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USA finance and payments live updates: gas stimulus check, tax deadline, Child Tax Credit portal, tax refunds...

Update:
Americans have less than two weeks to file their 2021 tax return or file for an extension, we'll keep you up-to-date with the latest financial news.

US Finance News: latest updates

Headlines 6 April 2022

- IRS tohost in-person support sessionson 9 April for those with tax filing questions

- White House expected toextend student loan repayment moratorium until 31 August

- Social Security to open offices nationwide 7 April for in-person services

- President Biden proposes a budget which would increase taxes for top earners in the US

- California Gov. Gavin Newsom proposes a bill that would send $400 to families to offset increasing fuel costs.

Information and Useful links

- 2022 Tax Brackets: a guide

- Applying for Social Security Disability Insurance, step by step

- Interest in SNAP benefits have increased as inflation has spiked. What are the eligibility requirements?

US NEWS

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

Three federal stimulus checks have gone out in the US during the coronavirus pandemic, with qualifying Americans able to claim a total of $3,200 plus credits for households with eligible dependents.

AS USA takes a look back at each of the three direct payments

Latest News

IRS will offer in person support as the federal deadline approaches

The federal tax deadline is rapidly approaching.

To support taxpayers, the IRS will be offering in-person support in cities around the country on 9 April. For those who still believe that they may still need to file a petition for an extension, you can find out how in our full coverage.

latest news

What is included in the tax plan that Biden proposed? Can the individual income rate increase?

The White House  has released their budget for the next fiscal year and it includes various proposals to support struggling households. President Biden has made a commitment to not increase taxes for households making less than $400,000 a year, but those with higher incomes could see a boost in their tax bill if the budget becomes law. What programs does it include? Read more to find out.

SOCIAL SECURITY

How to know how much will I get in Social Security when I retire?

Of the 70 million people who receive Social Security support every month, around 50 million of them are receiving retirement benefits. This makes the Social Security retirement benefits one of the most widely used support programmes in the United States.

When you do come to claiming the benefits for real the Social Security Administration (SSA) will look back on the entirety of your working life to make an assessment on the size of payment you are eligible for.

Read more

Will student loans be cancelled?

Throughout the pandemic the federal government has placed a pause on the collection of student loan repayments to ease the financial burden on Americans. An announcement was made on Wednesday with the student loan pause extended until 31 August. Previously, the moratorium was due to come to an end on 1 May.

It is thought that around 40 million people will directly benefit from the extension of the moratorium.

Price of first class stamps to increase

President Joe Biden on Wednesday signed legislation to provide the Postal Service with around $50 billion in relief river the next decade. Since 2007, the organization has made losses of more than $90 billion. It was expected that debt could be racked up by a further $160 billion without this support.

"The Postal Service is central to our economy and central to rural America," Biden said at a White House ceremony.

The price of a first-class stamp will rise from 58 cents to 60 cents.

FINANCIAL NEWS

Can a single person get the Earned Income Tax Credit?

The IRS offers a few different forms of financial relief to help families and the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is one of the most widely used. Low- or middle-income workers may be able to claim a substantial tax refund from the EITC, although there are some requirements for eligibility.

In some instances you may be able to file for the EITC if you don’t even claim children on your tax return, however you will have to satisfy some additional eligibility requirements.

Read more

What have Democrats said about the price of oil?

At a time of record profits, Big Oil is refusing to increase production to provide the American people some much needed relief at the gas pump.

Frank Pallone, chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee

The bottom line is if we want lower gas prices we need to have more oil supply right now. This is a moment of consequence and peril for the world, and pain at the pump for American families.

Joe Biden, US president

Democrats take aim at big oil

Democrats have accused oil companies of putting profits before production as Americans suffer from ever-increasing gasoline prices amid the war in Ukraine.

Despite the receding price of oil and gas in the last two weeks, this benefit has not found its way to consumers and the prices risk being entrenched in the American economy.

TAX FILING

Will the tax brackets change in 2022 compared to the previous year?

The 2022 tax season is wrapping up with less than two weeks to go. Over 81 million taxpayers had submitted their 2021 tax returns by 25 March according to the IRS, over four percent fewer than last year at the same time even though the agency began accepting filings earlier.

For those that want to plan ahead for filing next year to avoid pulling all the necessary paperwork together, the IRS has posted the2022 fiscal year inflation adjustments for filing next year. 

IRS will reimburse households up to $8,000 for child and dependent care expenses

Families with children will need to file a 2021 tax return this year if they want to receive any money they are eligible for from the enhanced Child Tax Credit. When you are filing though, you will want to check out other tax credits that were beefed up under the American Rescue Plan.

One may be of particular interest to families that have older dependents as well as children they claim on their tax filing. Although the Child Tax Credit gives taxpayers up to $3,600 per child, the Child and Dependent Care Credit could be worth up to $8,000 for a family with two or more children or dependents. Half that amount if they have just one.

In order to access any of the credits available you must file a 2021 tax return, the deadline is Monday 18 April, less than two weeks away.

Full details

Good inflation and bad inflation

The US Federal Reserve will meet in early May to decide what the next steps it will take to bring high inflation under control. Some economists had called on the central bank to act sooner, while others and a majority of policymakers at the Fed saw the economy running hot as necessary to help the US economy recover and get back to full employment faster.

