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Fourth stimulus check: COLA 2022 benefits, Medicare, Child Tax Credit... | Summary 16 december

Update:
President Joe Biden looks on as he visits a neighborhood devastated by an outbreak of tornadoes that passed through several states, in Dawson Springs, Kentucky.

Headlines

- Federal Reserve confirms it will bring stimulus spending to a close in the coming months - What is quantative easing?

- Final Child Tax Credit monthly payments were sent out on Wednesday

- Senate votes to  raise the US debt ceiling by $2.5 trillion - What does this mean?

- Manchin still not convinced on Democrats' $2 trillion spending bill after call with Biden

- Could the Omicron variant lead to another stimulus check?

- Inflation outpaces social security 2022 COLA increase

- More US lawmakers pledge backing for Medicare for All

- Unemployment rate in the US down to 4.2% after 210,000 jobs added in November

Useful information & links

Child Tax Credit

- Biden faces a battle to secure Child Tax Credit extension

- IRS sends out final Child Tax Credit payment of 2021 on 15 December

Stimulus checks

- In Atlanta, some medical students are to get a $6,300 stimulus check.

- New parents could see another stimulus check reflected in their tax refund in 2022.

- What is the deadline to claim stimulus check plus-up payments in 2021?

- Congress urged to approve new stimulus check for Social Security recipients

- Some states could send out another stimulus check

Social Security

- How many Social Security payments are still to be sent out in 2021?

- Some states offer those receiving Supplemental Security Income benefits much larger payments

- Details of 2022 COLA increase being mailed to Social Security recipients

- What is the maximum Social Security benefit for 2022?

- 5.9% COLA increase -how much does this affect benefits?

Unemployment

- What is the natural unemployment rate formula?

Latest articles:

dollar

Dollar on back foot after hawkish tilts by BoE & ECB

The U.S. dollar remained under pressure on Friday, a day after the Bank of England and European Central Bank adopted more hawkish stances than markets had expected, giving a boost to sterling and the euro.

The dollar index, which measures the currency against six major peers including the euro and British pound, started the Asian session at 95.933 following a 0.61% two-day slide that took it as low as 95.850 on Thursday for the first time since Dec. 8.

IRS urges using IP PIN

The Internal Revenue Service recommends that customers use an IP PIN number when filing tax returns with this unique code connected to the users social security number

Bennet demands movement on the Child Tax Credit

Speaking to MSNBC's Stephanie Ruhle, Sen. Michael Bennet made clear that he will not stop pushing for an extension of the Child Tax Credit, despite it now looking likely that the programme will lapse in the New Year. Bennet has been one of the most vocal proponents of an expanded Child Tax Credit but President Biden does not currently have the support needed in the Senate to make it a reality. 

Democrats turn on Manchin over Child Tax Credit refusal

Throughout negotiations for the Build Back Better bill Sen. Joe Manchin has remained apart from the majority of the Democratic caucus but now, as it looks like hopes of passing the package before Christmas are fading, the West Virginia lawmaker is coming under more pressure. Manchin's main opposition is thought to be related to the Child Tax Credit expansion which he thinks is too expensive. This afternoon he received a lot of criticism from Demcocrats in the Senate. 

2021 Child Tax Credit: how will it affect my 2022 tax return?

CHILD TAX CREDIT

2021 Child Tax Credit: how will it affect my 2022 tax return?

On Wednesday, 15 December the IRS sent out the sixth round of direct payments from the expanded Child Tax Credit, the final batch provided for by the American Rescue Plan (ARP).

But what does all this mean for tax filing in 2022? Can you still rely on a Child Tax Credit to reduce the size of your family’s tax bill, or even use it to boost a tax refund?

Read more

November Child Tax Credit details released

Last month saw the IRS send out the fifth round of payments as part of the expanded Child Tax Credit, the penultimate round of payments ensured by the American Rescue Plan. New figures suggest that that round of support alone was enough to keep around 3.8 million children out of poverty, which may strengthen calls to extend the programme in the coming days and weeks. 

Why is the Federal Reserve cutting back stimulus? How will this affect stimulus check payments?

US NEWS

Why is the Federal Reserve cutting back stimulus? How will this affect stimulus check payments?

Since the start of the pandemic the Federal Reserve has been using a process known as quantative easing to provide additional stimulus to the US economy. On Wednesday the Fed announced its intention to scale back the level of stimulus to bring the rising rate of inflation back under control. 

But what does this mean for the prospect of a fourth stimulus check?

