Fourth stimulus check news summary: 17 November 2021

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Fourth stimulus check live updates: COLA 2022, Biden signs infrastructure bill, Child Tax Credit...

US stimulus checks: live updates

Headlines

- The premium for Medicare Part Bwill increase 15 percent in 2022, cutting the size of many social security checks.

-Maine begins distributing a $285 stimulus checks.

-President Biden signed Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill into law on Monday. Today he visits Michigan to promote it.

- Congress could remove Social Security Number requirement for Child Tax Credit

- Distribution for the fifth Child Tax Credit payment started on Monday: Find out more

-Low-earning American households are missing out on the Child Tax Credit

- US unemployment rate falls for a sixth consecutive week

- Calls continue for Congress to pass a fourth stimulus checkbefore December

Useful information & Links

Child Tax Credit

- People who don't normally file a tax return have until TODAY to register for the CTC

Stimulus checks

- Maine offers $285 surprise stimulus checkto half a million residents.

- Could a fourth stimulus check be approved in November 2021?

- Which states are sending out their own payments?

- 750,000 Californians to receive Golden State Stimulus checks

Social Security

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

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

Latest articles:

Manchin says about Biden Build Back Better Bill "If we're gonna vote, vote"

Just a day after expresing concerns about the Christmas timeline for passing President Biden's "care economy" spending package, including the enhanced Child Tax Credit extension, Senator Joe Manchin indicated that he's willing to cast his vote before the end of the year.

One caveat though, he didn't say if he'd vote in favor of the sweeping $1.75 trillion spending package which could be passed by the House this week.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced the new rates beneficiaries will pay on premiums, deductibles and coinsurance in 2022 for Medicare. Despite the standard premium for Medicare’s outpatient care coverage outpacing the 2022 COLA increase for Social Security benefits, the dollar amount of the former is less than the latter.

That will be of little comfort to those on a fixed income dealing with record inflation on food and fuel as a result of the aftermath of the covid-19 pandemic. 

Full details

MEDICARE

Is Medicare going up 2022?

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced the new rates beneficiaries will pay on premiums, deductibles and coinsurance in 2022 for Medicare. Despite the standard premium for Medicare’s outpatient care coverage outpacing the 2022 COLA increase for Social Security benefits, the dollar amount of the former is less than the latter.

That will be of little comfort to those on a fixed income dealing with record inflation on food and fuel as a result of the aftermath of the covid-19 pandemic. 

Full details

Here’s what one of the agencies said, and I quote, 'The bills do not add to inflation pressures.'  Let me repeat that: 'do not add…inflation pressures.'

President Joe Biden, on Moody's and Fitch saying infrastructure and social spending legislation will not add to inflationary pressures in the US economy

Not matter if you are collecting benefits, retired, or just beginning your career, the Social Security Administration (SSA) allows you to set up an online account at “my Social Security”. The service is your “gateway” to the agency’s online services where you can verify your earnings history, review current benefits or estimate future benefits, in addition to many other services.

Setting up an online secure account is quick and easy, which you can do online or in person. For those who are 18 and older, all you need is a US mailing address, valid email address and a Social Security number.

Read more here

SOCIAL SECURITY

How can I access my Social Security information online?

Not matter if you are collecting benefits, retired, or just beginning your career, the Social Security Administration (SSA) allows you to set up an online account at “my Social Security”. The service is your “gateway” to the agency’s online services where you can verify your earnings history, review current benefits or estimate future benefits, in addition to many other services.

Setting up an online secure account is quick and easy, which you can do online or in person. For those who are 18 and older, all you need is a US mailing address, valid email address and a Social Security number.

Read more here

Reward for Sinema beckons as opposition to Democrat plans could land her a safe seat

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) said he "would be surprised if Republicans tried to unseat" Senator Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) when she comes up for reelection in 2024, according to Politico.

Politico added that Senate Minority Whip John Thune (R-S.D.) has repeatedly asked Sinema to join the GOP. The young senator has made a name for herself by repeatedly disrupting Democrat legislative plans. it seems to have made her friends on the other side of the aisle, who apparently feel they can count on her to support the Republican view in the Senate.

Sinema has also been criticized for accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars from big oil and big pharma, during her short time as senator.

