Fourth stimulus check news summary: 13 November 2021

AS USA

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Fourth stimulus check live updates: COLA 2022, unemployment rate, Child Tax Credit...

Headlines

- Study finds that 4.3 million workers left their jobs in September

- Over 700,000 Golden State stimulus checks sent out in the latest batch

- Unemployment rate falls for sixth successive week

- Low-income families are missing out on Child Tax Credit - Deadline of 15 November to register

- Social Security COLA for 2022 will not account for continued inflation - What can lawmakers do?

- Medicare Part C and Dpremiums for 2022 announced

-Seniors are cutting prescriptions in half to avoid having to pay for a refill, one organization says a $1,400 could help

- Calls for a fourth stimulus check before December continue

Useful information & Links

Child Tax Credit

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

- Individuals who don't typically file taxes have until 15 November to register for the child tax credit. Families, who have yet to receive payments will be sent a lump payment worth $1,500 or more in December.

Stimulus checks

- Fourth stimulus check: the situation in every US state

- Will a new stimulus check happen in November 2021?

Medicare

-Open enrollment continues through 7 December

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

Social Security

- What will be the monthly amount for Social Security disability?

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

- 2022 COLA for Veteran benefits announced

Stimulus Checks

How much were the first, second and third stimulus checks and when were they sent out?

There have been three federal stimulus checks for eligible Americans since the beginning of the covid-19 pandemic early last year.

We take a look at the trio of direct payments

New unemployment claims drop for sixth consecutive week

Tackling the economic crisis brought about by covid-19 was one of the primary targets for President Biden after taking office earlier this year, looking to rebuild the industries ravaged by the uncertainty of the previous year. After some shaky months over the summer it appears that the US jobs market is now showing consistent growth, and the unemployment rate is falling. 

CHILD TAX CREDIT

How many families have missed out on Child Tax Credit payments?

Earlier this month the Urban Institute published a study entitled 'Who Has Received Advance Child Tax Credit Payments, and How Were the Payments Used?' They looked into the IRS’ claim that more than 60 million children benefitted from the monthly payments in August 2021, a large proportion of the total number of eligible families.

Unfortunately, they found that millions more children, mainly from low-income households, have not yet resgistered for the programme.

Read more

SOCIAL SECURITY

COLA 2022: What will be the monthly amount for Social Security disability?

Last month the Social Security Administration (SSA) announced that a record-breaking Cost-Of-Living Adjustment (COLA) would coming into effect next year. The roughly 70 million people who will receive benefits in 2022 will see their monthly aid increased by 5.9%, the biggest year-on-year COLA since 1982. 

The reason behind the vast adjustment needed is simple: the pandemic has caused consumer prices to spike, with energy prices rising, as well as water, food, housing and healthcare also going up. But how will the COLA increase affect those who are in receipt of disability benefits from the SSA?

Read more

Biden pushes Build Back Better to address unemployment deficit

The Labor Department's jobs report for October far exceeded the predictions and the White House has been quick to link the drop in unemployment to the economic legislation introduced in the first nine months of th Biden administration. However President Biden faces a bigger battle now, trying to convince moderate Democrats in the Senate that his $1.75 trillion Build Back Better package would provde the additional impetus required. 

SOCIAL SECURITY

At what age do Social Security payments stop?

Over the course of 2020 more than 65 million Americans received Social Security payments totalling close to $1 trillion. The Social Security Administration (SSA) has been around since 1935 and offers support for retired workers, survivors of retirees, and disabled people.

Recipients can choose the point at which they first claim the payments and in the case of retirement support, you can earn larger monthly payments by delaying them until after the statutory retirement age.

Read more

Stimulus checks sent to billionaires

This tweet from Patriotic Millionaires, a group of "wealthy Americans leading the charge to raise taxes on the rich", criticises the process that saw 18 billionaires receive stimulus checks over the course of the pandemic. Eligibility for the payments was based on annual income, which failed to take into account the vast personal fortunes that some have accrued. 

