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USA finance and payments news summary: Tuesday 31 May 2022

Update:
US finance: live updates

US finance: live updates

Headlines: 31 May 2022

- Fed Chair and President to meet at White House to discuss inflation on Tuesday

- Average US gas price rises to record $4.62 per gallon

- No announcement yet amid speculation Biden could announce large-scale student debt forgiveness

- Personal consumption price index shows inflation slowed slightly in April

- Online searches for baby formula soar as shortages continue

Helpful info & links

- California State Disability Insurance scheme: the lowdown

- Governor Newsom proposing $400 rebate for California car owners

- Pennsylvania governor wants to send residents $2,000 stimulus check

- Which states in the US spend the the most on Medicaid?

- New York unemployment benefits: what is the maximum?

- Things to consider before retiring

More AS USA related articles:

What is the unemployment Ticket To Work Program and how can I apply?

SOCIAL SECURITY

What is the unemployment Ticket To Work Program and how can I apply?

The Ticket to Work programme allows disabled workers on get back into the workplace. Usually, being able to work precludes a worker from receiving Social Security disability payments (SSDI), but the scheme gives disabled people the opportunity to get back into work. Anyone who receives Social Security payments due to a disability between the ages of 18 to 64 can apply.

The Ticket to Work programme also allows individuals uninterrupted access to Medicare or Medicaid coverage for as long as they pay the premiums, for up to 93 months after their Social Security payments have ended, regardless of which type.

Read more

How to make the most of the high gas prices

With little sign of an end to the high gasoline prices in sight, motorists are being advised to think carefully when they top up. As is the case across the board in the United States, prices are on the rise and the national rate of inflation remains painfully high. An AAA spokesperson has recommended using the comapny's price tracker app to locate the cheapest fuel near you. 

What are my veteran disability compensation rates? VA pay charts 2022

FINANCIAL NEWS

What are my veteran disability compensation rates? VA pay charts 2022

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) plays a vital role in supporting servicemen and servicewomen, and their families, after they has left the armed forces.

Included in the range of programs offered by the VA are disability benefits designed to provide financial relief for men and women who lost use of part of their bodies in the line of duty. The amount paid out by the VA is dependent on a number of factors, primarily related to the severity of the disability and the personal circumstances of the claimant.

Read more

I think I was wrong then about the path that inflation would take. As I mentioned, there have been unanticipated and large shocks to the economy that have boosted energy and food prices and supply bottlenecks that have affected our economy badly that I didn't at the time fully understand... So really, the shocks to the economy have continued, but inflation is the number one concern for President Biden

Janet Yellen, Treasury Secretary

Officials admit wrong prediction for inflation

(Reuters) - US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said on Tuesday that she was wrong in the past about the path inflation would take, but said taming price hikes is President Joe Biden's top priority and he supports the Federal Reserve's actions to achieve that.

Asked in a CNN interview whether she was wrong to downplay the threat that inflation posed in public statements over the past year, Yellen said she was wrong.

What is the unemployment Ticket To Work Program and how can I apply?

SOCIAL SECURITY

What is the unemployment Ticket To Work Program and how can I apply?

The Ticket to Work programme allows disabled workers on get back into the workplace. Usually, being able to work precludes a worker from receiving Social Security disability payments (SSDI), but the scheme gives disabled people the opportunity to get back into work. 

Anyone who receives Social Security payments due to a disability between the ages of 18 to 64 can apply.

Read more

We now have a chance to build on a historic recovery with an economy that works for working families. The most important thing we can do now to transition from rapid recovery to stable, steady growth is to bring inflation down. That is why I have made tackling inflation my top economic priority.

President Joe Biden, wrote in a Wall Street Journal op-ed

Biden's three-part plan to tackle inflation

Americans perception of President Biden's job performance has been taking a beating as household finances struggle to make ends meet due to inflation not seen in four decades. To show that he hears their concerns, Biden laid out a three-part plan to tackle inflation.

First of all, he's acknowledging that it's the Fed's job to bring down inflation and that he doesn't plan to get in the way of the central bank's policymakers.

Secondly, he will continue to work to make goods more affordable, focusing on high gas prices which hit $4.62 on average across the US on Tuesday.

Thirdly, he plans to reduce the federal budget through common-sense reforms to the tax code. “With the right policies, the US can transition from recovery to stable, steady growth and bring down inflation without giving up all these historic gains,” Biden wrote.

I have grandmothers in my district still paying off student loans while on Social Security and a fixed income.

This is an intergenerational issue and POTUS must cancel student debt.

Ayanna Pressley, US Representative for Massachusetts 7th District

Millions of borrowers at risk of student loan default when federal moratorium ends

Student loans payments and interest have been frozen since March 2020 giving breathing room to millions of borrowers. The lastest extension of the moratorium will end 1 September when roughly 40 million borrowers will need to restart payments.

Roughly twenty-five percent of those borrowers were in deliquency or default when the pause was put into place. Rohit Chopra, head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is worried that even more may be at risk come September. Currently, his agency is awaiting a decision on student debt cancelation that has been parsed by the Biden administration.

