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Personal finance news summary | 9 March 2022

The latest news an information on the rising costs of gasoline, with updates on Social Security payments and information on tax season 2022.

Latest Financial News Headlines

- President Biden announces ban on imports of all Russian oil, gas and energy

- Crude oil prices drop over 17% after OPEC member UAE says it favors increasing output.

US average gasoline price hits a new record at $4.25 a gallon according to AAA - Why is it so high?

- ICE Benchmark Administration (IBA) shows expected inflation rate over the next year has risen from 3.5%  to 5.24%

- White House report finds lack of competition in job market is has reduced workers' salary by around 20%

- Unemployment rate dropped to 3.8% in February as the economy added 678,000 new jobs

- Inflation remains at 7.5% after experiencing the highest increase in nearly 17 years last week

- Looking to apply for financial aid? Remember to check the deadline for submitting the FAFSA

- Social Security Administration will reopen 1,200 local offices which had been closed due to the pandemic. What to do in the meantime

- Dow Jones Industrial Average falls by 3 percent, but defense and weapons manufacturers Haliburton (+5.0 %) and Lockheed Martin (+15.0%) enjoy a boost

Helpful links and Information

- Do SNAP benefits expire?

- How long should you expect to wait for your tax refund?

- Could gas prices increase more after Russian invasion?

Related news articles:

Unemployment rate double for those with higher education

The unemployment rate in the US continued its downward trend in February after spiking at the beginning of the pandemic-induced economic crisis. Those without a college degree were hit the hardest by mass layoffs as businesses were forced to shutter due to covid-19 resitrictions.

Employment for Americans in all groups of academic acheivement have made dramatic strides as the economy recovers. But unemployment among those who haven't received any higher education are double that of those who have a bachelor degree or higher.

Cooler heads prevail on Wall Street pushing markets up

An announcement by the United Arab Emirates ambassador to the United States that the Gulf nation and member of OPEC would be in favor of increasing oil production resulted in the price of crude plunging on Wednesday finishing the day below $110 per barrel.

That in turn, along with a potential resolution in the Russia-Ukraine conflict, helped Wall Street rebound after a punishing start to the week.

Eligible parents can claim enhanced tax credits for 2021 newborns

The American Rescue Plan enacted last year beefed up several tax credits that parents with eligible children can claim. Those who had a newborn or adopted a child in 2021 may be eligible to claim the $1,400 from the third stimulus check through the Recovery Rebate this year. 

Additionally, they could be entitled to claim the 2021 Child Tax Credit worth up to $3,600 for children under six, and $3,000 for school age children. Taxpayers have until 18 April to file their 2021 tax return.


How can I make an appointment at the Social Security office?

The Social Security Administration has been in negotiations with the three unions that represent staff on how to safely reopen the more than 1,200 field offices around the country which have been closed since March 2020. 

A decision on when the offices would reopen was expected by the first of March but there still isn't word from the SSA. Tentatively, the target was set to have offices open by April for face-to-face service for all beneficiaries.

Until offices reopen, except in “limited, critical situations” with an appointment, beneficiaries can conduct business with the agency online, via fax or by phone including critical services.

Full details

Crude oil prices plunge as UAE favors ramping up production

The upward trend of crude oil prices spiked frist after Russian invaded Ukraine and then again on news the US would ban oil imports from Russia briefly reaching $139 a barrel, a 13-year high.

Officials from the US have been in discussions with oil producing nations to ramp up production to fill any gap in global supplies caused by cutting off Russia from world markets.

On Wednesday, the United Arab Emirates, a member of OPEC, said it supported increasing production sending the price markedly down by over 17 percent.

We don't believe we have a budget crisis in the Minneapolis public schools. We beleive we have a values and priorities crisis.

Shaun Laden, President of Educational Support Professionals chapter of the Minneapolis Federation of Teachers

Mpls teacher strike enters Day 2

Teachers in the Minneapolis School District entered Day 2 of their strike Wednesday. Teachers and support staff took to the streets in the freezing weather on Tuesday when Union members could not reach an agreement with the school district. 

District and union negotiators are set to meet Wednesday for a bargaining session. They are calling for higher wages, smaller class sizes and more mental health support for students coping with two years of the coronavirus pandemic.

