that because tax dollars are used for the research and development of new drugs, these waiting periods should be removed.

The compromised plan also limits the number of drugs that can be negociated each year and postpones any benefits to patients until 2025: "Medicare will negotiate up to 10 drugs per year during 2023, with those prices taking effect in 2025, increasing to up to 20 drugs per year."

After the results of Tuesday's election in Virginia, Democrats may consider strengthening this proposal as it is unlikely to convince voters as benefits will not be seen until after both the 2022 Mid-Term and 2024 General Election.

Many Part C and D plans available to those on Medicare

The Kaiser Family Foundation found that majority of seniors have many Medicare Advantage Plans and Part D available in their area. While these plans have grown in popularity in recent years, many voters support the expansion of Medicare, which would limit the reliance on these plans to ensure seniors have access to adequate health care coverage.

What are the most costly aspects of the Build Back Better agenda?

The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget has released a report on the most costly aspects of the Democrat's reconciliation bill. One item that has made the cut, against opposition from Progressives, a five year SALT Cap Deduction.

What is the SALT Cap deduction?

The State and Local Tax deduction, is a federal tax benefit that allows in most cases wealthier families pay less in taxes. The Trump Tax Cuts capped the SALT at $10,000 and Democrats are looking to expand it. However, the CFRB has argued that "this policy is highly regressive and would turn Build Back Better into a net tax cut for the vast majority of high-income households."

Sen. Joe Manchin "pleads" for more time

After weeks of negotiations, Democrats thought they had a deal... however this may not be the case after Joe Manchin stated that he wanted more time to understand the impacts of the $1.75 trillion reconciliation package. Without Manchin, the bill cannot pass, meaning that the package could fail after many assumed it would be voted on this week.

IRS sends corrected returns to those who over paid in taxes

The IRS has announced that it has sent corrected to returns to more than 400,000 tax payers who over paid in taxes because they submitted their returns before the passage of the American Rescue Plan. The ARP allowed for those who had received unemployment to reduce the amount of compensation they claimed. In a press release, the agency the reported that the latest batch "of corrections affected over 519,000 returns, with 430,000 taxpayers receiving refunds averaging about $1,189."

What programs will be included in the reconciliation bill?

The CRFB releases graphics that illustrate the breakdown in programs that will be included in the latest version of the $1.75 reconciliation bill.

US NEWS

Will Social Security beneficiaries get a fourth stimulus check?

Despite knowing that at this time it is a long shot, the Senior Citizens League (TSCL), a non-partisan advocacy group, has started a pressure campaign to push Congress to send those receiving Social Security additional stimulus money. In a letter to leaders of Congress TSCL Chairman Rick Delaney called for a one-off $1,400 Social Security stimulus payment for seniors.

The proposal came after the group heard from seniors telling of the hardships that they face from the highest inflation in decades in the aftermath of the covid-19 pandemic. Many have expressed a feeling of abandonment from the government telling TSCL “our government has forgotten about us.”

Read more here

Stimulus Checks

How has US economy changed since the first, second and third stimulus check were approved?

The covid-19 pandemic has been characterized by extreme suffering and illness, but will also be remembered for a social welfare system never before seen in the US. Residents were bombarded with checks from the government to keep them afloat as the economy entered free-fall, receiving thousands of dollars in support.

Inevitably, this has led to deep changes in the American economy. Some of the standout features are a decrease in unemployment, a staving off of food insecurity for many, but high levels of inflation.

Full story

Welcome to our fourth stimulus check live feed

Hello and good morning! I'm Maite and throughout the day AS USA will be bringing you all the latest updates from Washington as the White House looks to find agreement on President Biden's huge reconciliation package proposals. 

We'll bring you news on the Child Tax Credit, Social Security increase, Medicare expansion and what hopes of a fourth stimulus check in the near future...

.