Even if there's a recession, employer's will still be struggling to find skilled workers

Becky Frankiewicz of Manpower Group is working with CEOs to help make the office fun and engaging to attract skilled workers from a limited supply pool. The skills shortage began prior to the pandemic-induced but has now reached its highest level in 16 years.

There are two jobs for every American job seeker which has empowered them to be able to choose where they want to work. According to  Frankiewicz, today's modern workforce expects diversity in their place of employment. She says that employers need to offer "a strong value proposition." Also "optionality" which includes some type of flexibility whether it be remote working or a flexible schedule.

Should the economy slow down and even enter a recession, she doesn't see any change to the worker empowerment and the supply of skilled workers will still be a challenge for companies.

Is Pennsylvania getting a new $2,000 stimulus check?

US NEWS

Is Pennsylvania getting a new $2,000 stimulus check?

Employing federal stimulus funds that will be lost if they aren't used, Governor Tom Wolf is pushing for direct payments of up to $2,000 for Pennsylvanians.

AS USA's Greg Heilman has the full story

President Biden to meet with Fed Chair Jerome Powell to talk about inflation

President Biden will meet with Jerome Powell, head of the Federal Reserve, at the White House on Tuesday to discuss the current high inflation. The rising prices have become one of the major concerns for Americans. The meeting is part of the White House effort to show voters and the wider public that the administration is taking action.

Last summer through the fall, policymakers at the central bank had tolerated above normal inflation on the presumption that it would be temporary. However, the continued price increases, the highest in four decades have forced the Fed to act, raising interest rates by 50 basis points in May, the sharpest hike since 2000. It is expected policymakers will vote for similar hikes at the June and July meetings to tame inflationary pressures.

EU moves forward with ban on Russian oil imports after compromise is reached

The European Union leaders reached a deal that will see imports of crude oil from Russia into the trading bloc cut by 90 percent by the end of the year. The ban gives carveout to the Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia, three nations that are landlocked and heavily dependent on energy imports from Russia. The move comes as the EU tries to reduce income to the belligerent nation after it invaded Ukraine in February.

US Economy: Experts fear United States could enter a recession if spending continues to slow

US NEWS

US Economy: Experts fear United States could enter a recession if spending continues to slow

Despite positive unemployment figures and the end of nearly every pandemic restriction, the US economy is headed for the rocks. Inflation, currently standing at 8.3 percent year-on-year, is threatening to pull the plug on economic progress. Prices for some of the most neccessary commodities are at record levels, such as fuel and grain, without a clear end date for when things may get better.

Read more

Going cobalt free to make electric vehicles batteries cheaper, ethical

The price of lithium ion batteries fell by around 89 percent between 2010 and 2020 but one of the most expensive materials in them is cobalt. This metallic element which is mostly obtained through refining nickel ore represents roughly 30 percent of the cost of batteries that power everything from your mobile phone to electric vehicles.  For a typical 80 kilowatt-hour battery, cobalt tacks on $800 to the price tag.

Besides the cost, cobalt also has a dark side, it is associated with human rights abuses and child labor prompting companies to seek alternatives to make cobalt-free batteries.

Avoid surprise tax bill with IRS when filing 2022 tax return next year

Although your employer is required to withhold a certain amount of you earnings from you pay check you may still owe Uncle Sam more than that amount at the end of the year. The IRS offers a Tax Withholding Estimator so that you won't be caught off guard next year with an unexpected tax bill. Other income from which taxes may need to be withheld include pensions, bonuses, commissions, and gambling winnings.

How much higher will gas prices go in the US?

The high price of gasoline in the United States has reached new levels over the Memorial Day weekend with millions of Americans choosing to travel to visit friends and family. But does the $4.619 national average recorded on Monday represent the peak?

Probably not, says GasBuddy analyst Patrick De Haan, and the price could continue to rise over the summer months. There appears to be no end in sight to the sanctions on Russian-produced crude oil, meaning that the suppy of oil products (such as gasoline) cannot satisfy the demand. 

US President Joe Biden’s latest plan to cancel $10,000 in student debt per borrower.

US NEWS

US President Joe Biden’s latest plan to cancel $10,000 in student debt per borrower.

The Washington Post published an article on May 27 detailing the Biden administration’s plan regarding student debt. According to three people familiar with the situation, there will be an upcoming announcement that the president will forgive $10,000 in debt for graduates earning under a certain limit.

Read more

We’re expecting it will be the largest climate bill of the next Congress.

Heather Reams, executive director of conservative Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions

[Farmers are] feeling the impacts of climate change before the rest of us... Methane primarily comes out the front end, not the back end... But if you’re putting a dollar value on methane, then there’s no reason to reduce methane.

Scott Faber, Environmental Working Group

What could be included in farm bill for next year?

Planning is underway for a new bill next year that will be heavily focused upon climate action as the US experiences its some of its worst droughts in decades.

One of the main problems is methane gas. With the US market constantly expanding, the increased gases pose a problem for sustainability. One option, often pushed by conservative lawmakers and advocates, is trapping methane and selling it under the moniker “renewable natural gas.”

US finance news, live updates: welcome

Good morning and welcome to AS USA's daily live blog for Tuesday 31 May 2022, bringing you the latest financial news in the United States. 

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