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Fourth stimulus check | News summary for 23 January

Update:
Fourth stimulus check live updates: tax return, Child Tax Credit, unemployment benefits...

Stimulus checks and US benefits: latest news

2022 Tax Season

Fourth stimulus check: how can IRS letter 6475 help you in the 2022 tax return?

Letter 6475, is crucial if you received 'Your Third Economic Impact Payment', better known as a stimulus check, in 2021. This letter will tell individuals if they are eligible to claim the Recovery Rebate Credit, which is available if they missed the check the first time around, or if they received less than the correct amount. If so, they must file a 2021 tax return to claim their remaining stimulus amount.

Read more.

Sanders wants votes on Senate floor

The Vermont senator says he wants votes on the Senate floor regardless if they will pass, in an attempt to force politicians to explain their voting actions.

US NEWS

How much is a monthly welfare check?

When individuals fall on hard times, there exist programs to help people to cope with financial stress and ensure that basic needs such as food, housing and health are met. The amount that recipients get and the requirements to qualify for the various programs available are not uniform across the United States.

Medicare, Social Security, unemployment insurance, and worker’s compensation are part of the welfare state but are “entitlements” that workers and their employers contribute toward through payroll taxes. Here’s a look at programs that are financed through the government coffers.

Read more.

Progressive Caucus chief on student debt: "I think we will get something done."

Rep. Pramila Jayapal, the head of the Democrat Progressive wing, has been a big advocate for cancelling student debt.

Currently, the US has more than $1.5 trillion in money owed to itself through its students.

CORONAVIRUS STIMULUS CHECKS

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

During 2021 the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) sent out “more than $1.5 trillion to people across the nation through Economic Impact Payments, tax refunds and advance Child Tax Credit payments.” Throughout the pandemic the federal government has introduced various forms of financial relief to help struggling Americans, and the three rounds of stimulus checks agreed so far have been perhaps the most popular.

Here's a look at the three Economic Impact Payments...

Read more

Child Tax Credit expansion actually boosted parents in the workplace

Advocacy group Humanity Forward have been vocal supporters of the advanced Child Tax Credit (CTC) since the boosted programme first went live in July. But, after failing to secure an extension last month, Congress have let the monthly payments elsapse after December's round of support, which threatens to undo the good work down in the previous six months. 

In this article, Humanity Forward Advisory Board member Ja'Ron Smith points out that "nearly 30 percent of parents spend some of their monthly checks on child care. The coverage for this expense is likely why one in four parents is actually working more hours thanks to the CTC."

US NEWS

Are stimulus checks causing inflation in the United States?

The US Congress has approved almost $6 trillion to help the US economy and American households get through the pandemic, of which around $900 billion went out in the form of three stimulus checks. This massive cash injection was unlike anything offered by the federal government in the past but it may have had some unintended consequences for the US economy. 

Read more

File online to reduce tax refund delays

Tax season 2022 begins tomorrow when the IRS will officially start processing tax returns filed for 2021. However the IRS already has a huge backlog of tax returns from previous years and there is concern that the various support programmes like the Child Tax Credit and the third round of stimulus checks could complicate matters. 

Here's how to get your tax return submitted as promptly as possible...

Delays expected for tax season 2022

There is renewed concern that the IRS may be unable to deal with a surge in workload this tax filing season and it has emerged that the agency still has a huge backlog of old, unprocessed tax returns. With the likes of the expanded Child Tax Credit also to be included in people's filing this year the White House wants the IRS to receive greater support at this busy time. 

“The IRS right now has unacceptable backlogs and the customer service that people are receiving is not what the American public deserves,” press secretary Jen Psaki admitted on Friday. “The agency has not been equipped with the resources to adequately serve taxpayers in normal times, let alone during a pandemic.”

CORONAVIRUS STIMULUS CHECKS

What to do if you don't receive the final round of the California stimulus check

Last year California Gov. Gavin Newsom approved another round of Golden State stimulus checks, which provided a one-off payment worth up to $1,100 for eligible residents. The state-wide distribution process has now come to an end and the vast majority of Californians have now received their full stimulus check entitlement.

However for one group it is not too late to claim your payment.

Read more

White House offers tax filing assurances

White House press secretary Jen Psaki hit back on an assertion that the IRS may be unable to deal with the huge workload this tax season. The IRS will begin processing tax returns for 2021 from Monday, 24 January but is already working through a huge backlog from previous years. It is thought that the IRS already has close to six million unprocessed tax returns to work through. 

US NEWS

When will SSI checks be deposited for January?

Last month 5.3 million people in the United States received Supplemental Security Income (SSI), a programme designed to provide a basic income for seniors and people with disabilities. The payment process is overseen by the Social Security Administration (SSA), but when can recipients expect to receive their Janaury SSI payment?