How to replace your Social Security car

For most people, simply knowing your Social Security number is enough to register for the benefits and programmes that you are eligible. But some people may need a physical card; if you've lost yours, the Social Security Administration has a handy online portal which allows you to request a replacement. 

Pelosi reiterates benefits of the Child Tax Credit

President Biden is yet to find a solution to the issue of a Child Tax Credit extension, the landmark programme which currently provides monthly direct payments worth up to $300 per child. The American Rescue Plan provided just 12 months of funding for the more generous expansion, but Democrats in the Senate are struggling to convince moderates in the party that an extension is worthwhile. 

Manchin is reluctant to expand Social Security

The curcial moderate Senator Joe Manchin has spoken to West Virginia's MetroNews radio station about his concerns relating to the proposed expandion of the Social Security and Medicare programmes. Manchin has been a skeptic with many of the Democrat's more ambitious social safety net policies and warns that the programmes may not be able to fund themselves for much longer if now provisions are included. 

SOCIAL SECURITY

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

When the programme was first introduced, less than one in ten Social Security 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 roughly 56% of recipients pay income tax on a portion of their benefits, sometimes as much as 85% if their total income exceeds upper thresholds. Here's how to work out how much you could be required to pay...

Read more

The moment the infrastructure bill was passed

The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, better know as the bipartisan infrastructure bill, finally got its long-awaited vote in the House last week. It passed with a 228-206 vote with the help of Republican votes to cross the finish line.

President Joe Biden plans to sign the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill when Congress returns from a week-long recess. The legislation is the largest investment in US infrastructure since the federal interstate highway system was created under President Eisenhower nearly 70 years ago.

Unemployment Benefits

Which workers can still get unemployment benefits after quitting their jobs? Exceptions and cases

In September, 4.4 million US workers, almost 3 percent of the entire American workforce, voluntarily left their positions, the highest number since the Bureau of Labor Statistics began tracking “quits” in 2020. The quits rate, the number of quits during the month as a percent of total employment, also jumped to 3%, another all-time high. This is after a previous record set in August of 4.3 million resignations. While this shows the lack of faith workers have in their current jobs, it also precludes many from unemployment benefits.

For most occupations in the US, voluntary unemployment means there is no entitlement to unemployment benefits, except for a few cases.

Read more here

For Florida, the bill means more than 13 billion dollars for roads

For New York, it's nearly 14 billion dollars for bridges and highways

For Massachusetts, the bill means more than 4 billion dollars for roads

What does the infrastructure bill mean for different states?

Governors and senators have been explaining the public what the passing of the infrastructure bill will mean for their states, when Biden signs the bill into law on Monday.

SOCIAL SECURITY

COLA 2022: What will be the monthly amount for Social Security disability?

Following all the damage that the pandemic has done to the US economy, the Social Security Administration (SSA) have officially confirmed that there is going to be a record-breaking Cost-Of-Living Adjustment (COLA) coming into effect next year as of January 2022.

Therefore, it is estimated that around 70 million people, who will receive benefits in 2022, will see their monthly aid increased by 5.9 percentThis increase is the biggest year-on-year COLA since 1982, only coming close in 2009 with an adjustment of 5.8.

The reason behind the vast adjustment needed is simple: the pandemic has caused consumer prices to spike, with energy prices rising, as well as water, food, housing and healthcare also going up. The higher the consuming cost, the higher the money needed to cover the expenses.

Read more here

Medicare premiums to increase in 2022

Seniors on Medicare will have to pay more than $20 more per month extra in premiums next year, a large increase that officials in part attributed to possible coverage of a pricey and controversial new Alzheimer's drug. 

The Biden administration announced Friday that the monthly premium for Medicare Part B, which covers services like doctors office visits, will increase by $21.60, from $148.50 in 2021 to $170.10 in 2022. Officials said that is one of the largest increases in recent years. 

About half of that increase is due to contingency planning to make sure the program has enough money to pay for an expensive new Alzheimer's drug, if Medicare decides to cover it, an official at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said. 

