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Relief checks news summary: 20 March 2023

The latest news and information today on the crisis in the banking sector, plus updates on US inflation relief measures and tax season 2023.

US finance news: live updates

Headlines: Monday, March 20, 2023

- UBS agrees to buy crisis-hit domestic rival Credit Suisse 

- Central banks announce "coordinated action to enhance provision of liquidity"

- Fed set to raise interest rates again this week, despite turmoil

- First Republic shares well down on Monday after ratings downgrade

- Wall Street warns of increased recession threat

- Social Security COLA may be much lower next year - why?

- Some US states sending $1,000 winter relief checks - find out more

Tax season 2023:

- What refundable and non-refundable tax credits are available to taxpayers?

- How you can claim up to $2,000 from the Mortgage Interest Tax Credit

Take a look at some of AS USA's related news articles:

What is the income limit to qualify for Medicaid in Texas?

Around five million Texans, or around eighteen percent of the state’s population, lack access to healthcare. Rates among children are also the highest in the US, with around one in ten children being uninsured. The lack of healthcare coverage, especially in the case of children, can lead to long-term health consequences that, in many cases, could have been avoided through routine medical checkups.

In 2010 the year the Affordable Care Act was passed, 23.3 percent of the state’s population —over one in five residents— was uninsured. Six years later, this number had dropped to 16.6 percent. In 2018, the ACA’s individual mandate, which allowed the federal government to penalize people insured people, was deemed unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. Without an enforceable mandate, the number of insured residents began to rise once again. By 2019, 18.4 percent of residents were uninsured, and since then, rates have fallen. Still, data from the Consumer Price Index for Dallas and Houston show that many in the state are paying more for medical services than ever before.

Read more on for more details on eligibility and the prospects of Texas expanding Medicaid. 


Inflation is trending down

While the rate at which prices are rising is falling, they are still on the rise. Last month the Consumer Price Index tracked a six percent increase in average prices since February 2021. 

Down from the highs this summer, it is no longer goods creating inflationary pressure. In February, the CPI rose by 0.4 percent, but around seventy percent of the increase was driven by housing costs. As energy prices have fallen, many other prices have followed, showing that inflation may not have such power over such a wide number of commodities. Last month also saw real wages for workers decrease. 

When should I change my tax filing status after divorce?

Going through a divorce can pose many financial challenges. When it comes to filing taxes, couples that have filed jointly will need to separate their finances and report individually to the IRS. However, the year a couple divorces has implications for how they should file their tax return(s).


Biden vetos bill that would ban ESG investing by pension fund managers

President Joe Biden used his first veto to block a republican-led bill out of Congress that would prevent pension fund managers from basing investment decisions on factors like climate change. The legislation passed Congress 1 March with a 50-46 vote in the Senate. The measure would have overturned a Labor Department rule that makes it easier for pension fund managers to consider environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) issues for investments and shareholder rights decisions.

What is the federal tax deadline for 2023?

The IRS is accepting 2022 tax returns and recommends getting yours in early to expedite your refund. When do taxpayers have until to submit their tax declarations this year?


The economic downside to EVs after a minor accident

While new electric vehicles so far are having fewer accidents than their fossil fuel peers due to being loaded with all the latest safety features, an accident could come at a much higher cost. That’s because if there are any worries that the EV battery has been damaged, insurers scrap the whole car, no matter the mileage.

This makes for two costly problems. One, an EV needs to be driven for thousands of miles before the carbon footprint of the battery can be offset. Two, those batteries make up around 50% of the cost of the car which translates into higher premiums if lots of them are getting junked with just a few miles on them.

While some EV manufacturers say they are trying to make the batteries easier to repair like Ford and GM, Tesla has taken the opposite approach. The battery in the Texas-built Model Y has been described by experts as having "zero repairability" and is glued into the structure of the car.

Another problem it that although most carmakers say their battery packs are repairable they aren’t forthcoming with access to data on their batteries that would allow insurers to determine if a scratched battery is undamaged. Thus, the insurers must write off a car even if there is only limited damage.

What is the average Social Security check at age 66?

Retiring at 66 is the full retirement age for some Americans but for others they will need to wait longer to access their benefits without being penalized.

The retirement age when Americans can claim their full benefits has been steadily increasing. Currently, those who were born in 1960 and after will need to wait until they are 67 years old, and one month, to reach the full retirement age.

AS USA's Oliver Povey tells us more about what could happen to your benefits if you retire early


New plan developing to stabilized embattled First Republic Bank led by JPMorgan Chase CEO

Several big US banks deposited $30 billion into First Republic Bank on Thursday to prop up the struggling financial institution. However, investors worry that that will not be enough and sent the bank’s share value plummeting on Monday.

In a fresh effort to stabilize the embattled bank, JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon is leading talks with the chiefs of other big banks according to the Wall Street Journal. The plan could involve converting some or all of the $30 billion of deposits into a capital infusion.

Tax Season 2023: Do senior citizens on Social Security have to file taxes?

With tax season well underway many are asking whether seniors who receive Social Security payments need to file a tax return.

In short, senior citizens are largely subject to the same tax requirements as other adults. There is no age at which you no longer have to submit a tax return and most senior citizens do need to file taxes every year.


Can I claim green energy tax credits?

The tax-filing deadline is fast approaching and there's now less than a month to get your tax return in to the IRS. If you have not yet done so, make sure to consider any energy-related tax credits that you could be entitled to. If, for example, you have recently purchased an electric vehicle you could receive a credit worth up to $7,500 when you file. 

