Fourth stimulus check news summary: Saturday 4 December

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Fourth stimulus check live updates: COLA 2022 benefits, Medicare, Child Tax Credit...

US stimulus checks: live updates

Headlines

- Unemployment rate droppedto 4.2 percentin November.

- A look at the natural unemployment rate in the United States.

- Congress avoids government shutdown on Thursday as Senate passes stopgap bill.

- What services would have been impacted had there been a shutdown?

- Calls for a fourth stimulus check before the holidays increases, as prices surge.

- Social Security local offices to remain closed.

Useful information & links

Child Tax Credit

- Last Child Tax Credit payment of 2021 is to be distributed on 15 December.

Stimulus checks

- Senior Citizens League calls for stimulus check for people on Social Security.

- Americans in some states in the US could get a fourth stimulus check.

Social Security

- How many Social Securitypayments are left this year?

- What is the maximum Social Security benefit for2022?

- What are the average SNAP benefits in every state in the US?

- 5.9 percent COLA increase - by how much will benefits actually increase?

Latest articles:

Stimulus Checks

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

We take a look back at the three stimulus checks sent out so far by the US federal government during the covid-19 pandemic.

Extra holiday money for Maine, California, Maryland, and Florida?

2021 is drawing to a close, but residents of these states may still receive some money from the government in time for the holiday season.

Some Americans could be eligible to receive a $1,400 stimulus payment next year.

Those who are qualified under the American Rescue Plan may be able to avail of the Recovery Rebate Credit after filing their tax return next year. Possible recipients are people who had children this year.

US Senator Bernie Sanders is asking Pres. Biden to cut back a pending increase in Medicare premiums.

The hike in premiums is set to be implemented in the coming weeks. The increase is reportedly attributable to an expensive drug for the treatment of Alzheimer's.

Our infrastructure used to be rated the best in the world—that’s not hyperbole. But now we rank 13th in the world for the quality of our infrastructure. With our infrastructure law, we're turning things around in a big way. And that starts with our roads and bridges.

Joe Biden, US President

Research shows that programs aiming to alleviate child hunger can have great long-term benefits.

Studies show that social programs that provide good early education, food stamps and health care can help children lead better lives in the future.

Stimulus checks could be coming your way, depending on your occupation.

Some states around the country are set to release or have already released some checks to those who worked through the pandemic in low-paying and essential jobs as a way to thank them for their efforts.

These workers include educators and grocery store employees.

Can extending Child Tax Credit payments help close the wealth gap?

Child Tax Credit intends to help poorer families, and its extension beyond next year could have implications not only on economic inequity but on the racial wealth gap as well.

CHILD TAX CREDIT

Can a Government Shutdown affect child tax credits payments?

In September, when the federal government was barreling towards a shutdown the White House advised that federal agencies begin to plan for a lapse in funding. For many, this involved updating their lapse in allocations “contingency plans,” which outline which functions will continue to be carried out during a government shutdown.

While the September shutdown was averted, lawmakers only passed a spending bill through 3 December, meaning that once again agencies are preparing for possible closure.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has said that the public should not worry about a government shutdown and that he is confident he and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer will reach a deal. However, some Republicans have said publically this week that they want to drive the government into a shutdown to avoid the implementation of vaccine mandates.

Full story

SOCIAL SECURITY

What is an unrestricted Social Security card? How can I apply for it?

Your Social Security number is used to identify and accurately record your employment and earnings history and enables you to claim from a variety of benefits programmes.

In most instances simply knowing your number is enough to get a job or take advantage of a government programme, but you should also have been issued with a Social Security card. The Social Security Administration (SSA) has three types of card that it gives to recipients, two of which have certain work restrictions.

Read more

COVID-19

What is the natural rate of unemployment formula?

The natural unemployment rate represents the real and voluntary forces that contribute to unemployment within an economy. The natural rates reflect the structure of the labor force that inhibits a certain number of workers from participating. Learn more in our full coverage.

Prior to the American Rescue Plan, CBO estimated that the U.S. would not have a 4.2 percent unemployment rate until the end of 2024. So, this gives you that chart, just to give you a sense of exactly what the CBO projections were and how much more quickly we move to that unemployment rate.
 
After the Great Recession, it took nine years for the United States to reach a 4.2 percent unemployment rate — just to give you a sense.
 