Elaborate ceremony planned for infrastructure bill

Officials are considering holding the event on the expansive White House South Lawn, where the presidential helicopter lands, to accommodate a large crowd invited to celebrate one of the president's biggest legislative achievements to date, a person familiar with the planning said.

The White House said Biden will be joined by lawmakers who helped write the legislation and "a diverse group of leaders who fought for its passage across the country, ranging from governors and mayors of both parties to labor union and business leaders."

But it was unclear how many Republican lawmakers would attend the ceremony. Republican Senators Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski, who helped co-author the legislation, are planning to attend, according to aides. Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell does not plan to attend the White House ceremony, saying in an interview this week that he has "other things I've got to do."

GOLDEN STATE STIMULUS

How many stimulus check payments remain in California?

In more positive news, the California state tax authority announced that another 784,000 Golden State Stimulus checks are on their way to residents. The latest batch consists of around 34,000 direct deposits hitting bank accounts on Friday 12 November. On Monday 15 November, the California Franchise Tax Board is sending roughly 750,000 paper checks. The paper checks will take longer to arrive, perhaps up to two weeks to show up in mailboxes due to delays in the postal system.

A media liaison at the tax agency told the Orange County Register that the state has sent out 5.7 million payments so far. Those payments represent around $4.1 billion of the $12 billion slated for the scheme that Governor Newsom touted as “the largest state tax rebate in American history.” With checks going to roughly two thirds of households in the state, or around 15.2 million taxpayers, there are still approximately 8.7 million payments to go.

Read more here

Democrats discuss inflation levels

Manchin is a fiscal conservative. He always has been and always will be. His fear is that we end up passing things that essentially are not fully paid for and we’ll kick the can down the road. And he has to be shown that’s not being done. He wants to make sure that the programs that are being funded will have an impact and there are reasonable revenue streams for them and we’re not just passing things for the sake of saying we did something.

Mike Plante, advisor to Joe Manchin in 2000

Did you ever think you’d be paying this much for a gallon of gas? In some parts of California, they’re paying $4.50 a gallon!

Joe Biden, speaking in Baltimore

I think if your concern is the cost of living, it’s a concern we have here at the White House, it’s a concern Sen. Manchin shares, the Build Back Better bill is the best answer we have to bring those costs down.

Ron Klain, White House Chief of Staff

Press secretary quizzed on inflation levels

Soaring inflation is shaking up negotiations on Capitol Hill over President Biden’s Build Back Better agenda, giving Sen. Joe Manchin and other centrists more leverage to push for a smaller reconciliation package.

The annual inflation rate hit a 30-year high under Labor Department statistics released Wednesday, giving ammunition for Manchin to argue against government spending.

Manchin has cited rising inflation as one of his main reasons for not supporting a social spending bill above $1.5 trillion, and he’s held back from publicly backing the slimmed-down $1.75 trillion framework while he studies its potential impact on the economy and prices.

WATCH: CNN report on the huge number of resingations

US LABOR NEWS

How many people quit their jobs in September and why?

While the numbers of people being prevented from rejoining the workforce reducing, there is a growing problem of millions of workers quitting their jobs.

In September, the same month federal pandemic-related unemployment benefits ended, 4.4 million people quit their jobs. This comes after 4.3 million left their jobs voluntarily in August.

This spring, more than twenty states cut federal unemployment benefits early as many argued that they were keeping people from reentering the workforce. This new data shows that many not have been the case given the fact that after the benefits ended, millions quit their jobs looking for new opportunities.

Read more here

Covid-19 affected worker numbers going down

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. The news is more positive employment news after a strong rebound in new job numbers in october.

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. On Friday, Biden met with members of his cabinet to discuss how the package, which contains over $1 billion of federal funding, can best be implemented. 

The bill is expected to be signed in an elaborate ceremony on Monday.

Good morning and welcome to AS USA's stimulus check live feed for Saturday, 13 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, the latter of which has yet to be signed into law.

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