At least 750,000 paper California stimulus checks were sent out via mail last Monday, the California Franchise Tax Board (CFTB) announced.

On Friday, the state issued about 34,000 direct deposits of the Golden State Stimulus II payments, the Board added. Most direct deposits were sent by the end of October.

"We expect the vast majority of all GSS II payments will be issued by year's end, but they will continue into early next year," a spokesperson for the Tax Board said.

Nearly all the current checks being sent are physical paper checks. They are sent in batches based on resident's zip codes, with the latest round being sent to people living in zip codes 303-543. It could take up to three weeks for the batch to be fully sent and received, estimated to be by December 3, 2021.

Read more here

Golden State Stimulus

How many Golden State Stimulus check payments are being sent this week in California?

At least 750,000 paper California stimulus checks were sent out via mail last Monday, the California Franchise Tax Board (CFTB) announced.

On Friday, the state issued about 34,000 direct deposits of the Golden State Stimulus II payments, the Board added. Most direct deposits were sent by the end of October.

"We expect the vast majority of all GSS II payments will be issued by year's end, but they will continue into early next year," a spokesperson for the Tax Board said.

Nearly all the current checks being sent are physical paper checks. They are sent in batches based on resident's zip codes, with the latest round being sent to people living in zip codes 303-543. It could take up to three weeks for the batch to be fully sent and received, estimated to be by December 3, 2021.

Read more here

Biden remarks on bills in visit to GM plant in Detroit

It is the first presidential visit since the passing of the infrastructure bill, and we will be bringing you some of his select remarks throughout the evening.

Will Dems pass the reconciliation bill this week?

Democrats are confident that they will pass their Build Back Better package this week, saying they’ll rally the support of wary moderates who say they want more information on the measure’s cost before voting for it.

Progressive caucus chair Pramila Jayapal explains how she believes the bill will address the rising inflation in the US, which is on course to be 6%; the highest in a decade.

There is much confusion in the public surrounding the two bills that have been circulating on Capitol Hill since early this summer. The efforts of leaders to tie their fates or argue they are completely separate has left many people wondering which measures, tax credits, and other benefits are included in each.

The two bills are the $1.2 bipartisan infrastructure bill and the $1.75 trillion reconciliation bill.

This spring President Biden unveiled the American Jobs Plan and the American Families Plan, which together with the American Rescue Act form his Build Back Better agenda. The economic agenda aims to set the country up for economic success and ensure that American workers and families are able to thrive in compete in the 21st century. However, its critics have called it a waste of public funds and say that it will only contribute to the national debt and increase inflation.

Read more here

CHILD TAX CREDIT

Child Tax Credit: How does the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill affect the payments?

There is much confusion in the public surrounding the two bills that have been circulating on Capitol Hill since early this summer. The efforts of leaders to tie their fates or argue they are completely separate has left many people wondering which measures, tax credits, and other benefits are included in each.

The two bills are the $1.2 bipartisan infrastructure bill and the $1.75 trillion reconciliation bill.

This spring President Biden unveiled the American Jobs Plan and the American Families Plan, which together with the American Rescue Act form his Build Back Better agenda. The economic agenda aims to set the country up for economic success and ensure that American workers and families are able to thrive in compete in the 21st century. However, its critics have called it a waste of public funds and say that it will only contribute to the national debt and increase inflation.

Read more here

Manchin still the roadblock for Build Back Better plan

West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin is once again digging his heels in against reasonable propositions. His latest target is paid parental leave, for when children are born.

Federal workers receive 12 weeks of paid leave. But only around 16% of private sector workers qualify for paid family leave, and many do not qualify for any leave at all, especially hourly workers and those in lower-wage industries.

Former President Trump attacks his own party for approving the $1.2 trillion infrastructure package

President Trump has issued a statement warning Republicans, none of which have shown any support for the reconciliation bill, that if they were to vote for the package they would never receive an endorsement from him. The warning is a bit redundant as Democrats chose the reconciliation legislative path, knowing that Republicans would never sign onto the legislation. 