The unemployment rate is dropping even more — even as more people are reentering the workforce and looking for jobs. That’s good news.
 
There is no doubt that the Biden economic agenda is getting people back to work. In November, we added an additional 210,000 jobs for a total of 6 million jobs in the first 10 full months of the President’s administration. That is a record for a new President.

Jen Pskai, Press Secretary

When does Medicare open enrollment for 2022 end?

If you are in need of information related to premiums, deductibles, plans and dates, check out our full coverage.

How would the extension of child tax credit impact poverty?

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities reports that across all racial demographics, an extension of the child tax credit would support reductions in poverty.

 

CORONAVIRUS STIMULUS CHECKS

Can a fourth stimulus check payment happen in December 2021?

As the holidays approach, many in the US are struggling to keep up with the rapid increases in prices seen across the market of household goods. This has led to increased public interest in the passage of an fourth stimulus check. Could it happen in December? We took a look.

When will the next child tax credit payment?

The final child tax credit payment will be send on 15 December.

For those who have yet to recivve any payments but resigistered with the IRS by 15 November, will receive a lump sum payment. The payment will be worth $300 for all children in the family under six and $250 for those children between six and seventeen. That figure will be multipled by six, as the IRS has made five prior paymetns.

The remaining value of the credit can be claimed by families when they file their taxes in the spring.

Build Back Better places a limit on what Medicare members can be charged for prescriptions

The bill would ensure that seniors who receive healthcare through Medicare would never pay more than $2,000 for perscription drugs so long as they have purchased a Medicare Part D plan. Part D plans allow seniors to pay a monthly premium to receive prescriptions at a lower cost. However, in recent years many seniors have paid an average of $6,000 which for many is far too high a price when living on a fixed income.

Build Back Better bill would make electric cars more affordable

The White House reported that the measures included in the Build Back Better bill would bring down the cost of electric cars, making them more affordable for middle class families. The federal government will provide subsidies to companies that build electric cars in the US and have a unionized work force and will also provide a $12,500 tax credit to those looking to purchase an electric vehicle with a gross annual income under a certain limit.

SNAP beneficiaries receive a boost

Throughout the pandemic, the number of families receiving SNAP benefits have grown significantly. Parents, especially single parents have struggled to reenter the workforce while balancing schooling from home and other responsibilities.

While a boost to benefits ranging between $12 and $15 was passed applied to benefits in October, inflation has increased quickly and eaten into the additional beneefits.

Social Security

Social Security COLA 2022: how much is the increase on benefits?

In October the Social Security Administration announced a historic cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) of 5.9 percent that will be applied to benefits for 2022. The increase makes history as the highest offered to seniors in over forty years and is mostly a result of higher than normal inflation brought on by multiple factors resulting from the covid-19 pandemic.

Read our full coverage to learn when you can expect the increase and how much you could receive.

This year, we can reflect on some extraordinary bit of progress.  Our economy is markedly stronger than it was a year ago.  And today, the incredible news that our unemployment rate has fallen to 4.2 percent. 
 
At this point in the year, we’re looking at the sharpest one-year decline in unemployment ever.  Simply put, America — America is back to work and our jobs recovery is going very strong. 
 
Today’s historic drop in unemployment rate includes dramatic improvements for workers who have often seen higher wages and higher levels of unemployment — excuse me, higher levels of unemployment.  They are receiving higher wages.  And the rate of Black and Hispanic unemployment is also dropping sharply. 

Joseph Biden, President of the United States

Government shutdown averted

On Friday 3 December, President Biden signed a spending bill that will keep the government open early 2022. Some Republican leaders had planned to force the government into a shutdown over the adminstration's vaccine mandates, but were persuaded to drop the effort.

Still on Congress' to-do are increase, extend, or elimiante the debt ceiling and finalize negociations over the Build Back Better agenda.

Unemployment continues to decrease in the United States

The BLS reported that the national unemployment rate fell to 4.2 in November. The monthly employment situation showed that 210,000 were added to the economy with "notable gains" in the professional and business services, transportation and warehousing, construction, and manufacturing sectors.

Good morning and welcome to the AS USA coverage for December 4. We will be taking a look at the ongoing Congressional wrangling over the fate of President Biden's Build Back Better bill.

We will also bring you all the latest updates on the debt ceiling, attempts to send a fourth stimulus check and extend the child tax credit, Medicare open enrollment, and the COLA increase to social security.

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