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Fourth stimulus check: $8,000, Child Tax Credit, $200 Social Security, COLA 2022... | Summary 7th of January

The latest updates on President Biden's Build Back Better bill, the fourth stimulus check, Social Security payments and the proposed Child Tax Credit expansion.


- Unemployment rate falls to 3.9 percent in December, down more than 4.2 percent since January 2021.

- COLA increase will boost average Social Security payment from $92 to 1,656.03

- Initial claims for unemployment benefits increased by 7,000 for the week ending on 1 January

- GOP Sen. Mitt Romney renews push for his version of the Child Tax Credit

-  ADP National Employment Report: US private firms added 807,000 jobs to their payrolls in December

- Sen. Manchin confirms "there is no negotiation going on at this time" for the Build Back Better bill

- Five states are offering unemployment compensation for those who lose their jobs due to the federal vaccine mandate

- $8,000 stimulus payments available to some households in 2022

Useful information & links:

Child Tax Credit

- What is the future of the Child Tax Credit after the Build Back Better bill failed to get support in the Senate?

- What has Senator Manchin said about the Build Back Better bill?

Stimulus checks

- Rumours of a stimulus check for new parents in 2022

Social Security

- When will the COLA 2022 increase arrive for Social Security recipients?

- Could Social Security beneficiaries receive an additional $200this month?

- How much will the 5.9% COLA increase add to the average Social Security payment?

Latest articles:

Stimulus Checks

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

Since the start of the covid-19 pandemic, qualifying Americans have received up to $3,200 in federal stimulus checks, plus additional credits for households with eligible dependents.

AS USA takes a look back at the three direct payments sent out so far by the US government


How did unemployment change in 2021? 

From January to December 2021, the national unemployment rate fell from 6.4 to 3.9 percent. This year has been historic for workers in the United States. This rate is 0.4 percent higher than the rate captured before the pandemic in January 2020.

While rates are down significantly across demographic groups, some have seen much larger decreases than others. For example, in December 2021, the unemployment rate for white workers was 3.2 percent, essentially what it was in late 2019. On the other hand, the unemployment rate for Black workers was 7.1 percent in December, a full percent higher than the figure captured two years ago.

Read more.

Nurses and other health workers continue to quit thier jobs

In 2021, workers in the healthcare sectors increased from 2 to 3.1 percent. This is the highest rate captured in the last ten years. 

Many nurses have cited mental burnout and post traumatic stress disorder from being on the front lines of pandemic as their reasons for leaving. As hospitalizations surpass 100,000 in the US once again, this trend is expected to continue.

Did Omicron impact job growth in the United States?

Some experts believe that the covid-19 Omicron variant might have disrupted job growth in December after millions were infected and some businesses voluntarily shit their doors. The job numbers fell short of predictions and as the US continues to confirm hundreds of thousands of cases a day, the January numbers could also disapoint. 

Number of quits hit record level

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the number of workers who quit their job hit a record high of 4.5 million in November.

The sectors that saw the greatest number of quits was "the accommodation and food services; health care and social assistance; and transportation, warehousing, and utilities."

Racial disparitie emerge in unemployment data

While, nationally the unemployment rate has reached 3.9 percent, the lowest rate since the pandemic began. However, these numbers vary widely across racial groups. While the rate for white workers stands at 3.2 percent, that of Black workers stands at 7.1. These variations highlight systemic inequalities faced by workers and the disproportionate impact faced by workers of color over the course of the pandemic. 

Black workers saw an increase in the unemployment rate from November to Decemebr of .6 percnet, while all other racial groups saw decreases

What was the unemployment rate in December?

The US economy added 199,000 jobs in December, bringing the unemployment rate down to 3.9 percent from 4.2 percent.

Sectors that saw the greatest job growth included "leisure and hospitality, in professional and business services, in manufacturing, in construction, and in transportation and warehousing."

Support in Congress for a fourth recurring stimulus check

Stimulus checks, boosted unemployment benefits and the expanded Child Tax Credit were all designed to provide economic relief for those hit hardest by the pandemic, and numerous studies have shown that they offered a vital lifeline to struggling Americans. However with Omicron continuing to affect the livelihoods of millions around the country, there is some concern that not enough is being done to address the trend. 

House Democrat Rep. Cori Bush is calling on Congress to seriously consider introducing those financial programmes once again, to ensure that the public health crisis does not have disastrous economic consequences. 

Can you claim Social Security retirement benefits if you work?

Social Security is often thought of as a sort of pension fund for retirees but that is far from the truth, and the Social Security Administration offers programmes for various groups and for people of different employment statuses. You can even start claiming the Social Security reitrement support before you actually leave the workforce, although this will likely affect the monthly amount that you will be entitled to later in life. 


How many stimulus checks were issued in 2021?

To aid the American people through the pandemic the government has provided boosted unemployment benefits and an expanded Child Tax Credit, but by far the most far-reaching financial relief programme has been the three rounds of stimulus checks. The direct payments were both popular and effective, but it has been almost a year since the last round was approved. We take a look back at the last 12 months of stimulus checks...

Read more

Manchin dismisses suggestion of secret Build Back Better talks

"There is no negotiation [on the Build Back Better bill] going on at this time.