In the statement Trump takes direct aim at Senate Minority Leader who he says "he allowed the Democrats to get their act together and pass the $1.2 trillion "non-infrastructure" Green New Deal bill." A strange use of the phrase "get your act together" which typically implies that a positive change has or will be made. None the less, Trump's attack gets personal, but it seems that it will have little impact on the negotiations on the reconciliation bill, which are not being obstructed by Republicans, rather conservatice Demcorats. 

More than 4.4 million people in the US quit their jobs in September, surpassing the historic level of 4.3. million in August.

A new poll from Bankrate, a financial news organization, found that more than half -- fifty-six percent -- of workers have not received a pay increase in the last year. The survey found that around twenty-eight percent of workers had received a raise, but there are income disparities who saw a pay increase. Read more.

US LABOR NEWS

How many people quit their jobs in September and why?

More than 4.4 million people in the US quit their jobs in September, surpassing the historic level of 4.3. million in August.

A new poll from Bankrate, a financial news organization, found that more than half -- fifty-six percent -- of workers have not received a pay increase in the last year. The survey found that around twenty-eight percent of workers had received a raise, but there are income disparities who saw a pay increase. Read more.

McConnell 'proud' to back Biden infrastructure bill

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell continues to talk up the bipartisan infrastructure bill that President Joe Biden signed into law on Monday – saying it is 'extremely good' for his home state of Kentucky.

McConnell skipped the Monday pep rally and signing ceremony that Biden oversaw at the White House – although senior Republican Rob Portman of Ohio, who helped negotiate the deal and who is retiring – attended. 

'I've watched each of the two previous administrations struggle with the issue of how to meet the infrastructure needs of the country,' McConnell told reporters in the Senate – acknowledging former President Donald Trump's failure to push through an infrastructure bill.

Stimulus checks issued...but they're not the issue!

Dan Whitfield, if you weren't aware, is a Democratic candidate for the United States Senate 2022 in Arkansas. And with needy citizens still hopeful of more financial support following a tough 18 months, he was keen to point out some facts that may be getting distorted.

As you can see from his tweet, he points to corporations and billionaires getting trillions in tax breaks as one of the reasons for the current levels of inflation, not Americans getting stimulus checks and spending them

A certain former president also gets an unsurprising shout-out.

Intelligent technology is key to understanding Cumre Vieja volcano

Cutting edge technologies are being used to help scientists track the changes in the Cumbre Vieja volcano and understand the scale of the damage likely to be caused to the island and local environment. At this stage, scientists are still unsure about the likely duration of the eruption, which has been going for eight days already. 

GOP's infrastructure "LIES"

Jon Cooper, formerly the National Finance Chair of Draft Biden 2016 and now Majority Leader of Suffolk County Legislature, has taken to social media to call out Republicans for what he says is "fear mongering".

He has recently posted:

'President Biden's infrastructure and social spending legislation will NOT add to inflationary pressures, according to analyses by leading rating agencies.

'Retweet if you want Republicans to STOP fear-mongering with LIES!'

Infrastructure plans: Kentucky

As you can listen for yourself here, Governor Andy Beshear introduces how he expects to implement President Biden’s infrastructure deal.

Repairing Kentucky’s roads and bridges and making sure that every family in the state has easy access to clean drinking water - incredible that this is even in doubt in 2021 - high on his agenda.

Republicans point to Biden promise

For all the benefits that come to those most in need from the infrastructure bill, but analysis by

'Even after all credits are taken into account, taxpayers making between $50,000 to $75,000 annually would see a 0.3% tax increase starting in 2023.' writes Haris Alic for the Washington Times. 'For those making between $75,000 and $100,000, the tax hike would be 2.9%.

'Individuals making between $100,000 and $200,000 would see a net tax hike of 7.4% in 2023.'

Infrastructure bill only halfway

Senator Tina Smith has been speaking about the equal importance of what comes next following the signing into law of the infrastructure bill.

It "needs its other half" she declared.

Surprise! More surprise bills expected

The detente that allowed Congress to pass a law curbing surprise medical bills has disintegrated. A bipartisan group of 152 lawmakers have been assailing the Biden administration's plan to regulate the law and medical providers, warning of grim consequences for underserved patients.

