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Relief checks 2023 news summary | 24 April 2023

States and communities are still sending stimulus money

Headlines: Monday 24 April, 2023

- Fed looks set to implement one more rate hike at next meeting in May

- Mortgage rates tick up. 30-yr fixed-rate average at 6.39%

- The rate of families with an unemployed member fell three percent from 2021 to 2022 to 4.7 percent 

- Workers in Alaska, New Jersey, and Wyominghave been hit hardest by layoffs this year

- Federal Tax Day has passed for most, but counties in eight states got a extension

- Housing prices continue to fall, is it a good time to buy?

- Social Security and Medicare Trustees warn of respective funds depleted by 2031 and 2033 

- Various states will continue to issue inflation relief checks and generous tax refunds in April 

- Social Security April payment schedulewhen can you expect your payment?

Related stories:

USB's first quarter earnings drop by half

USB, the bank which rescued failing Credit Suisse, reported a 52% slide in quarterly profit, having set aside a further $665 million to cover the costs of the US residential mortgage-backed securities that played a central role in the global financial crisis.

Switzerland's biggest bank set aside more money to draw a line under its involvement in toxic mortgages, dealing a heavy blow to first-quarter profit as it prepares to integrate its fallen rival.

"We are in advanced discussions with the US Department of Justice, and I am pleased that we are making progress toward resolving the legacy matter which dates back 15 years," said Chief Executive Sergio Ermotti.

Net profit attributable to shareholders came in at $1 billion, versus the $1.7 billion average of 15 analyst estimates in a UBS-conducted poll.

Half of US workers fear AI will hurt employment

As if workers didn't have enough on their minds already...

The integration of AI in the workplace is causing worry among workers, as companies begin to incorporate the technology into day-to-day operations.

According to a Pew Research survey, over 50% of those surveyed believe that artificial intelligence will hurt employment. The respondents are also wary of the new technology's integration across industries.
Social Security Calculator: How much money will I receive if I retire before age 62?

Every month, the Social Security Administration issues millions of payments to beneficiaries of their programs, many of whom are retired workers.

The exact amount of the check a retiree receives depends on a number of factors, including years worked and the recipient’s age at retirement. The longer you wait to retire, the bigger your monthly insurance check will be.

Daniela Barrera reports on what happens if you want to retire before the minimum age, and how much money you would receive.

Report: Federal government wastes hundreds of billions a year

The federal governments wastes hundreds of billions of dollars in taxpayers' money every year, according to the US Government Accountability Office.

According to the agency's report, the government made payment errors worth almost $250 billion dollars in the last fiscal year.

These mistakes include making overpayments and sending payments to people who had already passed away or were no longer qualified to receive help from government porgrams.
Relief checks for up to $400 in May 2023: Who qualifies?

Relief checks worth up to $400 will be released to eligible US residents in the middle of May. 

Some residents in Chelsea, Massachusetts will receive the check on May 15. It will be the third and final payment of a food and utility subsidy program which distributed the first two on March 15 and April 15.

The project, known as the Chelsea Eats program, is sending the checks ranging from $200 to $400 to 738 eligible households. The recipients have been receiving the subsidy through debit cards which were handed out in March.

First Republic Bank deposits plunge by more than $100 billion

First Republic Bank shares sank more than 20% after the lender said deposits plunged by more than $100 billion in the first quarter and that it was exploring options such as restructuring its balance sheet.

The deposit slump overshadowed profits that beat expectations for First Republic, which was shored up through an injection of deposits by larger banks last month after the collapse of two regional lenders.

The bank plans to slash expenses by cutting executive compensation, paring back office space, and laying off nearly 20% to 25% of employees in the second quarter.

The company also aims to increase its insured deposits and cut borrowings from the Federal Reserve Bank.
New extra SNAP benefits: who will receive it and what amounts

plemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which focuses on food assistance.

California residents have reported that their EBT cards have been loaded with additional funds.

For those who have seen an extra deposit in their accounts, this $20 bump in benefits is provided through the State of California’s Utility Assistance Grant. Note that the $20 deposit is an annual payment, meaning the extra money is only received once per certification period.

To receive the extra benefit of $20 per year, you must meet the following requirements.

Ending of pandemic food support a worry for poorer American families

During the covid-19 pandemic, the federal government approved an increase of $95 for SNAP recipients to better provide crisis relief. However, this increase ended on 1 March after almost three years. As inflation continues to drive up food prices, these dollars are sorely missed by many households enrolled in SNAP.
Housing market: Will home prices drop in 2023 in California?

