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Stimulus checks news summary | 6 March 2023

US Finance: Latest Updates

US Finance Feed: Latest Updates

Headlines: Monday, 6 March 2023

- Some states will continue to send stimulus and relief checks in March 

- What to do if your tax refund does not arrive 

-Difference betweentax transcripts and tax returns

-One dollar bills that sell for $150,000

- IRS offers tax $7,500 tax credit for some EVs 

2023 Tax Season 

- Who can claim the additional standard deduction?

- The way to access IRS transcripts to ensure a faster tax refund

- Did you receive a state stimulus check? No need to report the payment as income to the IRS. 

Read more from AS USA:
Housing market: In which cities are single-family homes prices falling?

The housing market is one of the sectors most impacted by the Federal Reserve’s decision to rapidly increase interest rates.

The average rate applied to a thirty-year mortgage has risen from 3.92 percent a year ago to 6.32 today. Before these rate hikes took effect, the housing market had been on fire, with prices rising rapidly in cities and towns nationwide. As the price of a mortgage has risen over the last year, demand has begun to fall as low-and-middle-income buyers, and first-time home buyers are priced out of the market.

However, prices have begun to come down in some markets.Here's a look...
The 5 cheapest supermarkets in the USA: what are they and where can I find them

The rising cost of groceries, a major part of most American’s budgets, continues to impact household finances across the nation. While overall inflation across the United States has been slowing over the past several months, the price of putting food on the table at home surged again in January, up 11.3 percent from the same time last year.

Faced with this situation, American consumers and families are looking for lower grocery prices, since these often vary from one store to another. That is why we will share with you the five cheapest supermarkets in the United States.

How much do you need to earn to afford a home purchase?

According to the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) definition of affordable housing, the occupant should not be paying more than 30 percent of gross income for housing costs, which includes utilities. For those looking to purchase, homeownership comes with additional costs beyond mortgage payments, like insurance, taxes and property maintenance.

That’s why as a rule of thumb, Nadia Evangelou, senior economist and director of real estate research at the National Association of Realtors recommends using “a 25 percent share of mortgage payment to income.” That leaves new home buyers with breathing room for those added expenses they will encounter.

Where is the housing market headed as mortgage rates rise again?

Robert Reffkin, CEO of online real estate brokerage Compass, spoke with CNBC's Closing Bell: Overtime on where the housing market is headed. In December, pending listings that had accepted offers were down 40 percent, but in every week since then the number of listings with accepted offers has increased. Even in February when prices were higher than in January. Given what he sees now, he stands by his call that the fourth quarter of 2022 was the bottom of the housing downturn.
Requirements to receive up to $2,000 Child Tax Credit in 2023

The 2023 Child Tax Credit is available to parents with dependents under 17 as of 31 December 2022 and who meet certain eligibility requirements. In 2021, the American Rescue Plan made big changes to the credit for one year that helped many families by allowing them to receive half of the value of the credit over six months rather than as a bulk sum when they file their taxes. 

We take a look at the Child Tax Credit for this year, and who is eligible to receive the support...

Read more
Requirements to receive up to $7,000 for the Earned Income Tax Credit refund (EITC)

When filing your taxes, you may be able to apply for any of the tax credits offered by the tax collection agency, including the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), which is aimed at low-income individuals and families.

EITC recipients can receive up to $6,935, almost $7,000. However, the exact amount will depend on the situation of each family or individual applying, such as the number of children one has or annual income.
What day of the week is the cheapest to shop at the supermarket?

What is the cheapest day to buy groceries? We explain which day of the week is the best for finding the lowest prices at the supermarket and why.
What are the maximum SNAP benefits in 2023?

Food stamps, also known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), are a form of government assistance provided to eligible individuals and families to help them afford nutritious food.

To be eligible for SNAP benefits you must meet certain criteria, such as having a household income below a certain threshold, being a US citizen or legal immigrant, and meeting other program requirements. We take a look at how much is on offer for beneficiaries in 2023...

Read more
What is the average Social Security check at age 70?

Social Security is the most widely-received form of federal benefits and is continuing to grow as the US population ages. The Social Security Administration started off 2023 sending over 71 million payments to Americans in the first month of the year. 

The agency sends payments to contributors who have been disabled in their work, survivors or workers and the biggest group of all, retired contributors to the program. For those receiving Social Security retirement benefits, here's how much you can expect after reaching 70...

Read more
Tax deadline extended to Oct. 16 in California: Who does it affect?

Rain has been falling in California at levels not seen in decades, and as a result, disaster declarations have been made in counties across the state this winter. To support residents, state and federal tax authorities have extended the tax filing deadline for most counties.

$1,800 social security checks: exact mailing dates in March 2023

Last year, the SSA announced an 8.7% cost of living adjustment (COLA), resulting in higher Social Security payments for 2023. The SSA has already disbursed payments for January and February and is currently sending out benefits for March.
What alternatives does Biden have if the Supreme Court strikes down his student loan relief plan?

President Biden is under pressure to secure widespread debt relief for student loan borrowers, a measure that formed a key part of his successful election campaign in 2020. His Student Loan Forgiveness program has faced a number of legal challenges and the Supreme Court is currently considering the legality of its passage. 

If the program is struck down by the highest court in the land, where next for the White House as Biden looks to other routes to secure debt relief for students?

