Fourth stimulus check live updates: $8,000, COLA 2022 benefits, Medicare, Child Tax Credit...
US stimulus checks: live updates
- Some parents will receive $8,000 stimulus checks this spring.
- Biden extends thestudent debt moratorium to May.
- As Omicron causes business closures, will a fourth stimulus check be passed to combat the economic losses?
- West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin says he can't support Build Back Better bill
- "There will be more negotiations," says White House Press Secretary Psaki
Useful information & links
Child Tax Credit
- What next for the Child Tax Credit after Build Back Better bill talks stall?
- Why does Manchin oppose the Build Back Better bill?
- Final monthly CTC payment of 2021 sent out on Wednesday 15 December
-New parents could see another stimulus check reflected in their tax refund in 2022
- What's the deadline to get your stimulus check plus-up payment in 2021?
-How many Social Security payments are there to go in 2021?
- When does COLA 2022 take effect in Social Security benefits?
- 5.9% COLA increase - how much difference will it make to Social Security benefits?
Child Tax Credit: letters in the post
The Internal Revenue Service said today that it’s starting to send out information letters to the 36 million families who got advance child tax credit payments this year. It’s important to hold onto the letter. If you got advanced child tax credit payments, you’ll need the letter when you file your taxes for tax year 2021 in 2022. Treat it like any important tax form like a W-2 or 1099.
It’s called Letter 6419: 2021 advance Child Tax Credit (CTC). The letter verifies how much you got in advance payments in 2021, and the number of qualifying children used to determine the payouts.
Ashlea Ebeling, Senior Contributor for Forbes, brings you more.
Joe Manchin has seen support for his super pac increase this fall
CNBC has reported that Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) has seen contributions to his super pack increase substantially this year. Manchin came under fire from members of his own party this weekend he ended negotiations with President Biden over the Build Back Better bill. The donations began about the same time Manchin becomes a vocal critic of the trillion-dollar social spending bill.
Reports show that the 17 contributions came from corporations in October, and an additional 19 were given in November. Some of the companies include American Express, Goldenman Sachs, and Verizon.
$1,400 stimulus check in 2022: How do families that missed out in 2021 receive it?
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) began sending around 169 million Americans a third Economic Impact Payment (EIP), or stimulus check, after Democrats passed the American Rescue Plan in March 2021. That direct payment to taxpayers was for up to $1,400 for every eligible man, woman and child, to boost household finances in light of the continuing covid-19 pandemic, but not all of those who were eligible received a payment.
The IRS automatically sent out payments based on the information they received from taxpayers, either through an online portal for Non-Fliers or from 2019 or 2020 tax returns. Anyone who the tax agency was unaware of would not have received a payment, but when the 2022 tax season rolls around that oversight can be remedied.
Read more on the eligibility requirements in our full coverage.
How long has Biden extended the student loan moratorium? how to apply for the debt cancellation
President Biden sent a small gift to the millions of Americans who have student loan debt. The moratorium which allows borrowers to pause payments without collecting interset was set to end in February and has now been extended a few more months.
Earlier this month prominent Democratic lawmakers had “strongly urged” Biden to extend the loan forbearance which started at the onset of the covid-19 pandemic. The news of the 90-day extension was greeted with enthusiasm as well as calls for debt forgiveness, something Biden had promised to do as a candidate.
Read our full coverage for more details on the extension and the renewed calls to cancel student loan debt.
We’ve added nearly 6 million jobs this year — the most of any first-year president in history. And the number of people receiving unemployment benefits has dropped from around 20 million to around 2 million since President Biden took office.
Rents increase across the country
Renters across the nation are facing increases in the prices of their rent. One of the biggest hotspots is Austin, Texas. During the pandemic, some tenants in Austin saw decreases, as many people lived in the city. However, prices have steadily increased as affordable housing has become more scarce, as the city is focusing on building more luxury apartments.
Combined with inflation and stagnant wages, these increases are really starting to impact people's purchasing power. Even in smaller markets like Gilbert Arizona, rent prices shot up 116 percent from 2020 to 2021. While the prices in Gilbert may seem low to some from larger markets, we must remember that rental prices are usually calcuated with the wages of the workers in that area in mind.
Are unemployment claims increasing?
As the Omicron variant spreads rapidly through the United States, many are wondering if businesses will close down and lay off workers. So far the Department of Labor has only reported slight increases in initial unemployment claims. However, this data runs a week behind, and may not be capturing the extent to which Omicron is impacting the economy.
Which states are seeing increases in claims?
For the week ending on 11 December, the largest increases were in:
1. Missouri (+7,344)
2. Kentucky (+3,600)
3. Illinois (+1,171)
4. Nebraska (+1,032)
5. Tennessee (+705)
More Americans going hungry as Child Tax Credit ends
Democrats in Congress made major changes to the Child Tax Credit for the 2021 fiscal year. The credit went from $2,000, $1,400 of which was refundable, up to $3,600 per child under six and $3,000 for each child age six to 17 and the whole credit amount was refundable.