"You know, I've never turned down any talks with anybody. I really haven't. I was very clear on where I stand, and I thought it was time to do that."

Sen. Joe Manchin, Senator for West Virginia

What is Mitt Romney's Child Tax Credit proposal?

The People's Policy Project has released a new article arguing that the Child Tax Credit proposal put forth by Mitt Romney is an improvement over Biden's plan. The Romney CTC would go to the poorest children, is larger over the life of the child, and could overcome some logistical hurdles in distributing payments as the responsibility would fall to the Social Security Administration, instead of the IRS.

Romney made this proposal back in February 2020, but in the end a different version was added into the American Rescue Plan. After negotiations on the Build Back Better bill failed, Romney renewed his push to have his credit passed into law as a stand alone bill. Researcher Matt Bruenig also noted that Romney's credit would begin distributing payments while women are at least four months pregnant, which means the proposal includes a maternity grant that could help families prepare for the arrival of their child.

"In the four months prior to birth, the Romney plan pays parents $350 per month, for a total of $1,400. The current CTC provides no money prior to birth and actually does not provide its first cash payout until the year after a child is born," writes Bruenig.


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

Stimulus checks were one of the primary forms of financial relief offered to Americans during the pandemic, and up to $3,200 per person has been dished out over the course of the three direct payments. But now that many will be turning their attention to their tax filings, how should you include these payments on your 2022 tax returns?

We take a look...

Read more

How to list the Child Tax Credit and stimulus checks in your tax returns

Throughout the pandemic the federal government has issued huge amounts of funding in new relief programmes and boosted benefits to help Americans cope with the economic consequences of covid-19. Two of the most widely received, the stimulus checks and the advanced Child Tax Credit payments, are the subject of letters sent out by the IRS this month, explaining to filers how to deal with the payments in their tax filings. 

How to control your Social Security payments

To keep track of your payments from the Social Security Administration (SSA) make sure to take advantage of their online portal which will allow you review your earnings history and estimate future payments, amongst other things. For more information on how to do so, check out this handy blog post form the SSA...

Will Social Security be expanded in 2022?

In dealing with the consequences of the pandemic, boosting the social safety net has been a key priority for lawmakers on both sides of the aisle and their is a feeling that the existing support programmes are insufficient to deal with such a crisis. Social Security provides a vital source of income for tens of millions of seniors and disabled Americans but advocacy groups are concerned that changes are needed to reflect to difficult financial climate that many now find themselves in. 

White House refuses to be drawn on Manchin's Build Back Better position

I’m just not going to get into private discussions or conversations with any members of the Senate from here.  I know that’s maybe a change, but we feel that’s the best way that this is going to work to get this done.

Jen Psaki, White House Press Secretary


Can I claim stimulus check money in 2022 if I missed the Dec 31 deadline?

Have you missed out on a stimulus check payment that you think you should have recieved? In March last year President Biden passed the American Rescue Plan, which provided a $1,400 stimulus check for roughly 160 million Americans, but some eligible people were missed by the IRS in the initial waves of payment. Is it too late to claim your stimulus check?

Read more

How much will I get in my Social Security 2022 payments?

Social Security recipients will enjoy a historic 5.9% increase from the annual cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) this year, meaning that tens of millions of Americans will recieve a hefty raise in their payment. Here's what you need to know about the upcoming payments...


Social Security: How much can draw upon and earn in 2022? Is there a limit?

 Social Security will receive a 5.9% cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) on their benefits in 2022, reflecting the soaring rate of inflation and cost of livingin that has been recorded in recent months. But how much does this increase translate to for the average recipient, and when will you receive your boosted Social Security payments?

Read more

Renewed calls for a fourth stimulus check

Stimulus checks, boosted unemployment benefits and the new-look Child Tax Credit all offered a vital lifeline to struggling Americans during the first 12 months of the pandemic. But, despite the ongoing threat of Omicron affecting the livelihoods of millions around the country, there is concern that not enough is being done to address the trend. 

House Democrat Rep. Cori Bush wants Congress to reintroduce some of those financial programmes once again, to ensure that the public health crisis does not have disastrous economic consequences. 

Will the expanded Child Tax Credit return?

Despite evidence of the benefits that the Child Tax Credit monthly payments have had on low-inomce families, it was not enough to convince Sen. Joe Manchin to support the Build Back Better bill last month.

"I'm really not going to talk about Build Back Better because I think I've been very clear on that," Manchin said this week. "There is no negotiation going on at this time."

Social Security 2022 payments are on their way

This month the Social Security Administration (SSA) will distirbute the first round of payments 2022, featuring a massive 5.9% boost on last year's amounts. Make sure that all your payments and personal details are up to date to ensure that you get your entitlement as swiftly as possible, the payments will come in three waves across the month, depending on the recipient's birthdate. 

Good morning and welcome!

We will be bringing you all the latest on the fate of the Build Back Better bill which President Biden had hoped to pass before Christmas, containing roughly $2 trillion of federal spending. The package includes a one-year extension for the Child Tax Credit and an expansion of Medicare programmes. 

We will also keep you up to date on the proposed fourth stimulus check and the ongoing distribution of the COLA-boosted Social Security payments for 2022. 


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