Read more

Sen. Warnock will continue to support Child Tax Credit

Rev. Raphael Warnock's vistory in the Georgia Senate run-off race gave President Biden a narrow majority in the Senate, allowing him to pass the American Rescue Plan back in March. However with such a narrow margin in the Upper House Biden cannot afford a single desertion, given how unlikely it is that GOP members will support the more ambitious parts of Biden's agenda. Sen. Warnock remains committed to the cause, however, and will hope that a compromise can be made within the party. 

How to set up a mySocialSecurity account

The Social Security Administration (SSA) is in charge of overseeing the huge benefits system that serves close to 70 million Americans. The easiest way to view your payments, alter your address or check how much you are entitled to is by using the SSA's dedicated mySocialSecurity online portal...

End of Child Tax Credit hits American families hard

When President Biden entered the White House one year ago he did so with an ambitious legislative agenda and plans to reshape American society. Central to his efforts was the passage of the American Rescue Plan, which introduced a huge expansion to the Child Tax Credit, offering monthly direct payments for the first time. 

However that support for families came to an end last month after Congress was unable to extent the programme, and millions of household are in danger of slipping into poverty as a result. 

SOCIAL SECURITY

Social Security 2022: disability benefits pay chart and payment schedule

The Social Security Administration (SSA) provides various programmes designed to provide additional financial support for Americans with disabilities. Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) both play a vital role in the household finances for many individuals, but when can you expect to receive the payment?

If you haven't yet applied for the SSDI support you can do so online using the my Social Security portal. You will also be able to do so in-person when Social Security offices reopen nationally from 30 March.

Read more

Psaki calls on GOP to support Child Tax Credit extension

Last month saw the final round of direct payments from the Child Tax Credit sent out to eligible households, but after Congress failed to pass the Build Back Better bill before Christmas the programme expired. This was something of an embarrassment for President Biden but press secretary Jen Psaki has called on Republican members to offer their support for the proposals. 

IRS chief warns of potential tax refund delay

Chuck Rettig, the IRS Commissioner, has sent out this warning to those awaiting tax refunds.

"Planning for the nation's filing season process is a massive undertaking, and IRS teams have been working non-stop these past several months to prepare."

"The pandemic continues to create challenges, but the IRS reminds people there are important steps they can take to help ensure their tax return and refund don't face processing delays. Filing electronically with direct deposit and avoiding a paper tax return is more important than ever this year.

"And we urge extra attention to those who received an Economic Impact Payment or an advance Child Tax Credit last year. People should make sure they report the correct amount on their tax return to avoid delays."

Student debt questions have Biden deflecting

Biden was asked during his Wednesday press conference if he still plans to cancel $10,000 in student loans, one of his election pledges, but he didn’t respond.

Roughly 43 million Americans owe a collective amount of more than $1.7 trillion in student loans to the federal government.

UNEMPLOYMENT NEWS

Can I get an extension on my unemployment benefits?

The Department of Labor has reported that for the week ending on 15 January initial unemployment claims climbed by 55,000 to 280,000. This is not nearly as high as the numbers reached in the beginning of the pandemic, but is a significant increase compared to the low levels reached in late 2021.

Late last year, the rate of first time claims for these benefits hit a historic low. This did not mean however, that the labor market had absorbed all workers who had been laid off during the pandemic. 

Maite Knorr-Evans looks at the availability of pandemic related extensions for unemployment benefits.

Child Tax Credit expiration endangers millions

For the past six months the IRS has been sending out advanced Child Tax Credit payments to tens of millions of families. However that boosted support programme ended with December's round of payments after Congress was unable to agree to an extension.

Advocacy group Humanity Forward has broken down the potential cost of that failure and the impact that it could have on childhood poverty rates in the United States. 

US NEWS

How much is a monthly welfare check?

When individuals fall on hard times, there exist programs to help people to cope with financial stress and ensure that basic needs such as food, housing and health are met. The amount that recipients get and the requirements to qualify for the various programs available are not uniform across the United States which leads to confusion.

There is also confusion about what exactly is welfare. Medicare, Social Security, unemployment insurance, and worker’s compensation are part of the welfare state but are “entitlements” that workers and their employers contribute toward through payroll taxes.

Greg Heilman reports on the range of benefits available where you live.

US stimulus news: welcome

Good morning and welcome to AS USA's dedicated live feed for Sunday 23 January 2022, bringing you all the latest financial and tax season news.

Social Security recipients should start receiving the first of the year's COLA-boosted payments this month. But there has been no payment for Child Tax Credit recipients after the programme expired in December, when Congress was unable to pass the Build Back Better bill. 

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