Read more

Sanders pushes for Medicare reinvention

The issue of healthcare provision has become particularly relevent during the pandemic and there appears greater appetite than ever before to expand the provision for low-income Americans. President Biden's Build Back Better bill includes various improvements to the Medicare programmes, potentially introducing hearing, dental and vision services for the first time and allowing providers to negotiate drug costs with pharmaceutical providers. 

It’s been 9 months since the third stimulus check: could a fourth one still happen in 2022?

CORONAVIRUS STIMULUS CHECKS

It’s been 9 months since the third stimulus check: could a fourth one still happen in 2022?

Across the world, the latest potential setback in the battle against covid-19 is the emergence of the Omicron variant, which could potentially evade the immunity provided by vaccines. The new variant, which appeared in November, is spreading quickly around the US having already been found in over half the states, triggering renewed calls for additional direct support. 

The prospect of a fourth stimulus check has gone quiet in recent months, but could the emergence of a dangerous new variant change that?

Read more

What are the benefits of the expanded Child Tax Credit?

Earlier this year the American Rescue Plan introduced a number of key changes to the Child Tax Credit, changing the amounts, the distribution method and the eligibility requirements. President Biden had hoped to pass a bill extending all of those measures for another year, but is struggling to find sufficient support for the Build Back Better bill. 

However this research suggests that simply extending the fully refundable status could be enough to retain most of the benefits that the expanded programme has bought for vulnerable low-income families. 

Will it be possible to receive third stimulus check plus-Up Payments after 31 December 2021?

Coronavirus Stimulus Checks

Will it be possible to receive third stimulus check plus-Up Payments after 31 December 2021?

At the moment the prospect of a fourth stimulus check seems fairly remote, but there are still unclaimed payments from the third check that still need to be distributed. These are taking the form of plus-up payments, bridging the gap for those whose situation has changed between submitting their 2019 and 2020 tax returns.

But there is a catch, applicants have until the end of the year to submit their 2020 tax returns and receive the money, or it will not be able to be claimed.

Read more

Sanders pushes for Child Tax Credit extension

Sen. Bernie Sanders has reiterated the importance of passing an extension to the Child Tax Credit in the Build Back Better bill, which has been the subject of talks in the Senate for months. The final monthly direct payment was sent out on 15 December and there will be no more if an agreement cannot be found.   

Manchin objects to Child Tax Credfit extension

Sen. Joe Manchin appears to be the most powerful man in Washington at the moment, and may potentially be the key to President Biden's Build Back Better bill. Manchin has refused to commit his support to the package and has reiterated that he is unhappy with the one-year extension to the Child Tax Credit. 

The West Virginia Senator is unhappy that the legislation only lists the costs of a single year extension to the credit, while in reality it could be extended next year, accruing a larger cost that initially thought. 

It’s been 9 months since the third stimulus check: could a fourth one still happen in 2022?

CORONAVIRUS STIMULUS CHECKS

It’s been 9 months since the third stimulus check: could a fourth one still happen in 2022?

Just when it seems that ground is being gained in the battle against the covid-19 pandemic another setback is experienced. Previous new surges in case numbers pushed lawmakers in Washington to act to help relieve the financial hardship being inflicted on households and the economy.

This led to sweeping legislation that injected massive sums of money into the economy, including three rounds of Economic Impact Payments, or stimulus checks, to around 169 million Americans in the last round. However, the conditions have changed in the nine months since the last stimulus checks for up to $1,400 were approved putting into doubt whether a fourth round could gain traction again.

Read more.

Democrats to give up on Build Back Better plan before Christmas

Democrats privately conceded on Wednesday that they were all but certain to delay consideration of President Biden’s $2.2 trillion social policy bill in the Senate until 2022, missing a self-imposed Christmas deadline as negotiations with a key centrist holdout, Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia, sputtered.

Asked if the legislation could be finished this year, Mr. Biden told reporters on Wednesday, “I hope so. It’s going to be close.”

2021 Child Tax Credit: how will it affect my 2022 tax return?

CHILD TAX CREDIT

2021 Child Tax Credit: how will it affect my 2022 tax return?

On Wednesday 15 December the IRS will begin distributing the sixth round of direct payments from the expanded Child Tax Credit, the final batch provided for by the American Rescue Plan (ARP).

Congress passed the ARP back in March and the $1.9 trillion relief package expanded the decades-old Child Tax Credit programme to include direct monthly payments for the first time. However only one year of funding was ensured by the ARP and, unless Congress is able to pass an extension in the near future, the monthly payments will end with the December instalment.

Read more.

