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Inflation Relief Checks: summary news 11 December

Financial news: Latest updates

Financial news: Latest updates

Headlines: Sunday, 11 December 2022

- Higher than expected wholsale prices sent stock markets lower at close of week

- Fed Chair suggested that elevated interest rates will remain, policymakers to meet this week

- Biden administration has canceled $24 billion in student loan debt

- Price of gasoline drops below last year's level now averaging just under $3.28 nationally

​​​​​​​- California could become the first state to enact a windfall profits taxon gas companies 

Supplemental Security Income recipients will be thefirst to see the COLA applied to their checks 

​​​​​​​- California continues distributing Middle-Class Tax Refund, with payments already benefiting 19 million residents 

- Experts predicting a significant market adjustment in house prices​​​​​​​

- Some groups will receive two Social Security checks this month

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What is the Medicare Part B premium for 2022 and how much will it be in 2023?

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What is the Medicare Part B premium for 2022 and how much will it be in 2023?

Unlike 2022, the Medicare Part B premium will decrease in 2023, a major relief for seniors though the enrollment period has just ended.

AS USA's Maite Knorr-Evans has the lowdown.

IRS will send more money in refunds to these people: Who qualifies


IRS will send more money in refunds to these people: Who qualifies

Starting in 2023, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) will send more money in refunds to certain taxpayers. 

Who will they be? AS' Daniela Barrera has the details.

Will my credit score go up if my student loans are forgiven?


Will my credit score go up if my student loans are forgiven?

The long-awaited student loan debit relief plan was announced in early September, but what impact will it have on your ability to borrow in the future?

AS USA's Will Gittins takes a look.

Inflation makes Americans reconsider making meals at home for eating out

During the pandemic Americans began preparing more meals at home which was a boon for grocery stores. However, inflation across the board have pushed up prices faster at the supermarket checkout than at the restaurant register. This has Americans reconsidering whether to fix meals at home or eat out.

Both restaurants and grocery stores are competing to get your dollars with the former offering discounts while the latter is stocking more low cost staples and pre-prepared meals. According to the Wall Street Journal a meal out costs around 3.4 times as much as one made at home.

What’s the COLA for 2023 for Social Security?


What’s the COLA for 2023 for Social Security?

The Social Security Administration (SSA) announced an 8.7 percent cost-of-living adjustment increase for 2023 in October. The boost to Social Security benefits is the largest since 1981 and the fourth biggest in the history of COLA increases.

The increase will affect payments for old-age, survivor and disability benefits as well as Supplement Security Income, which will be the first payments to reflect the augmented amount hitting bank accounts 30 December 2022. The 2023 COLA increase will also be applied to government and military pensions along with VA benefits.

Experts warn that Bitcoin could plunge to $5,000 in 2023


Experts warn that Bitcoin could plunge to $5,000 in 2023

This price of Bitcoin soared during the pandemic, hitting an all-time high of $69,044.77 on 10 November 2021. Since that point the cryptocurrency’s price has been on a steady decline, falling to just over $17,000 on Monday.

However financial experts at Standard Chartered Bank has claimed that the price could fall even further.We take a look at their bleak prediction for crypto in 2023...

According to Zillow, what will be cheaper in 2023, renting a house or buying it?


According to Zillow, what will be cheaper in 2023, renting a house or buying it?

Renting or buying a house? Which will be cheaper next year? Here are the predictions for 2023, based on a forecast by real estate market company Zillow.

Watch out for scams related to student loan debt forgiveness

US phone companies have been blocked from accepting calls from a small communications company accused of sending robocalls offering fraudlent aid for student loan debt relief. The Federal Communications Commission imposed the ban after investigating tens of millions of calls that have gone out in recent months claiming to be from student loan centers. 

Most of the calls referenced President Biden's student loan debt forgiveness program, which is currently held up by lawsuits. The caller would demand either personal information or a fee in order to receive up to $10,000 in debt cancelation.

None of the student loan debt cancelation, forgiveness or discharge programs require a fee to process and are done through Federal Student Aid.

Will 2023 be a good time to buy a house according to the experts?


Will 2023 be a good time to buy a house according to the experts?

Two main factors have put the brakes on the US housing market over the past few months. The Federal Reserve’s aggressive rate hikes to fight inflation have helped to drive up mortgage interest rates on top of home prices increasing at a breakneck speed over the previous two years.

This could create a situation in 2023 where homebuyers will be better positioned when negotiating the purchase price when hunting for a home. Here’s a look at what the experts are saying to expect in the coming year.

