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USA finance and payments: summary news | 28 May

Update:
US President Joe Biden disembarks Air Force One at Delaware Air National Guard Base in New Castle, Delaware, on May 27, 2022. - Biden is spending the weekend at his Wilmington, Delaware residence. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)

Headlines: 28 May 2022

Key measure shows that inflation slowed slightly in April, but remains high at 6.3% year-on-year

- Bitcoin drops back below $29,000, roughly 47% down over the past six months

US Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm accuses Russia of "weaponizing energy" with high gas prices

- Online searches for baby formula soar as shortages continue

- Pennsylvania proposes $2,000 stimulus check for residents.

- Concern over high energy prices and insufficient power grid ahead of the summer months

- Target and Walmart profits drop and stocks plunge after posting financial reports

- Crude oil prices closed above $110 on Thursday, representing a 66% year-on-year increase

Helpful info & links

- What is the California State Disability Insurance (SDI) program?

- Which states spend the most money on Medicaid?

- New York Unemployment Benefits: what is the maximum?

Are high gas prices affecting Trump's rally attendances?

In recent months the average price of a gallon of gasoline has soared across the country, with some states now recording prices well in excess of $6. On Saturday AAA confirmed that the average price in the US had risen to $4.601, hitting consumers in the pockets on a travel-heavy Memorial Day weekend. 

However the high cost of motor fuel may also be having a knock-on effect for former President Trump, whose widely-attended rallies have been a key part of election campaigns. The BBC's North America correspondent Anthony Zurcher has suggested that, given the huge distances supporters travel to see Trump, the high gas prices could be to blame for some underwhelming recent turnouts. 

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

US NEWS

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

The sharp price rises experience in recent months has pushed some states to introducing financial relief programs for consumers. Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf has proposed a “$1.7 billion plan to help the state fully recover from the pandemic and pave the way for a successful future” in February.

Part of his proposal included $500 million for the PA Opportunity Program which would send households in the Keystone State with an income of $80,000 or less a direct payment for up to $2,000.

Read more

"The report showed annual inflation declining and average monthly core inflation at around 4% at an annual rate, down from around 6% in the three months before it. At the same time, inflation is still too high and Putin’s price hike continues to impact food and energy prices."

White House , Press release

"There is more work to do and tackling inflation is my top economic priority. My plan is to give The Federal Reserve the independence it needs to do its job, lower families’ costs, and lower the federal deficit."

White House, Press release

Biden praises falling inflation rate

After months of sky-high inflation the first signs of a fall appear to have emerged after the year-on-year price increase for April fell slighty compared to the previous month. In the past 12 months the average price rise of around 6.2% was 0.1 percentage point less than had been recorded for March, something that President Biden has eager to celebrate.

He had been criticised widely by Republican lawmakers for failing to adequately address the inflationary pressures. The topic looks likely to be a key part of the 2022 midterms in November. 

How many hours can I work and still receive Social Security Disability (SSDI)?

US NEWS

How many hours can I work and still receive Social Security Disability (SSDI)?

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) provides financial assistance for people with disabilities, who are unable to work or to earn a sufficient amount. The program pays benefits to the claimant and in some cases family members, provided they are ‘insured’.

The ‘insured’ status is calculated based on the individual’s earnings history, requiring that people have contributed a certain amount to the Social Security Administration (SSA) during the course of their life.

Read more

Can children with disabilities get Social Security benefits?

US NEWS

Can children with disabilities get Social Security benefits?

Across 2021, an average of 65 million Americans received payments from the Social Security Administration (SSA) every month, totalling more than $1 trillion in financial support.

The retirement benefits are perhaps the most well-known of the SSA’s programs but there is also the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program, which provides monthly payments to adults and children with a disability or blindness.

Read more

Should Congress impose a windfall tax to tackle high gas prices?

The high price of gasoline is a consequence of many factors, some of which are largely out of President Biden's control, but one area where many feel he is not doing enough is punishing some blatant profiteering from oil companies. As these figures from Public Citizen shows, some of the wealthiest companies in the world have boosted their bottom line in recent months, recording record high profits at a time when tens of millions of Americans are struggling to cover the cost of essentials. 

Baby formula shortage worsens: Why is there a limit on buying infant formula?

US NEWS

Baby formula shortage worsens: Why is there a limit on buying infant formula?

Despite being more than two years on from the emergence of covid-19 as a global concern, there are still major issues with the supply chain that is making it difficult for parents to source one crucial product. A number of major retailers in the United States have imposed new purchasing restrictions on infant formula in response to a worrying supply shortage.

Last month CVS said it was limiting both in-store and online purchases of baby formula to three per order, following a similar cap introduced by Walgreens in March. Kroger has opted for a four-item limit per customer while Target has also placed restrictions on order size.

Read more

WHat is the solution for high gas prices?

Today the average price of a gallon of gasoline in the United States, as calculated by AAA, has risen to $4.601, representing an all-time high. The staggering increase in price over the past 12 months has caused serious problems for motorists all across the country, especially on a busy weekend of Memorial Day travel. TO discuss what President Biden could do in response, former Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.) and former Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) spoke to CNBC's 'Squawk Box' to debate energy policy.

