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Personal finance | News summary for 16 March

An electrical contractor repairs a sign with gasoline fuel prices above six and seven dollars a gallon at the Shell gas station.

US personal finance, benefits and money news: live upates


- Sen. Schumer hits back at inflation-riding businesses

- Americans to lose covid treatment without Congress funding

- Raise taxes on working people and end social security: GOP reported plan

- Slump in auto sales expected as inflation hits

- Study disproves Manchin claim about Child Tax Credit

- Federal Reserve set to raise interest rates this week to tame inflation.

- Tax season 2022: most Americans have until 18 April to file their return.

Useful information

- How long does it take for taxes to be processed?

- Medicare:a brief history

- Does Social Security have a healthy future?


How is the price of gas, oil and electricity set in the United States? What factors are involved?

The modern world runs on energy either to produce electricity or to power motor vehicles. Many factors go into how the price is set for what we have to pay at the pump or on our electricity bill.

Although there is a push to find more sustainable ways to move our cars and power all the things we depend on in our daily lives, fossil fuels still play an outsized role. The price of the raw material, whether crude oil or natural gas, influences how much you pay down the line as a consumer.

Full details

Americans to lose covid treatment without Congress funding

The US government will run out of supplies of covid-19 treatments known as monoclonal antibodies as soon as late May and will have to scale back plans to get more unless Congress provides more funding, the White House said on Tuesday. Raising the alarm about depleted funding for the US pandemic response, the White House said the government also would not have enough money to provide additional covid-19 booster shots or variant-specific vaccines without a new injection of cash.

The White House has requested $22.5 billion in immediate emergency funding to fight the pandemic, but, after objections from Republicans and Democrats, the money was removed from the latest government funding bill passed by lawmakers last week.

'We need this money now,' a senior administration official told reporters on a conference call on Tuesday. 'Time is not on our side.'

The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the government had planned to put in an order on 25 March for what would likely have been hundreds of thousands of doses of monoclonal treatments. That order would have to be scaled back or scrapped without new funds, the official said.

'We'll likely run out of these treatments for our most vulnerable ... Americans by the end of the year if not sooner,' the official said. 'Without additional funding soon, thousands of patients could lose access to treatments and these companies will have little incentive to continue investing in the development and manufacturing of these treatments.'


$350 monthly payment: what has Utah Senator Mitt Romney said about the possible payment?

The expanded Child Tax Credit has not been sent out since the middle of December 2021. There is no movement from the Democrat wing of Congress on which parts of Biden's Build Back Better plan are negotiable. However, Republicans could end up doing the job for the Democrats by proposing an alternative that is likely to garner support from both sides of the aisle.

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WATCH: Schumer attacks corporations over inflation

The veteran senator took a swipe at businesses that he feels are taking consumers for a ride with inflation. Companies are continuing to increase prices despite record revenue during the pandemic.


How much has gasoline increased and how long will it continue to rise?

The average price of gasoline stabilised over the weekend, dipping slightly below the mark of $4.33 per gallon which broke the United States’ record on Friday.

The brief respite after days of soaring prices for gasoline will have brought some comfort for consumers but the fact remains that the fuel costs have increased drastically over the past 12 months.

Read more

Governors discuss plans to alleviate fuel prices

No one’s naive about the moment we’re living in, with high gas prices and the geopolitical uncertainty fuelling them. I’ll be submitting a proposal to put money back in the pockets of Californians to address rising gas prices.

Gavin Newsom, California Governor

We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to advance substantial tax relief for our families, small businesses, and retirees. People across the country are being squeezed by surging inflation on everything from gas to groceries — Marylanders, especially our retirees, deserve and need this relief.

Larry Hogan, Maryland Governor

Gas tax could be suspended as price rockets

Governors and state legislators are putting plans into motion to help Americans who are under massive pressure with the price of fuel. The war in Ukraine, as well as already existing inflationary pressures, has sent the price of fuel to record highs.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom used his State of the State address to pledge what would eventually be billions of dollars in relief for those paying at the pump. Florida and Maryland, to mention a few, are other states initiating plans to help.

"Bringing back the enhanced CTC would reduce child poverty"

"Reestablishing last year's now-expired enhanced child tax credit (CTC) — including paying the credit as a monthly benefit and providing the full benefit to low-income families — could provide significant assistance to families struggling to make ends meet," writes Elaine Maag, a senior fellow at the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center in Washington, in an opinion piece for CNN Business.


Costco rate hike: what are the reasons and how much could it go up?

Costco hasn’t raised the price of membership fees since 2017 but in a recent call with investors the company’s CFO Richard Galanti said “at some point it will happen.” The timing of the increase tracks with the company’s history of bumping up membership fees roughly every five years since 2000.

If history is anything to go by the price hikes in both 2011 and 2017 were $5 for the Gold Star membership fee and $10 for Executive membership fees. Exactly when the Costco shoppers will see the increase wasn’t disclose, “stay tuned," Galanti said.

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Key groups that benefit from Child Tax Credit may miss out

The enhanced Child Tax Credit for the 2021 fiscal year depended on families having filed a tax return in 2019 or 2020 in order to be automatically enrolled in the advance payments which parents could opt out of. For those who normally aren't required to file a tax the IRS set up an online portal enabling parents to sign-up.

However, many still fell through the cracks and even those who received the first half of the credit may miss out on the remainder. The only way to get whatever portion of you qualify for requires filing a 2021 tax return. 

High number of job openings little changed in January

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics released data are from the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey on Monday. The number of job openings remained above 11 million in January with the largest drop seen in accommodation and food services reducing by 288,000. 

The number of people quitting their job came down by 151,000 for a total of 4.3 million switching jobs or leaving the workforce.


Child Tax Credit: How do I claim the remaining payment and how do I know if I have received it?

The American Rescue Plan provided support to millions of households across the US last year and some will continue to see program's benefits after submitting their tax return this spring.

The trillion dollar spending package made significant changes to the amount and disbursement of the child tax credit which helped to cut child poverty rates by forty percent in just six months. The value of the credit increased to $3,600 for children under six and $3,000 for children between six and seventeen. The reformed credit was also made full-refundable and the IRS received a mandate to distribute half the value from July to December 2021.

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Average US tax refund higher in 2022

The IRS has now processed over 53 million 2021 tax returns as of 4 March, an 8.3 percent improvement over last year. Nearly 38 million of those resulted in a refund with the tax agency sending out a total of $129.2 billion to taxpayers. 

This time last year the average refund was $2,990 according to IRS data compared to $3,401 this year, an increase of $411.

Grubhub boosts drivers pay to help with sky-high gas prices

Gas prices have gone through the roof up over the past 12 months with the national average now at $4.32 per gallon. To help drivers see ing their wages eaten into by the high gas prices, Grubhub says it will increase what it pays drivers per mile starting 9 March.

There aren't specifics on how much the boost to per-mile pay will be but it will take into account regional cost increases in the price of gas.

Finance and money blog USA: welcome

Hello and welcome to our daily live blog on finance news, with a particular focus on the US, for Tuesday 15 March.

We'll be bringing you the latest on how the Russian invasion of Ukraine is affecting global markets. We'll also keep you up to date on tax season 2022 in the US, and domestic financial aid schemes such as Social Security benefits.


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