Mortgage rates see largest drop since 2008

Mortgage rates have decreased for four straight weeks dropping three quarters of a point from their recent peak. The trend has been driven by worries that the US economy will enter a period of lackluster growth. 

According to Freddie Mac the current rate US weekly average as of 8 December is 6.33% for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage. Despite the largest decrease since 2008 there hasn't been a major rise in demand among homebuyers.

Initial unemployment claims inch up

230,000 Americans filed for unemployment benefits the week ending 3 December. That was a jump of 4,000 from the week before. The 4-week moving average was also 230,000 initial UI claims, an increase of 1,000.

Your Rich BFF has advice to help your salary keep pace with inflation

Wages have been rising but unfortunately so too has inflation which has actually been shrinking most Americans’ take-home pay.

Vivian Tu, aka “Your Rich BFF” has some advice for getting an idea of what you should be asking your boss or perspective employer when negotiating your salary.

Twitter Blue relaunching Monday at higher price for Apple users

Twitter is finally relaunching its Twitter Blue subscription service after a botched rollout in November that saw fake accounts explode. On Monday subscribers will have access to special features and a blue checkmark only available to those who fork over a monthly fee.

The catch, people that use iOS will have to cough up $3 more than other users. Twitter hasn't explained why subscribers with Apple products have to pay more, but there have been reports that Twitter was looking for ways to offset the 30% fee the iPhone maker charges through its App Store.

Gas prices continue to drop across the US down over 50 cents in past month

The price of gasoline has come down considerably from its peak at over $5 per gallon on average nationally this summer. Just in the past month the US average price per gallon has decreased more than 50 cents and is now just under $3.28 per gallon on average.

This has brought much needed relief to American household finances and helped slow the pace of inflation. Increased domestic production has offset supply reductions from OPEC and sanctioned Russian oil exports.

All eyes will be on the Keystone Pipeline reopening after it was shut due to a leak. The 14,000 barrel spill was the largest in the line's history.

Consumer sentiment rises, Wall Street frets about higher-than-expected wholesale prices

Wall Street broke a five day losing streak on Thursday. But a report the following day showing a higher-than-expected wholesale price increase dampened the mood sending stocks lower to finish the week in red. Markets will be watching what the consumer price inflation reading is on Tuesday next week to get a feel for how the Federal Reserve will act to control inflation. Policymakers will meet for two days next week to determine the next rate hike, expected to be 0.5%. 

Despite much talk of doom and gloom about a potential impending recession, consumer confidence increased in December according to a University of Michigan survey. The improvement is believed to be the result of falling prices, especially gas which is now below where it was a year ago.

How can I get my student loan completely forgiven?


How can I get my student loan completely forgiven?

The White House announced a plan to wipe out up to $20,000 in student debt in August. However, that program has been put on ice after being challenged in the courts and it could be months until there is a definitive decision on the matter.

In the meantime, President Biden has extended the moratorium on repaying student loans until the end of August or the lawsuits are settled, whichever comes first. But even if White House lawyers should fail to convince the Supreme Court of the legality of Biden’s debt forgiveness, there exist other legitimate federal programs that can erase all of a borrower’s student loan debt. Here’s a look…

The upside to inflation it's "great for real estate assets"

While many American household finances have been hurting due to rising prices it has been a boon for some assets. Related Company CEO Jeff Blau explains that inflation has made it "a great time" for those with real estate and fund assets.

House prices were up around 45% at their peak in June from before the pandemic. Those that rent out properties and have fixed-rate long-term debt are able see cash flow increase from higher rents. Meanwhile, as banks stop lending those with fund assets can offer bank-like loans but at higher rates.

Will I be eligible for unemployment benefits if I just quit my job?


Will I be eligible for unemployment benefits if I just quit my job?

The US job market has been running hot over the past couple years with the total number of nonfarm jobs finally surpassing where the US was before the pandemic. There are more jobs available than there are people that are unemployed making it a great opportunity for workers to try to find a better job.

Many workers have already done this during what has been called the ‘Great Resignation’. But leaving your job in search of greener pastures voluntarily can come with risks. For one you may not be able to claim any unemployment benefits.​​​​​​​

Hello, and welcome to AS USA

Hello, and welcome to AS USA's blog on inflation relief and financial news. We’ll keep you up to date on measures that have been approved in states around the US to help residents cope with the high prices.

We'll also track what the government is doing to bring inflation to heel and how markets are reacting.


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