For years, patients have faced these massive, unexpected bills when they get treatment from hospitals or doctors outside their insurance company's network. It often happens when patients seek care at an in-network hospital but a physician such as an emergency room doctor or anaesthesiologist who treats the patient is not covered by the insurance plan. The insurer would pay only a small part of the bill, and the unsuspecting patient would be responsible for the balance.

Child Tax Credit irony

We’re debating about whether to give lower- and middle-class families a $1000 a year through the child tax credit, while giving upper-class families $10,000 or more through SALT.

Marc Goldwein, Budget Hawks, The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget

Infrastructure fundamentals

With the signing of the $550 billion infrastructure legislation complete - $15 billion of which will be spent to remove lead from the nation’s drinking-water systems - President Joe Biden visits Michigan today to promote his bill.

As Timothy O'Brien writes, he might want to consider Benton Harbor, a predominantly Black, low-income community on the shores of Lake Michigan that neighbors many predominantly White, more affluent communities.

Three years ago, the state told Benton Harbor’s residents that their drinking water contained unsafe levels of lead — reminiscent of the infamous public health crisis in Flint, Michigan, that started in 2014. Replacing Benton Harbor’s lead service pipes would cost $30 million and take 20 years, the state said, so instead it began distributing free water filters to residents.

Rep. John Larson, Chair of the House Ways and Means subcommittee on Social Security, has reintoroduced an old bill which aims to shake up the Social Security system to ensure that the payments are funded well into the future. 

Larson made clear that he was doing so in conjunction with President Biden’s wishes. The lawmaker said: “We have a person on Pennsylvania Avenue who knows and understands that Social Security is a sacred trust.”

Read more

SOCIAL SECURITY

Is it true that Social Security benefits will run out and end?

Rep. John Larson, Chair of the House Ways and Means subcommittee on Social Security, has reintoroduced an old bill which aims to shake up the Social Security system to ensure that the payments are funded well into the future. 

Larson made clear that he was doing so in conjunction with President Biden’s wishes. The lawmaker said: “We have a person on Pennsylvania Avenue who knows and understands that Social Security is a sacred trust.”

Read more

What is in the new infrastructure bill?

The huge infrastructure package President Biden signed into law yesterday included a significant funding boost for roads, bridges and public transportation across the country. And every state is looking to see what that means for them on a local level.

For Ohio, the impending law could mean a whole host of things: Money for Columbus transportation projects, a new bridge to ease congestion on the Brent Spence Bridge, broadband in Appalachia and maybe even Amtrak routes. 

Federal and local officials say it's too soon to tell how the money could be spent in the Buckeye State in the coming years, but ground could start breaking on some projects as early as next year.

"These communities are ready for this," Sen. Sherrod Brown said.

Build Back Better will provide Child Tax Credit extension

The Child Tax Credit extension was a major priority for President Biden in his Build Back Better proposals, and he had initially wanted to secure the programme until the end of 2025. However that has proved impossible to build support for and the latest package includes funding to ensure the payments continue through 2022. 

Sanders pushes for Child Tax Credit extension

The Child Tax Credit expansion was one of the key inclusions in the American Rescue Plan passed earlier this year, but despite already showing positive results President Biden is struggling to secure an extension to the programme. The new system provides a monthly Child Tax Credit payment for an estimated 35 million households, something that progressive Sen. Bernie Sanders is eager to ensure remains. 

Stimulus checks went to 250 ultrawealthy Americans

The three rounds of stimulus checks distirbuted by the federal government were designed to offer short-term support for those who were struggling financially and help boost the economy. However a study has found that 250 mega-rich Americans were also sent the direct payments, because they were able to show that their personal income for the year was less than the $75,000 individual threshold. 

The Social Security Administration (SSA) has been around since 1935 and provides a range of programmes which offer 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

SOCIAL SECURITY

At what age do Social Security payments stop?

The Social Security Administration (SSA) has been around since 1935 and provides a range of programmes which offer 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

With the federal government unwilling to pass a fourth stimulus check at the moment, a number of states have moved to provide their own direct payments for certain residents. Maine is one such state, and a new round of payments will see certain residents get a $285 one-off amount. 

Maine Governor Janet Mills said of the new package for residents: “As a result of the bipartisan budget passed by the Legislature and signed by me, my Administration will send one-time payments of $285 to more than half a million working Maine people. I hope this will help Maine families to some small degree during the holiday season as we work to fully recover our economy.”