Additionally, the earnings floor of $2,500 that was in place to begin to claim the credit, was removed granting access to low-income families. To top it all off, the IRS was instructed to send six advance installments in 2021, representing half the credit. Households can claim the remainder on their 2021 tax return next year.
However, the changes, that were part of the American Rescue Plan, will now expire at the end of the year. Democrats had been pushing for a one-year extension in the Build Back Better Act under consideration in the Senate. Hopes of passing the legislation by Christmas were dashed as negotiations dragged out and the Senate went on holiday until January.
Senator Joe Manchin created further doubts about any extension when he said that he cannot vote for the bill, primarily over objections to the Child Tax Credit.
Households with children saw a reduction in hardship and increased ability to put food on the table after the advance payments started in July. However, with inflation biting, hunger is once again increasing in the US, with 1 in 10 households reporting not having enough to eat during the first two weeks of December.
Calls to end pilot privatization of Medicare program
Seniors’ advocategroups and lawmakers in Congress are calling on the Biden administration to put an end to a pilot program set up by the previous president to privatize Medicare services.
The program, called “Direct Contracting,” allows private companies, who don't need to have any expeirence in the healthcare field, to supervise select Medicare patients, even if they signed up for traditional government run coverage.
Seniors can already sign up for a privatized form of Medicare called Medicare Advantage. However, there are looser limits on the profit margin companies can take from money not spent on patients medical needs, incentivizing profit over care.
$8,000 stimulus check: who gets it, how to apply and when will it be sent out?
Parents with children up to the age of 13 and who make less than an adjusted gross income of $125,000 could be entitled to a payment up to $8,000 in the new year.
The initiative is called the child and dependent care tax credit and it aims to help working families pay expenses that they would otherwise need to look after their loved ones.
“The credit is calculated based on your income and a percentage of expenses that you incur for the care of qualifying persons to enable you to go to work, look for work, or attend school,” said the IRS.
More on the potential payments into 2022 and how your tax filing may be affected.
With Congress leaving town for the holidays, 35 million families have been thrown into uncertainty and left wondering if they will be cut off from this critical economic support next year.
Our new poll finds that a majority of voters support the expanded Child Tax Credit, which has helped families keep their heads above the water, supported local small businesses, and boosted the overall economy.
Allowing this credit to lapse now would be devastating for families and threaten the fragile economic recovery.
Child Tax Credit: voters support permanency
Lawmakers are poised to allow an historic investment in lower- and middle-class families lapse as the Child Tax Credit is likely to expire - despite data showing the monthly payments have helped millions of families this year and that Americans support the CTC by a 26-point margin.
Fighting Chance for Families - a project started by progressive think tank Data for Progress with the goal of advocating for the expansion of the Child Tax Credit - released polling on Wednesday showing nearly half - 49% - of likely voters support making the payments permanent, while only 42% say they should end.
Julia Conley brings you more.
Wall Street rises at open as Omicron worries ease
Wall Street's main indexes opened higher today after early data suggested the Omicron variant of the coronavirus was less severe than feared.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 28.5 points, or 0.08%, at the open to 35782.42.
The S&P 500 rose 7.4 points, or 0.16%, at the open to 4703.96, while the Nasdaq Composite rose 22.9 points, or 0.15%, to 15544.788 at the opening bell.
Food insecurity back on the rise ahead of CTC expiry
New data released by the United States Census Bureau shows that food insecurity is back on the rise in the US, as American families prepare for the financial blow of the enhanced Child Tax Credit’s expiry at the end of the month.
According to statistics compiled between 1 and 13 December, a five-month-high 9.7% of American households said they sometimes or frequently did not have enough food.
After the first of so far six monthly payments of up to $300 per child went out in July, food insecurity in the US fell to 7.8%.
What is the Social Security early retirement penalty chart?
For those fed up with the grind of the nine-to-five and nearing retirement age, it might be tempting to take advantage of the fund they’ve built up through Social Security at the first possible opportunity. However, retiring before full retirement age will result in lower monthly payments than you would otherwise receive.
When does COLA 2022 take effect in Social Security Benefits? How to calculate your amount
Thanks to the 5.9 percent COLA increase for 2022, Social Security recipients will see their monthly benefits increase.
ICYMI: Biden extends student loan moratorium
President Biden announced on Wednesday that his administration is extending the moratorium on federal student loan repayments for a further 90 days, until 1 May 2022.
Interest and repayments were initially suspended as part of covid-19 relief legislation in early 2020, but the freeze was due to expire at the end of January.