Read more
IRS forms to receive up to $7,000 Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)

You may eligible to claim a tax credit worth up to $7,000 when you file taxes this year, a huge amount as households continue to struggle with the consequences of historically high inflation. Price soared in 2022 and the IRS acted to raise the eligibility requirements for financial relief intitiatives, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). 

We take a look at who is eligible for the support...

Read more

Take advantage of IRS face-to-face tax assistance

The tax agency is aiming to work through the backlog of unfiled tax returns from previous years and is confident of administrating this tax season much more swiftly than in recent years. The IRS is benefitting from additional federal funding this year and will be offering in-person tax assistance this Saturday at selected locations. 

Find out more...
Social Security double payment in March: Who qualifies and what is the amount?

Social Security is the biggest federally-funded financial support program in the United States, with more than 70 million people receiving payments from the SSA every single month. Sometimes the monthly payment schedule is altered slightly to account for weekends and national holidays, making some months 'double payment' months. 

Here's when you can expect your two Social Security payments in March...

Read more

Is now a good time to buy a house?

The housing market is undergoing a period of negative growth at the moment with house prices falling on average across the country. This comes as mortgage rates have hit historically high level, a consequence of the interest rate hikes introduced by the Federal Reserve to combat high inflation. 

This combination of factors has led to some experts advising prospective home-owners that now is not the best time to buy.
What is a wage-price spiral?

Earlier this week, Federal Reserve Governor Christopher J. Waller described the current state of the economy from the central bank’s perspective, arguing that rapidly increasing wages are contributing to persistent inflation.

In January, the US economy added over half a million jobs, far exceeding expectations. Inflation rose by 0.5 percent, well above the bank’s targets, which tries to keep average price increases below two percent a year.

Governor Waller explained the central bank’s emerging view that “wages are growing faster than they have in decades [...], a pace that may contribute to keeping inflation elevated.”

Adding that across the service sector, where the worker shortages “are reportedly most acute,” firms see labor costs begin to represent a “higher share of overall input cost.”

Read our full coverage for details on what makes a wage-price spiral and the situation the US economy currently finds itself in.
SNAP benefits in California 2023: How much money do you have to make a month to qualify?

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is designed to provide financial assistance for low-income households. The monthly payments are a supplement for the household food budget to ensure that recipients can afford to purchase healthy food.

The program, also known as food stamps, is jointly overseen by federal and state authorities, meaning that the delivery of the support varies across the country. In California the program is known as CalFresh; a state-supervised and county-operated initiative.

California has no asset or resource limit for SNAP benefits, but does have eligibility requirements on both gross and net income. The gross income limit is 200% of the federal poverty level, while the gross figure is 100%.

Read more on estimating your SNAP benefit amount in our full coverage.

US productivity increased in 4th quarter of 2022 but dropped year over year

Nonfarm business sector labor productivity growth in the United States was revised down from a preliminary estimate of 3% to 1.7% for the fourth quarter of 2022 according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. Output grew 3.1% (vs a preliminary 3.5%) and hours worked were up 1.4% (vs a preliminary 0.5%).

However, on a yearly basis, average productivity dropped by 1.7%, the largest decline since 1974.
Have I lost my IRS tax refund if it takes more than 21 days to arrive?

The 2023 tax season continues. On January 23, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) began receiving and processing tax returns for the 2022 fiscal year.

For this tax season, the deadline to file a tax return is April 18. However, those who request an extension can file until October 16. On the other hand, those taxpayers who are in a disaster area also have more time to file. As the IRS processes tax returns, it begins to send out refunds.

Once a tax return is filed and approved, the IRS sets a maximum of 21 days to deliver the refund via direct deposit to those who filed electronically. Does it get lost if it takes longer to arrive? Find out more in our full coverage.

When will mortgage prices go down?

Mortgage rates have been surging again, up for four straight weeks, with the weekly average at 6.65% according to Freddie Mac data. House purchasing had picked up in January when rates began to retreat but with the increases going into the spring there are worries that it could dampen home buying once again during the crucial season.

How high could mortgage rates go? Lawrence Yun of the National Association of Realtors thinks they could hit 7% like in the fall. However, he sees it dropping back to 6% by the end of the year as numerous new rental units will be available.

Nebraska leads the country in employment

Last week, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released a state-level report on the size of their labor forces and the percentage of the working-age population that is employed. 

In 2022, Nebraska led the country in terms of its labor force participation rate at 68.1 percent. 

North Dakota (67.8 percent), the District of Colombia (67.4), and Utah (67.1) followed Nebraska in terms of their employment–population ratio. 

The lowest rates were in West Virginia (52.5 percent) and Mississippi (52.7 percent).
Relief checks in March 2023: which states will send payments, dates and amounts?

Last year, inflation in the United States reached historic levels.

Given the high prices, several entities approved the sending of stimulus checks or tax refunds as relief. Although inflation has fallen in recent months, the support continues. We will share with you which states will send payments in March and what the amounts are.

Hello and welcome to AS USA's live blog on financial news from Wall Street to Washington DC. 

We will bring you the latest on the Federal Reserve's presumed move to increase interest rates later this week. Another rate hike will continue to push up the price of mortgages, and borrowing more generally. 

On Friday, the Bureau of Labor Statistics will release the February Employment Report, which is highly anticipated after the economy added more than half a million jobs in January. After the news broke, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said in a press conference that the impacts of rate increases were not yet being felt in the economy. 

In addition to news on the Supreme Court's review of Presidnet Biden's student debt relief program, the latest on the housing market, we will also bring you guidance from the IRS as tax season continues.

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