What is the 10-year rule for student loan forgiveness?

Eligible borrowers can have their student debt forgiven after 10 years through the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program.

AS USA's Greg Heilman has the full lowdown on the scheme.


Why do central banks raise interest rates to curb inflation?

As we wait for the Federal Reserve's announcement this week on whether it will again be raising interest rates, some of you might be wondering why central banks take such a course of action when they want to stem inflation.

After you've watched this Economist video explainer, you'll have a clearer idea of why. Basically, it's all about reducing consumer demand...

Requirements to receive up to $2,000 for the Mortgage Interest Tax Credit (MCC)

First-time homebuyers may be eligible to receive financial assistance with their mortgage payments through the Mortgage Interest Tax Credit. The program is targeted at low- and moderate-income families to help them afford homeownership by offsetting a portion of the amount they owe in mortgage interest.

AS USA's Greg Heilman has all the details.


Dollar falls after UBS takeover of Credit Suisse

The dollar slid on Monday as investors reacted nervously to UBS’ cut-price takeover of its beleaguered rival Credit Suisse.    

UBS agreed to buy Credit Suisse on Sunday for 3 billion Swiss francs (around $3.25 billion) and assume up to $5.4 billion in losses, in a shotgun merger engineered by Swiss authorities.    

The US dollar index - which measures the currency against six major peers - was last down 0.472% at 103.300 the day after the merger was announced, following last week’s 0.73% fall. 

(Reuters; photo: REUTERS/Mohamed Azakir)

What foods have the highest price rises in United States in 2023?

Although inflation has fallen in the US, the prices of some groceries remain high.

AS USA's Corina González takes a look at the products that are particularly pricey right now.


First Republic stock price plunges

First Republic’s stocks fell by nearly 20% in value in pre-market trading on Monday, after rating agency Standard & Poor’s cut the bank’s credit rating from B+ to BB+ at the weekend.

This came despite a group of the US’ largest financial institutions - including JP Morgan Chase and Bank of America - joining forces last week to inject $30 billion of cash into the troubled bank.

Which states are sending winter relief checks up to $1,000 and who qualifies?

While inflation has fallen for several months, prices today remain, on average, six percent higher than those paid by consumers a year ago. To help residents keep up with inflation, three states are providing direct relief.

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

Will there be a recession in the US in 2024? This is what the experts predict

Some financial institutions believe the recent bank collapses indicate a higher risk of the US economy entering a recession. What are the experts saying?


Central banks get together to increase flow of US dollars

A group of central banks has announced a joint measure to boost the amount of US dollars in the global financial system, in an effort to help stem the crisis that has hit the banking sector in recent days.

“The Bank of Canada, the Bank of England, the Bank of Japan, the European Central Bank, the Federal Reserve, and the Swiss National Bank are today announcing a coordinated action to enhance the provision of liquidity via the standing U.S. dollar liquidity swap line arrangements,” the Federal Reserve said in a statement on Sunday.

According to the Fed, US dollar swap lines “are designed to improve liquidity conditions in dollar funding markets in the United States and abroad by providing foreign central banks with the capacity to deliver U.S. dollar funding to institutions in their jurisdictions during times of market stress.”

US dollars will be made available daily, rather than the usual frequency of every seven days, Sunday’s statement said.

Will the Federal Reserve raise rates again in March 2023?

The Federal Reserve is set to reveal on Wednesday whether it will again be raising interest rates, as part of the body's ongoing bid to curb inflation in the US.

Until the recent turmoil in the banking sector, it was taken as a given that the Fed would be announcing another hike - but now there is greater doubt over what Jerome Powell will announce.

AS USA's Maite Knorr-Evans looks at whether or not interest rates will go up again this week

Jerome Powell

Yellen, Powell welcome UBS-Credit Suisse deal

Following the announcement of UBS' takeover of Credit Suisse, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen have issued a joint statement welcoming the deal.

"We welcome the announcements by the Swiss authorities today to support financial stability," Powell and Yellen said. 

"The capital and liquidity positions of the U.S. banking system are strong, and the U.S. financial system is resilient. We have been in close contact with our international counterparts to support their implementation."

(Photo: REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque/File Photo)


UBS agrees to $3.25bn Credit Suisse takeover

UBS, Switzerland’s largest bank, agreed to buy Credit Suisse on Sunday, with Swiss authorities backing the deal in a bid to curb the banking crisis unleashed by the failure of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank in the US.

UBS will pay 3 billion Swiss francs ($3.25 billion) for its crisis-hit domestic rival.

“With the takeover of Credit Suisse by UBS, a solution has been found to secure financial stability and protect the Swiss economy in this exceptional situation,” the Swiss National Bank said in a statement.

The SNB added: “This takeover was made possible with the support of the Swiss federal government, the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority FINMA and the Swiss National Bank.”

(Photo: REUTERS/Denis Balibouse)


Daily finance news: welcome

Good morning! Welcome to our finance news live blog for Monday, March 20, 2023.

We’ll be providing you with updates on inflation relief measures in the US - and, after UBS agreed to buy its ailing rival Credit Suisse this weekend, we’ll also bring you the latest on the ongoing crisis in the banking sector.

With just under a month to go until the tax deadline in the States, we’ll also have the information you need on filing your return, and how you can take advantage of the tax credits on offer to US taxpayers.