“Our economic recovery is the strongest in the world,” Biden said in a statement. “But I know that because of the pandemic, many borrowers need more time to resume repayments.”
How much were the first, second and third stimulus checks and when were they sent out?
There have been three federal stimulus checks in the US during the coronavirus pandemic - two under former President Trump, and one since President Biden took office in January.
Will Social Security beneficiaries get a fourth stimulus check?
As inflation rises rapidly, the Senior Citizens League is calling on Congress to send those on Social Security a fourth stimulus check worth $1,400.
"We're going to go back to scraping by each month"
NBC’s Today show has been speaking to households affected by the imminent end of the monthly Child Tax Credit payments, which are due to expire at the end of the month.
“Sending two kids to daycare costs slightly more than our mortgage each month,” father-of-two Ryan Egnaczyk said. “The peace of mind the past few months, knowing that I can use the child tax credit to help pay our mortgage and ease the load of daycare and other expenditures, has been such a positive, especially in this uncertain time.”
Meanwhile, Brian Russel, who has three children, said: “With the money going away, we’re going to go back to scraping by each month as we try to dig back out from the hole the pandemic has put us in.
"I’m really not ready, mentally and emotionally, to go back to living paycheck to paycheck... We’re not even the worst off, and we’re definitely going to feel it. It’s going to leave an $800 hole in our budget."
$1,400 stimulus check in 2022: How do families that missed out in 2021 receive it?
Families that missed out on the 2021 stimulus checks could still receive it when they file their new tax returns in 2022.
Fourth stimulus check: Will Congress pass another payment as Omicron sparks an increase in cases?
The Omicron variant is leading to a surge in cases, leading some businesses to shut their doors voluntarily. Will Congress pass another stimulus check?
AS USA's Maite Knorr-Evans takes a look at the chances of a fourth direct payment
Manchin would be "more comfortable" in Republican Party - McConnell
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky) has urged Joe Manchin to join the Republican Party, saying the moderate Democratic senator, who is opposing President Biden’s $1.75tn Build Back Better bill, would be “more comfortable on our side”.
“I would suggest that a good solution to his problems would be to come across the aisle and join us, where he’d be treated with respect - you’ll recall the White House basically called him a liar on Sunday - and find himself in agreement with the party he was caucusing with most of the time,” McConnell told Fox on Wednesday.
He continued: “This is a conversation we’ve had with him over the years. He’s in a very red state, a very Republican state, he’s trying to exist in today’s Democratic Party, which is very hard.
“The Democratic Party today is the party of Bernie Sanders. They want to turn America into a socialist country. No wonder Joe Manchin is uncomfortable on the Democratic side of the aisle […]. He’d be a lot more comfortable on our side, but that’s a better question for you to ask him.”
US stocks up as Omicron fears fall and WH says Manchin talks will go on
US stock indexes closed broadly higher on Wednesday after investors cheered positive economic data and the White House said it would continue talks on a massive social spending and climate change bill with holdout Senator Joe Manchin.
The market gained throughout the trading session, overcoming fears about the Omicron covid-19 variant, and was pushed upward by improving consumer confidence and gross domestic product growth. The positive swing continued Tuesday's trend, when stocks recouped losses.
"With covid fears, there’s not as much worry as before," said Anu Gaggar, global investment strategist for Commonwealth Financial Network. "It may not have as much of an impact on the economy. [US President Joe] Biden has said we won’t go back to lockdown."
Manchin rejects Build Back Better: what does this mean for the Child Tax Credit?
The proposed Build Back Better bill, which Senator Joe Manchin has said he cannot support, included extra funding for the Child Tax Credit, which would have allowed the popular monthly payments to have continued for at least another year.
Why does Joe Manchin oppose the Build Back Better bill?
We take a look at the reasons why West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin has announced he cannot support President Biden's Build Back Better bill.
Psaki: "There will be more negotiations"
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki has insisted that talks will continue with Senator Joe Manchin over the Build Back Better bill, despite the holdout Democrat announcing he cannot support the $1.75tn legislation.
“There will be more negotiations, no doubt about it; everybody stay tuned and settle in,” Psaki told a White House press briefing on Wednesday.
(Photo: Brendan Smialowski / AFP)
US stimulus checks live updates: welcome
Hello and welcome to AS USA’s daily live blog for Thursday 23 December 2021. We’ll be bringing you the latest news on President Biden's Build Back Better bill, which has been dealt a major blow by Democratic Senator Joe Manchin’s announcement that he will not be voting for the legislation.
We’ll also provide information on the enhanced monthly Child Tax Credit, which is due to expire at the end of the month. A major goal of the Build Back Better bill is to extend the scheme, which has seen qualifying households receive up to $300 per month per child.
You’ll also find updates on a potential fourth federal stimulus check in the United States, in addition to information on unemployment and Social Security benefits.
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