Fourth stimulus check news summary | 12 November 2021
The expanded Child Tax Credit was designed to provide support for American children but studies suggest that many low-income households have not received the cash.
Three stimulus checks have so far been sent out by the US federal government since the covid-19 pandemic began in early 2020.
Last month the Social Security Administration (SSA) announced that beneficiaries will soon see a 5.9% boost in their payments. This increase represents the yearly cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) and is larger than in past years because of price increases for many consumer goods across the economy.
But there are other ways to get a boost to your Social Security payments...
Manchin speaks out on Social Security and Medicare spending
Sen. Joe Manchin occupies a crucial place in the 50/50 split Senate as one of two Democrats who appear to be holding up the remainder of President Biden's Build Back Better proposals. Manchin, alongside fellow moderate Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, both have reservations about the amount of spending included in the bill, something that the Senator addresses with West Virgina radio statio MetroNews.
Social Security payments are a vital source of federal support for tens of millions of Americans every month. The programme has been in place for decadesa and is designed to ensure that retired and disabled Americans have enough money to live off.
But will you get taxed on the Social Security payments when they arrive?
How to sign up for the Child Tax Credit
The IRS will soon be sending out the fifth, and possibly penultimate, round of payments as part of the Child Tax Credit. The agency have said that more than 60 million children are currently benefitting from the programme every month but there are still millions of households who still need to sign up for the benefits.
If you think this you be you, you have until 15 November to provide the IRS with your details and trigger the payments...
The penultimate round of Child Tax Credit payments from the American Rescue Plan will begin landing in bank accounts on Monday, 15 November and some households could receive a larger-than-expected amount.
The vast majority of eligible families will have begun receiving the monthly payments automatically in July, but some low-income households may initially have missed out. The unique registration process for some families has meant that some could receive a bumper payment in December.
Biden meets with cabinet to discuss bipartisan infrastructure bill
After finally receiving the votes required to pass both the Senate and the House of Representatives, the bipartisan infrastructure bill is scheduled to be signed into law by President Biden next week. Earlier today, Biden met with members of his cabinet to discuss how the package, which contains over $1 billion of federal funding, can best be implemented.
How many people are not looking for a new job because of covid-19?
The BLS has released new data from October 2021 showed that around 7.9 percent of people "were not in the labor force but wanted to work were prevented from looking for a job because of the COVID-19 pandemic."
In May 2020, the rate hit its high of 52.6 percent and has decreased steadily since that time.
September was another historic month for labor in the US.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics has reported that over 4.3 million workers quit their jobs, totally more than 12.3 million quits since July 2021.
Many workers are looking for greater flexibility and higher pay, but new data shows that these motivating factors tend to vary based on the income of the worker. Read our full coverage for more details.
Which income groups have reported getting a raise this year?
Bankrate found that the percent of workers who reported receiving a raise in the last twelve month, increased as incomes grew.
- $75,000 and above -- 39%
- $50,000 to $74,999 -- 29%
- $30,000 to $49,999 -- 25%
- $30,000 and under -- 9%
This finding is a stark reminder of how leaders and businesses have failed to compensate low-wage essential workers who helped to keep the economy moving throughout the pandemic.
Some seniors rights advocacy organizations are worried that as inflation increases rapidly, the entire 2022 COLA announced in October could be eaten up by the increase in premiums for Medicare. What do we know about the premiums for 2022? Read our full coverage for details.
4.4 million workers quit their job in September
The Bureau of Labor Statistics has released the data for quits in September, and the number surpassed the level seen in August. 4.4 million workers voluntarily left their jobs in September. The number is historic and shows that many workers beleive that better opportuntiies are out there are willing to take the risk of quiting to find out.
California's unemployment rate could be artificially low
CBS Sacramento has reported that the way in which California's unemployment rate is calcuated could leave out millions. The official unemployment rate stands at around 7.5 percent. However, in the Golden State someone is counted as employed even if they only work one hour a week. A recent study found that as many as a quarter of adults in the state could be "functionally unemployed" when taking into account those that are working far less than a part or full time job.
