More Americans than expected filed first-time claims for unemployment insurance as part of the latest weekly jobless numbers the US Labor Dept. released on Thursday, with the first-time claims totaling 744,000. That’s up from the 694,000 that economists had expected and above the previous week’s total of 728,000.
Data points like these, among others, help keep attention on the US government’s ongoing distribution of stimulus payments — something that various Democratic lawmakers in both congressional chambers are pushing to turn into more of a regular thing, long shot though that may be. Meanwhile, as we noted in a previous post, some Americans do indeed have more stimulus checks coming, in the form of so-called “plus-up” payments that are on the way from the IRS.
According to the IRS, the new batch of so-called plus-up payments “includes the first of ongoing supplemental payments for people who earlier in March received payments based on their 2019 tax returns but are eligible for a new or larger payment based on their recently processed 2020 tax returns.” The “plus-up” payments could also include a situation where a person’s income slipped in 2020 compared to 2019, or a person had a new child or dependent listed on their 2020 tax return, among other situations.
The point, though, is that these new payments are based on the IRS seeing new information in a taxpayer’s 2020 federal tax return, compared to their 2019 tax return that the agency may have used to issue funds already. In other words, if you haven’t filed your 2020 tax return yet, it might behoove you to do so immediately, never mind the deadline being extended to May 17.
People in this boat will have already received a third stimulus check based on their 2019 tax return — a stimulus payment, remember, that stems from the $1.9 trillion relief bill that President Biden signed into law on March 11. And the financial help that it provided could not come too soon for many Americans, since countless still remain in dire financial straits as a result of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
According to a recent survey from TransUnion, about 4 in 10 Americans say their income is still below where it stood before the pandemic. And as the new Labor Department numbers show, the jobless rate in the US is still elevated, with the pandemic hitting some industries like hospitality and the restaurant business much harder than others. No wonder, then, that 21 Democratic Senators sent a letter in recent days to President Biden calling for recurring stimulus payments and claiming that the $1,400 stimulus checks provided for in the recent bill won’t be enough for too many people.
“Almost 6 in 10 people say the $1,400 payments set to be included in the rescue package will last them less than three months,” the senators wrote.