The covid-19 pandemic was a great year for homeowners. Prices soared, encouraged by record-low interest rates. This was as true in California compared to any other state, despite having some of the highest average prices in the country even before 2020. According to Zillow, prices peaked at more than $771,000 in July of last year. Staggeringly for buyers, homes have increase by an average price of $210,000 since April 2018.

But a smidge of good news could be coming Californian home-buyers way. The average house price has dropped in the last year, falling 1.7% since April 2022 to stand at $728,134.

Read more

Federal minimum wage stuck in the mud

The federal minimum wage in the United States has not changed in more than 10 years. 14 years ago, it last increased, marking the longest period without an increase since base salary was created in 1938.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), 30 states in the US, as well as the District of Columbia, have adopted salaries above the federal base figure. On the other hand, five states do not have state minimum wage laws. These states are: Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Tennessee.
What is better, buying groceries every day, weekly or monthly?

Saving money while shopping is as important as ever with inflation remaining stubbornly high. Carefully managing the quality of product, cost, as well as preventing waste is crucial for everyone from university students to large families.

Having a big weekly shop is the most useful plan on average. You can be organised by planning your meals and creating a shopping list in advance. This can help you avoid forgetting items or buying unnecessary items.

But this might not be perfect for everyone.
Spring inflation checks: Americans who can get between $150 and $1,000

Although inflation has fallen drastically compared to the rates of a year ago, the figure continues to be high: the US reported five percent inflation in March.

Some state governments have chosen to offer their own financial assistance to provide relief to residents who continue to struggle to meet their basic needs. Daniela Barrera reports on states where Inflation checks will be issued in the spring.

Red flags for an IRS tax audit

The deadline for filing income tax returns has come and gone, but tax concerns may not be over for everyone. Although it does not happen very often, the IRS might decide to audit your return if they sense some red flags in it.

According to CNBC, some red flags the agency watches out for are "round numbers, missing income, excessive deductions or credits, unreported income and refundable tax credits."

The best way to avoid being audited is to have proper documentation, and to have all the receipts you need to back up the information you filed.
The 5 best cities in the United States to live only on a Social Security check

Every month, the Social Security Administration issues millions of payments to retired workers.

According to official Administration figures, the maximum Social Security payment for those claiming the benefit at full retirement age (67) is $3,627 per month. Those who apply at age 62 receive a maximum of $2,572 per month, and those who wait until age 70 can receive a maximum benefit of $4,555 per month.

If you are relying only your Social Security check as your source of income, our report shares the top five cities where your money can go the furthest.

Survey shows investors expect dollar to continue falling

Last year, the dollar soared to two-decade highs, but according to professional investors, it will continue to fall further as the market has undervalued the Federal Reserve's approaching easing cycle.

A Bloomberg survey shows that a big majority of investors expect the Fed to cut interest rates to 3% or below in a loosening cycle that 40% believe will start this year. That stands in contrast to market pricing that puts the implied policy rate around 3.05% in two years

According to Bloomberg, the fall of the dollar could affect future moves of investors, as de-dollarization is an issue that holds great weight among them.
California cities that offer guaranteed income programs: amounts, requirements & eligibility

California has one of the highest rates of income inequality in the country. Because of this, state and local authorities have launched a series of guaranteed income programs that offer direct monthly payments to low-income residents, with the goal of helping them meet their basic needs.

More than 12,000 Californians get cash payments each month through the guaranteed income pilot programs. Daniela Barrera gives us the cities that offer financial aid, as well as the current status of the programs.
Which US states need more workers?

In recent months there has been a wave of massive layoffs in the United States, resulting in the bankruptcy of various companies. An example of this is Bed Bath & Beyond, a company that filed for bankruptcy on April 23, weeks after laying off thousands of employees.

However, there are certain regions of the country where more workers are needed as employers have a harder time recruiting, resulting in greater job offers.

This report outlines  the states which have the biggest need for workers.

Credit Suisse bled $68 million in deposits in first quarter

The big investment news of the year so far has had mor einformation released; the fall of Credit Suisse.

Credit Suisse said it tallied $68 billion in net asset outflows in the first quarter, adding that outflows were continuing even in the wake of the bank's state-engineered rescue by UBS.

"These outflows have moderated but have not yet reversed as of April 24, 2023," Credit Suisse said.

It also said it had experienced significant withdrawals of cash deposits as well as non-renewal of maturing time deposits. Customer deposits declined by 67 billion Swiss francs in the first quarter.

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