Can I qualify for Social Security disability benefits if I get veterans’ benefits?

SOCIAL SECURITY

Can I qualify for Social Security disability benefits if I get veterans’ benefits?

In good news for veterans, Social Security disability payments can also be received at the same time as payments from the Department of Veteran Affairs. There is no reduction of one because of the other as Social Security disability payments are related to the severity of an injury that keeps a recipient out of work, which will often apply in cases of disabled soldiers.

Read more

Gas prices still rising

Gas prices have exceeded four dollars a gallon in every state around the country for the first time in history. Prices have not reached the levels they are currently holding at since the 2008 when the financial crisis was wreaking havoc on economies all over the world.

As a major supplier of natural gas and petroleum, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has negatively impacted energy markets.

Read more

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

US NEWS

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

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf proposed “$1.7 billion plan to help Pennsylvania fully recover from the pandemic and pave the way for a successful future” in February. Part of his proposal included $500 million for the PA Opportunity Program which would send households in the Keystone State with an income of $80,000 or less a direct payment for up to $2,000.

But why hasn't the money been sent out yet?

Read more

No decisions have been made yet [on student debt] but as a reminder no one has been required to pay a single dime of student loans since the president took office.

Vedant Patel, deputy press secretary

I am not considering $50,000 debt reduction, but I’m in the process of taking a hard look at whether or not there will be additional debt forgiveness and I’ll have an answer on that in the next couple of weeks

Joe Biden, US president

Student debt plans move forward

President Biden’s pledge to cancel up to $10,000 in student loan debt for Americans may be getting closer. Although the specifics of who exactly would benefit from the action have not been presented, he has said that he’ll lay out his plan in a couple weeks.

There had been some speculation that there could be an announcement this weekend, though the shooting in Texas may have postponed the news.

Memorial Day 2022: Not quite Black Friday, but expect some great deals from these shops

US NEWS

Memorial Day 2022: Not quite Black Friday, but expect some great deals from these shops

The official kick off to summer is just around the corner. For those looking for a reprieve from inflation, major retailers are offering some great deals for Memorial Day, some of which are already available.

Whether you need to get your wardrobe ready for summer or spruce up the inside or outside of your home, maybe both. Here’s a rundown of some of the deals you’ll find.

Read more

High gas prices causes headaches for Memorial Day travellers

Every year the build up to Memorial Day weekend sees a huge spike in the number of people embarking on long-distance journeys to visit family and take advantage of the long weekend. But this year, the first free of most covid-19 restrictions since 2019, the high price of motor fuels is causing major issues. 

The national average price of a gallon of gasoline is at an all-time high and states like California are suffering from extremely high gas prices. 

Baby formula shortage worsens: Why is there a limit on buying infant formula?

US NEWS

Baby formula shortage worsens: Why is there a limit on buying infant formula?

A number of major retailers in the United States have imposed new purchasing restrictions on infant formula in response to a worrying supply shortage.

Last month CVS said it was limiting both in-store and online purchases of baby formula to three per order, following a similar cap introduced by Walgreens in March. Kroger has opted for a four-item limit per customer while Target has also placed restrictions on order size.

Read more

Why is there a shortage of baby formula?

In recent weeks there have been widespread reports of baby formula shortages, a major concern for parents across the country who are often reliant on the product from a single manufacturer. There are numerous reasons for the shortage, from supply chain issues to a major product recall on behalf of one of the sector's biggest manufacturers, but there's little to suggest that the stockists will return to normal anytime soon. 

"The American Rescue Plan helped power a historic recovery which led to the largest job growth ever in a calendar year, saw unemployment claims decline from nearly 20 million when President Biden took office to close to 1 million – and unemployment reach 3.6% – a level the Congressional Budget Office did not predict our nation would reach during the entire decade."

White House, Press release
How much were the first, second and third stimulus checks and when were they sent out?

US NEWS

How much were the first, second and third stimulus checks and when were they sent out?

AS USA takes a look back over the three federal stimulus checks sent out by the US government during the covid-19 pandemic.

How much? Who to? Any extra money for households with dependents?

Inflation rate appears to be slowing in recent figures

After months of sky-high inflation, there are the first signs that the United States' battle with price rises may finally be turning a corner. A report from the Commerce Department released today showed that the year-on-year price increases were slightly less than the previous month's figures. 

AP reports: "An inflation gauge closely tracked by the Federal Reserve rose 6.3% in April from a year earlier, just below a four-decade high set in March and the first slowdown since November 2020."

AR, KY post largest job openings rise in March

Arkansas and Kentucky were the US states where there was the largest rise in job openings in March, according to data released by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics on Friday.

Job openings rates increased by 2% in Arkansas and Kentucky, the BLS said. Oklahoma was third, with a 1.6% rise.

“The decreases in job openings rates occurred in New Hampshire (−1.3 percentage points), Georgia (−0.6 point), and Wisconsin (−0.5 point),” the BLS added.

Good morning and welcome to AS USA

Welcome to our dedicated financial news live feed, bringing you all the latest from the United States on Saturday, 28 May. 

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