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Fourth stimulus check | News summary 16 January

Update:
All the latest news and updates on the fourth stimulus check, Child Tax Credit expansion and the 2022 COLA Social Security boost for recipients.

Headlines:

- Thousands will see student debt cancelled after$1.85 Navient settlementreached with various states.

- The latest on a possible fourth stimulus check for those on social security

- IRS warns that tax return backlog surpassing 6 million filings will threaten tax refund distribution this year

- How to counter the impact of high inflation in tax season 2022

- Some seniors will see social security benefitboosted to $1,657

- 2022 SNAPpayment schedule released

- Changes to the retirement agecould impact your social security benefits in 2022

- Consumer Price Index increased 0.5 percent in December, 7 percent over the last twelve months

- Will you get a fourth stimulus check from your state in 2022?

- Final round of Golden State stimulus checks has now been distributed

Useful information & links:

Tax Season 2021

- When can I expect my W-2 from my employer?

- An overview of benefits available to parents and guardiansthis tax season

- When can you submit your tax return?

Child Tax Credit

- How much can families expect to claim for the child tax credit when they file their taxes?

- No child tax credit payment will be sent in January after the Senate fails to pass Build Back Better bill

- Senator Manchin has his say on the future of President Biden's Build Back Better proposals.

Stimulus checks

- How many stimulus checks were approved during the last 12 months?

Social Security

- Social Security recipients are in line for a COLA increase, but could they also get an additional $200this month?

- What does the 5.9% COLA increase mean for Social Security beneficiaries?

Latest articles:

Free File service available to US taxpayers

Millions of US taxpayers will be able to take advantage of the IRS' Free File service, which provides online tax preparation products at no charge. The Free File service gives people an early opportunity to file their taxes and claim the 2021 Recovery Rebate Credit, the enhanced Child Tax Credit, the Earned Income Tax Credit, and other important credits. Taxpayers can use Free File to claim the remaining amount of their Child Tax Credit and claim any advance payments of the Child Tax Credit they did not receive in 2021.

IRS Free File is available to any person or family who earned $73,000 or less in 2021. The filing season starts on Monday 24 January 2022 and Free File Fillable Forms, the electronic version of IRS paper forms, will be available from that date. Free File Fillable Forms is available for use by everyone, regardless of income, but should be used only by people who are comfortable preparing their own taxes.

US NEWS

How can I get extra SNAP benefits in 2022?

As we approach filing season 2022 many people will already be turning their attention towards their tax return. To submit their filing most people will need to know their Social Security Number, which is printed on an individual's Social Security card; but what if you have lost your card?

Fortunately most people will have a note of the number on other documents and should be able to complete the process without needing the physcal card. However if you want to request a new Social Security card, here's everything you need to know. 

Read more

IRS is sending out letters relating to Child Tax Credit and stimulus checks

During 2021 the federal government sent out various forms of financial support for Americans to help them deal with the economic consequences of the pandemic.This included a third round of stimulus checks and a six-month-long expansion of the Child Tax Credit. Both of these programmes are the subject of letters from the IRS, which will explain how to include the support in your tax filings and outline any outstanding payments that you may be owed. 

Child Tax Credit payments come to a halt

After six months of direct payments, tens of millions of American families will not receive an advanced Child Tax Credit payment this month after Congress failed to agree to an extension of the popular programme. Many lawmakers are hoping to secure additional payments in the coming months but for now there is concern that some households may be forced to do without essentials. 

Biden addresses nation over historic investments that will be made through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Act

You know, and we’ve arrived at this by a bipartisan agreement.

There’s nothing beyond our capacity when we work together.  When we get this done, we’ll get back to beating the world again.  We’ve [We’ll] once again be number one in the world, instead of where we sit now at number 13, in terms of the quality of our infrastructure.

And that’s going to mean more jobs, good-paying jobs, safer communities, and lower costs. 

We can do this.  This is what America — a better America is going to look like.

I want to thank you all for listening.  And we’ve got a lot of work to do.
 

Joseph Biden, US President

US NEWS

Do I qualify for the Naviant lawsuit?

The student loan servicer, Navient, reached a $1.85 billion settlement on Thursday 13 January with various state leaders that will provide over 400,000 loan holders debt relief.

The settlement is the result of a suit filed by several state Attorney Generals which accused Navient of unfair and predatory practices. Historically, Navient was one of the largest federal student loan servicers, and according to the case has engaged in these sorts of practices for close to two decades.

Read more on for information on who is eligible for a $260 payment and loan cancellation.

Consumer Price Index up 7 percent over the last 12 months

In December, the Consumer Price Index increased 0.5 percent, down from a high of 0.9 percent in October. Energy and food sectors saw major increases this year. See the video from CNBC to learn more about the historic increases.

Rep. Hakeem Jeffries says he hopes an agreement with Manchin and Sinema will be reached

Today, Rep. Hakeem Jeffries spoke to the media saying that it was his hope that a deal will still be reached with two Senate holdouts Joe Manchin and Kirsten Sinema. While Manchin had said he was not in contact with the White House, Jeffries saiad he believed negociations had been restarted between the two parties.

Working families across Illinois have made it clear that they’re looking for lower essential costs in 2022. That’s why I’m not giving up on #BuildBackBetter. We’re talking about lower child & health care costs, good-paying jobs, & tax cuts. We’ve got to seize this opportunity.

Dick Durbin, US Senator (D) for Illinois

US NEWS

Fourth Stimulus Check Update 2022: What is the situation in each state?