Albeit wages are rising, which is good, other disruptions in the economy are stoking rising prices for goods and services which have now outpaced wage growth.

SOCIAL SECURITY

Which states have the best Social Security disability benefits?

Regardless of where you live the Social Security Administration will send beneficiaries of Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income the same amount, all things being equal. Benefits for each are based on the recipient’s work history or need.

Depending on where you live, your state may provide a booster to Supplemental Security Income payments with the amount ranging from tens of dollars to hundreds more each month.

Full details

Date announced for Social Security offices reopening

Since the start of the pandemic in March 2020 Social Security offices nationwide have been closed to the public for face-to-face business except by appointment and only in limited circumstances. After a little over two years that will change on Thursday 7 April.

The Social Security Administration has announced that it will restore in-person services, including for people without an appointment. However, the agency "strongly encourages" people to call ahead to make an appointment if you need to speak to a representative in person to avoid waiting in line. As well, to use the online services for those that can.

Oil executives to testify on Capitol Hill about high gas prices

Lawmakers are accusing oil companies of price gouging after the price of oil came down but gasoline prices didn't follow suit. The price of crude spiked to around $140 per barrel after sancitons were imposed on Russia for invading Ukraine but have since come down closer to $100. Gasoline prices, which peaked in early March at $4.33 per gallon average in the US, have receded but remain elevated at $4.16 on average on Wednesday.

In the meantime, Exxon said it could register its highest quarterly profits in seven years on Monday of 9.3 billion dollars.

FINANCIAL NEWS

Who benefits from contributory programs?

There are a wide range of entitlement programs on offer from the federal government, which can be split into two groups based on their funding models: contributory and non-contributory. Combined, the programs comprise the social safety net, a vast blanket of initiatives designed to insulate Americans from financial hardships and resultant consequences.

However in isolation contributory and non-contributory programs satisfy two very different purposes and provide financial support for separate groups. 

Read more

White House fixes ACA "family glitch"

President Barack Obama joined President Joe Biden at the White House on Tuesday, his first visit since leaving office in 2017, for Biden's announcement to improve The Affordable Care Act.

The Biden administration is taking steps to improve Obama's signature legislative achievement and fix the ACA "family glitch." The rule blocks millions of people who receive health care through a family member’s work policy from qualifying for assistance with coverage.

US NEWS

How and where can I apply for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Programs?

The SNAP program is administered by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service programme, but each state has its own application form. It is advised not to call the USDA or the US Health and Human Services headquarters, as only states handle applications and determine eligibility.

Those who are eligible and want to apply for the SNAP program will need to contact their local SNAP office.

Read more

US NEWS

What requirements do I need to apply for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program?

The SNAP program is funded by the federal government but is administered by the individual states, who typically work with local agencies and charities to offer additional education and training to recipients.

But while SNAP is organised on a state level, the eligibility requirements are the same throughout the country.

Read more

US NEWS

What is the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)?

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, better known as SNAP, is a federal programme to help low-income families and individuals to purchase food. 

The federal government has expanded the payments that can be received through SNAP benefits, but not everyone is eligible. This was part of President Biden’s Thrifty Food Plan devised by the Agriculture Department, intending to support Americans who have been hit hard during the pandemic.

Read more

Reaction to student loan moratorium extension

I'm glad POTUS will extend the pause on student loan repayments. It will help so many. But I think he needs to go further. We've got to ease the burden, not merely delay it. Let's start by canceling up to $50,000 in debt per borrower. And let's do it now, Mr. President.

Adam Schiff, US Representative for California

NAACP says don't extend moratorium, cancel student loan debt

The White House will once again extend the moratorium on student loan debt that was due to expire on 1 May. Around 41 million borrowers have benefited from payments and interest on their student loans being frozen since March 2020. 

Student loan moratorium extended until 31 August

President Biden will once again extend the moratorium on federal student loan payments, giving graduates some more breathing room for their loan repayments. The extension is expected to last until the end of August according to multiple people familiar with the matter. 

The current pause on payments was set to expire May 1 but this latest extension should be announced by the White House officially on Wednesday. More than 40 million Americans will likely benefit from the additional relief, however the length of the extension is considerably shorter than what many Democrats in Congress had requested. 

End of Child Tax Credit payments sees parents leave workforce

In late 2021 employment data suggested that the monthly Child Tax Credit payments were actually encouraging parents to enter the workforce, allowing them to cover the cost of childcare. Despite that, and various other demonstrable benefits, Congress failed to extend the Child Tax Credit expansion and the programme ended in December. Accordingly, the number of parents in work has fallen in the past few months. 

Welcome to AS USA

Good morning and welcome to AS USA's daily live blog on the latest financial news in the US.

The deadline for Americans to file their 2021 federal tax return or request a six-month extension is fast approaching. Most US taxpayers have until 18 April to submit their 1040 Form with the IRS. Likewise, most states require residents to file state income tax returns on the same day.

Those that ask for an extension will have until 17 October 2022 but must pay any taxes due by April deadline.

We'll also be looking at the state of gas prices in the country and the possibility to replace the Child Tax Credit, among other fiancial news coming out of DC and around the nation that could affect your pcoket book.

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