The functional unemployment rate also takes into account people who are working full time but make a wage that is under the poverty line.
Will interest rates be raised to combat inflation?
CNBC is reporting that the Federal Reserve may begin to a process of tapering which could result in the increase in interest rates. According to the online financial outlet, Bankrate, tapering refers "to a post-crisis asset purchase plan, where the Fed, at a predetermined pace, starts to slowly and gradually decrease how many assets it’s buying each month "
Deadline to sign up for the Child Tax Credit nears
For individuals in the care of children who do not typically file taxes, the deadline to sign up to receive payments for the Child Tax Credit is 15 November.
If you fall into this category and have to receive benefits, the IRS will send you a lump sum payment in December valued at $1,500 for each child between the ages of 6 and 17, and $1,800 for those under 6.
Prior to 1984, Social Security benefits were not taxed. However, to kept the Trust Fund that supports the program solvent, bipartisan legislation was passed to tax a portion of payments to seniors citizens, surviving spouses and the disabled if they had income above certain thresholds.
At the onset, less than one in ten beneficiaries paid income tax on their benefits. But that percentage has risen over time since unlike benefits the thresholds were not indexed to inflation and in the intervening four decades no inflation adjustments have been made. This meant that as benefits rose, more recipients crossed over the thresholds. Now 56 percent of beneficiaries pay income tax on a portion of their benefits, sometimes as much as 85% if their total income exceeds upper thresholds.
The Social Security Administration announced COLA will a record 5.9% in 2022, letting many Americans learn the boost to their income as of January. Of the approximately 70 million recipeints in 2022, the agency estimates that about 8 million people claim disability benefits and who will also see an increase in their monthly benefits as of January 2022.
Here's how I see it: The Child Tax Credit is our nation's down payment on our children's future.
It's a middle-class tax cut that gives families a little breathing room, and I’m proud to have helped make it happen.
In July, Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law the California’s budget unleashing funds for a $12 billion tax rebate to eligible residents. The second round of Golden State Stimulus authorized $600 checks, plus $500 for those with a dependent, to around two thirds of residents.
The first batch of payments began hitting bank accounts in late August and new batches will continue through early 2022. The California Franchise Tax Board expected to get the vast majority of payments to taxpayers that use direct deposit by 31 October, but it is now in the process of sending paper checks.
The tax authority announced another 784,000 in the latest batch are on their way to residents. How many Californians are still waiting?
Lawmaker receives death threat for "Yes" infrastructure bill vote
A man was arrested by Nassau police in New York for making death threats. His target was Andrew Garbarino, a Republican congressman from Long Island. The reason for the threat was Garbarino's "Yes" vote on the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill that finally passed Congress last week.
"It's scary," Garbarino said of how people are getting so worked up because of the misinformation surrounding the bill.
He told WCBS 880's Sophia Hall "The way some of my colleagues in Congress are selling it they're making it sound like this was the reconciliation bill, the socialists. I don't understand how paving a road is socialist. It's not."
He added "When people say, 'Oh you gave the Democrats a win,' I say, 'No, I gave my district a win.'"
Garbarino was one of 13 Republicans in the House that voted for the bill.
AOC constituents have mixed feelings about "No" vote on infrastructure bill
Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was one of six progressives that voted against the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill. In part because it lacked a series of measures to combat climate change. But also to use passage of the infrastructure legislation as leverage to secure the much larger Build Back Better investment bill.
However, some of her constituents interviewed by the New York Times are wondering if she is really voting in their best interests. They realize that fighting climate change is important, but the day-to-day improvements to infrastructure in their neighborhoods the bill will bring are even more important.
Supporters though pointout that there was enough Republican support for the bill, 13 GOP House members voted with Democrats, that AOC could cast a protest vote without endangering the passage of the legislation.