With the Omicron variant making its way across the US, there has been more impetus for further economic support for American people and businesses. The high infectiousness of the variant is forcing thousands of people off work, putting them under pressure as federal support such as the Child Tax Credit winds down.

While very few states have committed to a stimulus check in the ilk of the Economic Impact Payments, quite a few still have some extra pandemic-related support that state residents can access.

Full details

Build Back Better versus inflation, what voters want Biden to do

President Biden took office just under a year ago and has had two major legislative successes with passage of the American Rescue Plan and the bipartisan infrastrucutre bill. The remaining legislation he wants to see passed, a voting rights bill and the Build Back Better Act, are held up in the Senate.

However, recent polling suggest that voters want the President and Democrats to focus on a more pressing concern to them right now, inflation. A new CBS/YouGov poll breaks down the numbers.

What can the Federal Reserve do to rein in inflation?

The US has been experiencing higher than normal inflation at levels not seen in forty years. The year-on-year rate in December was 7 percent. Initially the Federal Reserve had tolerated inflation above its 2 percent benchmark, viewing the post-pandemic numbers as transitionatory.

However, the Fed has decided that it is time to act to tame the rising costs for Americans on just about everything. What tools can the central bankers use to bring down inflation?

SOCIAL SECURITY

What is a lump sum Social Security payment?

Social Security is typically thought of as a programme that offers monthly payments for retired Americans and other groups to help towards the cost of essentials. However, few know that recipients can also claim a proportion of the support in a lump sum, provided they satisfy certain requirements.

Full details

Share how the 2021 Child Tax Credit payments affected you

The PBS NewsHour wants to hear from Americans that received the advance payments on the Child Tax Credit in 2021. Around 36 million households benefited from the monthly installments that began in July and ended with the payment 15 December.

Democrats are struggling to find a suitable way to extend the program that will overcome Senator Joe Manchin's objections.

Build Back Better could restore policies that would help tackle homelessness

Maria Foscarinis, lawyer, lecturer in Law at Columbia Law School and founder and former executive director of the National Homeless Law Center shares her view that the Build Back Better Act would begin to undo decades-long damage to social programs that have caused homelessness to become a mass phenomenon in the US.

More than a transformation of US social policy, Build Back Better would be a restoration of programs that have been decimated by cuts.

IRS goes into 2022 tax season with major backlog

At the end of the year the IRS reported that it still had around 6 million unprocessed individual tax returns. Included were filings from 2020 that needed correction with taxpayers making calculation errors due to Recovery Rebate Credit, to claim missing stimulus check money, as well as validating 2019 income used to claim the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Additional Child Tax Credit.

Due to these complications the agency is taking more than the normal 21 days to issue a refund. The IRS warns that some returns are taking up to 120 days to process.

The IRS advises taxpayers to file 2021 tax returns electronically, and early, in 2022 so that they can get their refund sooner. 

US NEWS

What is the SNAP schedule for 2022 for each state?

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, better known as SNAP, was given a boost last year as millions of families across the United States saw an increase in their  benefits.

There is no nationwide schedule for the sending of SNAP benefits but it is easy to find out when they will be arriving in your bank account.

Full details

Democrats mull paring down Child Tax Credit expansion to make it permanent

Senator Joe Manchin is the linchpin to passing the Build Back Better Act through an evenly divided Senate. One of the sticking points for the senator has been the enhanced Child Tax Cut extension. He wants it removed or funded for the full 10 years that the reconciliation budget bill would allow.

The Wall Street Journal reports that in order to get Manchin onboard Democrats are mulling paring down the amount of the credit and lowering the income threshold to receive the full credit. But they also want to make the changes permanent, which will be costly making it difficult to meet another requisite of the senator, keeping the price tag of Build Back Better under $1.8 trillion.

Rep. Jayapal criticizes Child Tax Credit inaction

Progressive in Congress warned last year that splitting President Biden's legislative proposals into two separate bills meant risking some of the more ambitious elements of his agenda, and they were proved right when the Senate failed to approve the Build Back Better bill last month. The package included a one-year extension for the expanded Child Tax Credit, but without the additional funding the support ended with the December payment. Progressive lawmaker Rep. Pramila Jayapal has criticized the "failure to deliver" the extension. 

Worried about Social Security fraud?

As we approach tax season 2022 many people will be searching for their Social Security Number to complete their tax returns, but what should you do if you suspect that someone has been using it fraudulently. Social Security fraud can be a major problem so make sure you report any suspicious activity to the correct authorities. 

US NEWS

Social Security 2022: Am I eligible for the $1657 cost of Living Boost?

Every year the Social Security Administration announces a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA), which is designed to increase Social Security payments to reflect the rate of inflation. given the precarious economic situation that the US finds itself in and the soaring inflation rates, the SSA has confirmed a massive 5.9% increase this year, but who will benefit from the boost?

Read more

CORONAVIRUS STIMULUS CHECK

Will Social Security beneficiaries get a fourth stimulus check?

In December Congress failed to find a compromise on President Biden's Build Back Better bill and a raft of programmes were put on hold. Included in that was a proposed extension to the Child Tax Credit and expansion for Medicare. The package could have helped those dealing with the wave of Omicron cases currently sweeping the United States, but in its absence there are renewed calls for lawmakers to provide additional financial support for elderly Americans. 

Read more

Good morning!

Hello and welcome to the AS USA dedicated fourth stimulus check live feed, bringing you all the latest on hopes of another round of direct payments and other financial news. President Biden's Build Back Better bill may have failed to garner sufficient support in the Senate last month but there is still an appetite in Congress to see an extension for the Child Tax Credit in the near future. 

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