The St Paul School District averted a twin strike on Tuesday when the district and union reached a tentative deal on similar demands.


How long does it take for taxes to process?

It's tax filing season and you have until April to submit your return. AS USA's Calum Roche and Maite Knorr-Evans take a look at how long you can expect to wait for your tax rebate.


How can I apply for Supplemental Security Income?

SSI is designed to provide vital financial support for elderly, blind or disabled Americans with insufficient income.

AS USA's Will Gittins has the lowdown on how to apply

How to get a tax refund quickly

The IRS has a thankless task this tax season, attempting to work through a massive backlog of filings from previous years while also overseeing the busy 2022 tax season. This is expected to mean delays for many people who are awaiting tax refunds from the agency. 

To avoid any unneccessary delays and to ensure that your refund arrives as quickly as possible, make sure to utilise e-filing from the IRS. Avoiding paper filing make it easier for the tax agency to process your returns and should get the refund sent out more promptly. 

How to get help with your Social Security claim

This year around 70 million Americans are expected to receive a payment from the Social Security Administration from one of the various financial support programmes offered. If you're in the middle of submitting your application for the support or want some help with an existing claim, you can contact the SSA for more information here...


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

The Internal Revenue Service has published its annual report highlighting the efforts of its employees in 2021. One of the accomplishments touted by the agency has been successfully delivering “more than $1.5 trillion to people across the nation through Economic Impact Payments, tax refunds and advance Child Tax Credit payments.” Here's a look at the three Economic Impact Payments, better known as stimulus checks.

Read more

Dem. lawmaker calls for Child Tax Credit payments to be reinstated

On the one year anniversayr of the passage of President Biden's American Rescue Plan, Rep. Ritchie Torres has called on Congress to reinstate one of the most ambitious and influential elements of the package; the Child Tax Credit expansion. Numerous studies have shows than the bosoted programme, which ran for just six months in 2021, was responsible for a significant drop in the number of children living in poverty in the United States. 

Congress failed to agree to an extension to the monthly payments before Christmas, but there are continued calls for it to be included in upcoming legislation. 

How is the US labor market?


The US Treasury Department released its report “The State of Labor Market Competition in the U.S. Economy,” on Monday. President Biden had ordered his administration last summer to look into and find ways to address excessive concentration in the market for work.

The report found that "the American labor market falls far from the perfect competition that economists had long assumed." This is a result of employer concentration and anti-competitive labor practices. It's estimated that lack of competition in the job market costs workers roughly 20 percent of what they might otherwise make.

White House outlines energy price situation

U.S. oil and gas production is approaching record highs, while thousands of drilling permits on federal lands go unused. Federal policies are not limiting the production of oil and gas.  To the contrary, the Biden Administration has been clear that in the short-term, supply must keep up with demand, at home and around the world while we make the shift to a secure clean energy future.  

We are one of the world’s largest producers with a strong domestic oil and gas industry. Natural gas production has never been higher, and crude oil production is expected to hit a new high next year.

Oil and gas companies, and the finance firms that back them, should not use Putin’s war as an excuse for excess price increases or padding profits, and, as major energy company leaders have themselves said, they have the resources and incentives they need to further increase production in the United States.

White House fact sheet, Remarks on the Russian energy ban

Lawmaker calls for a return to Child Tax Credit payments


When was the last time the Russian economy crashed and what were the consequences?

Russia is facing near unprecedented levels of economic isolation after President Vladimir Putin ordered the invasion of Ukraine in February. Led by the US, many companies such as Paypal, Shell, and McDonald's, have ceased operating in Russia, making it difficult for ordinary people to purchase things and driving the price of the Russian currency, the Rouble, to record lows. Coupled with economic sanctions, the economy is in real trouble.

Read more

Families struggle without Child Tax Credit payments

From July 2021 the IRS began sending eligible American households monthly installments of the Child Tax Credit, and the advance payments ran from July until December. Over that time 30 percent of households with children reported diffculty meeting expenses but the programme expired at the end of 2021. In late January and early February 2022 the rate reporting diffculty rose to 35 percent in the abscence of the payments according to the Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey.

Welcome to our dedicated financial news live feed

We'll be bringing you all the latest financial news from the United States, with updates on the rising gasoline prices, Social Security payments and information for tax season 2022. 


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