WATCH: Bernie Sanders urges Democrats to support Build back Better plan

Hoosiers are getting a stimulus check from the state

Around 4.3 million in Indiana will be receiving a $125 automatic refund from the state. Anyone who paid taxes in the state in 2021 will be eligible but will need to file a tax return in 2022. Indiana experienced higher than expected revenues in 2021 and under state law the excess reserves must be returned to residents.

Stimulus checks in 2021: how will it affect to Tax Return 2022?

Coronavirus Stimulus Checks

Stimulus checks in 2021: how will it affect to Tax Return 2022?

More than 169 million payments have been sent out in the third round of stimulus checks, but groups are continuing to push for a fourth as inflation continues to bite, as well as the emergence of a new covid-19 variant, Omicron, that is scaring markets.

Two prior ones have been sent since the beginning of 2020, creating America's most generous social safety net in decades. People may now be wondering; how will these affect my tax returns? Will I need to pay more tax on the stimulus checks I received?

All the answers are here.

Read more.

36 million families receive final advance Child Tax Credit payment

On Wednesday the IRS sent out over 36 million payments to eligible families with children age 17 or younger. Since July, the agency has sent 200 million payments totaling $93 billion. Families that didn't file a tax return in 2019 or 2020, nor signed up on the online portal can still claim the tax credit by filing a 2021 tax return next year.

The advance payments this year represent part of the credit due to taxpayers, the remainder will need to be claimed on 2021 tax returns. The IRS advises families that have received the advance payments will to check how much they have received and compare that with how much they are eligible to claim. The tax agency will send recipients of the payments a Letter 6419 in January 2022 detailing the amount.

SALT tax cut will cost more than Child Tax Cut extension

The Build Back Better Act that the Senate is debating includes to major tax cuts for taxpayers, an increase of the state and local tax (SALT) cap and an extension of the enhanced Child Tax Credit.

The former would mainly benefit those making over $100,000, around 98 percent, and costs $285 billion according to the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. While the latter those at the lower end of the income spectrum at a cost of $185 billion.

The enhanced Child Tax Credit has been credited with reducing childhood poverty by as much as 40 percent this year. The changes are set to expire at the end of the year.

Will it be possible to receive third stimulus check plus-Up Payments after 31 December 2021?

Coronavirus Stimulus Checks

Will it be possible to receive third stimulus check plus-Up Payments after 31 December 2021?

While a fourth stimulus check is extremely unlikely to happen, the last dregs of the third check are still hanging around. These are taking the form of plus-Up payments, bridging the gap for those whose situation has changed between submitting their 2019 and 2020 tax returns.

But there is a catch, applicants have until the end of the year to submit their 2020 tax returns and receive the money, or it will not be able to be claimed.

Read more.

IRS increases tax information to over 20 languages

Being aware that that tax information can be complex, the Internal Revenue Service are now translating our tax resources into more than 20 different languages.

ws

World shares turn positive after Fed tapering announcement

Global shares rose slightly on Wednesday after the U.S. Federal Reserve said it would end its pandemic-era bond purchases in March.

The announcement paves the way for three quarter-percentage-point interest rate increases by the end of 2022, as the Fed exits from policies enacted at the start of the global health crisis. In new economic projections released following the end of a two-day policy meeting, officials forecast that inflation would run at 2.6% next year, compared to the 2.2% projected as of September, and the unemployment rate would fall to 3.5%.

MSCI's global gauge of stocks gained 0.10%, and the pan-European STOXX 600 index rose 0.26% after the Fed's statement.

Fed will begin tackling inflation

The Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said on Wednesday that the Central Bank will end its pandemic-era bond purchasing stimulus program  in March. The Fed will also begin raising interest rates now that inflation targets have been met.

Currently at zero, the interest rate will rise to 0.9 percent by the end of 2022 with subsequent hikes through 2024 to 2.1 percent. According to the central bank, the timing of the first hike in 2022 would hinge solely on the path of the job market, which is expected to continue improving in coming months.

Powell said that in his view "we are making rapid progress toward maximum employment," and that "the economy no longer needs increasing amounts of policy support." 

After a two-day policy meeting officials forecast that the unemployment rate would fall to 3.5 percent and inflation would run at 2.6 percent in 2022.

Good morning and welcome to our daily live blog for 16 December 2021, bringing you the latest news on President Biden's Build Back Better bill, whose provisions include funding for schemes such as the expanded Child Tax Credit.

We'll also be providing updates on a possible fourth federal stimulus check, in addition to information on unemployment and Social Security benefits.

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