Inflation sending Americans to discount stores
Big box and discount stores generally see an uptick in traffic during economic downturns but as the US economy grows at a solid clip another economic ailment is driving shoppers to look for a better deal, inflation. The October year-on-year inflation rate was the highest in over 30 years at 6.2 percent, mainly due to increased price of energy and food.
With just about everything costing more, Americans have been flooding into stores where they can make their money go further. Even though wages have jumped nearly 5 percent over the past 12 months, inflation has more than offset that gain dropping real wages just over 1 percent.
McConnell avoiding bipartisan infrastructure bill signing
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, despite voting for the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill, along with 18 other GOP senators, will not attend the signing ceremony at the White House on Monday. He was in Kentucky this week talking up the bipartisan negotiations that led to the bill and the benefits it will bring.
When asked about the whether or not he would attend during an interview with WHAS "I've got other things I've got to do," McConnell said.
He has been receiving criticism from fromer President Trump for voting with Democrats to pass the long-overdue legislation, something Trump attempted to do but never could.
The 13 Republican House members that bucked their party's leadership and helped pass the largest investment in US infrastructure since President Eisenhower have also been receiving blowback from members of their party.
California Franchise Tax Board sending another batch of Golden State Stimulus
In July, Governor Gavin Newsom signed a $100 billion budget for California, included was a second round of $600 Golden State Stimulus payments. Eligibility rules for the new round of cash injections meant two thirds of California households would receive one.
Most taxpayers that filed electronically and use direct deposit have now gotten their payment. For those that filed a paper return, the state tax authority is sending out checks based on a filers ZIP code. On Friday, the California Franchise Tax Board will send the latest batch of around 748,000 stimulus checks.
How is the Child Tax Credit affecting families?
Four months into the Child Tax Credit expansion and families up and down the country are seeing the benefits of the new reformed programme, which has been particularly important given the financial strain many are under. The pandemic has caused almost unparalleled chaos for budgeting, and the monthly payments have provided an additional cash boost for some 35 million households every month.
The vast majority of eligible families will have begun receiving the monthly payments automatically in July, but some low-income households may initially have missed out. Those who missed out in recent months could be in line to receive up to $1,800 per child in December.
The IRS bases eligibility on the information submitted in recent tax returns, but some families do not earn enough to be required to file taxes. Here's everything you need to knowabout the upcoming Child Tax Credit deadline and how to claim your payments...
Consumers are paying 6.2 percent more on goods and services compared to this time one year ago. For those on a fixed income, like Social Security this can have extremely dangerous impacts as their purchasing power can decrease suddenly during eras of high inflation.
The Seniors Citizen League reported hearing from seniors that “that people are cutting their spending on prescriptions and groceries because that’s the last things they have left to cut.”
Read our full coverage for information on what lawmakers have proposed in relation to increasing the 2022 COLA.
Lawmakers push for Social Security 2100 bill
Numerous Democrats in Congress have voiced their support for Social Security 2100: A Sacred Trust, which aims to ensure that the Social Security system is sufficiently funded for years to come. Current estimates suggest that the funds which allow the programmes to continue could run dry by 2034 and recipients could then receive a 20% decrease on their allowance.
The Senior Citizens League (SCL) has reported that the cost of living in the United States has increased more than 100 percent, while social security benefits have only increased 55 percent.
The SCL is calling on Congress to send a $1,400 stimulus check to all Social Security beneficiaries to help increase their purchasing power.
While this check may not help beneficiaries in the long run it can help people who are feeling the financial crush from increased inflation.
The vast majority of eligible families will have begun receiving the monthly payments automatically in July, but studies have found that many low-income households are missing out. Eligibility for the programmes is based on tax filings, but not everyone is required to file a return. Those who haven't yet done so have until 15 November to sign up to receive the monthly payments.
Good morning and welcome to AS USA's dedicated stimulus check live feed for Friday, 12 November 2021. President Biden remains intent on passing major legislation to help boost the nation's post-covid economic recovery.
Central to that will be the passage of the Build Back Better legislative agenda, which includes a Child Tax Credit extension, as well as the implementation of the bipartisan infrastructure bill.