Read more

Coronavirus Stimulus Checks

$285 surprise stimulus check in november: who is getting extra money?

With the federal government unwilling to pass a fourth stimulus check at the moment, a number of states have moved to provide their own direct payments for certain residents. Maine is one such state, and a new round of payments will see certain residents get a $285 one-off amount. 

Maine Governor Janet Mills said of the new package for residents: “As a result of the bipartisan budget passed by the Legislature and signed by me, my Administration will send one-time payments of $285 to more than half a million working Maine people. I hope this will help Maine families to some small degree during the holiday season as we work to fully recover our economy.”

Read more

Build Back Better offers Child Tax Credit extension

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities argues that Congress should extend the child tax credit into 2022, saying that it "benefits roughly 9 in 10 children across the country, and already data show signs of success."

Their own research has shown that "vast majority of parents with low incomes are spending their Child Tax Credit payments on basic needs such as food, housing, utility bills, and education, which can help give their children a stronger start in life."

Read more.

Romney praises bipartisan work

"Our bipartisan infrastructure bill shows that Congress can deliver for the American people when members from both sides of the aisle are willing to work together to address the critical needs of our country."

Sen. Mitt Romney, Utah (D)

Tribal regions get infrastructure bill windfall

Yesterday President Biden finally signed the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill into law, securing $1 billion of federal funding to overhaul the nation's creaking physical infrastructure system. The big-ticket items like road, rail and broadband were headline-makers, but Biden has reiterated the importance of some other inclusions. 

For example, $13 billion will be sent to tribal authorities for targeted projects aims to ensure that they are not marginalised. 

When will Congress vote on Build Back Better?

The prospect of passing the Build Back Better bill before Congress' Christmas break has been a target for high-ranking Democrats in recent weeks, but key moderate Sen. Joe Manchin has suggested that they may not be possible.

Although Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has reiterated his desire to get the Build Back Better bill on the Senate floor in December, it will not happen unless he and President Biden are sure they have the required votes to pass it. 

Financial stimulus provided much-needed airlines boost

Much of the money from federal stimulus bills has gone to the airline industry. When the pandemic hit, many of these companies nearly bankruptcy when stay at home a orders banned much domestic and international travel. But as many economists have now shown that the industry often struggles to turn profits which can make an economic shock, like the pandemic a death sentence without intervention.

Unemployment benefits fraudsters have been charged

Earlier this year, the Department of Justice and Labor announced that hundreds of billions of dollars had been lost to fradulent unemployment claims. Since then the Department of Justice has charged several individuals with crimes related to this fraud. Today, the Los Angeles US Attorney published a press release stating that three individuals had been sentenced to federal prison for their role in this sort of scam.

Stores continue economic recovery

The retail sector was hit badly by the pandemic last year year, with covid-19 restrictions and financial insecurity preventing people from shopping as they usually would. However the third quarter of 2021 appears to be showing signs of recovery for many retailers, thanks in part to the removal of restrictions and the long-term consequences of the stimulus checks and other federal mechanisms designed to boost spending power. 

The Center on Medicare and Medicaid has announced the premiums and deductibles for Medicare Part A & B. Many members could pay as much as 15% more for their health coverage.

The price of the premium for Medicare Part B, which most members are required to pay, will increase 15% from $148.50 to $171. This increase is almost triple the Social Security cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) those on social security will see reflected in their benefits next year.

Read more

MEDICARE NEWS

How much is taken out of your Social Security check for Medicare?

The Center on Medicare and Medicaid has announced the premiums and deductibles for Medicare Part A & B. Many members could pay as much as 15% more for their health coverage.

The price of the premium for Medicare Part B, which most members are required to pay, will increase 15% from $148.50 to $171. This increase is almost triple the Social Security cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) those on social security will see reflected in their benefits next year.

Read more

US stimulus checks: live updates

Good morning and welcome to the AS USA's coverage of the ongoing Congressional wrangling over the fate of President Biden's Build Back Better proposals. 

I'm Will, and I'll be running you through all the early morning news and update on the long-awaited fourth stimulus check, Child Tax Credit extension and the Social Security COLA increase. 

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