USA finance and payments live updates: Cost of living, inflation, mortgage, interest rates, S.S. benefits – AS USA


US Finance: Latest Updates

Still haven’t filed a 2021 tax return? IRS wants you to get it in ASAP to avoid penalties

The majority of taxpayers managed to file their 2021 tax returns on time, but there were a fair number of filers who still need to turn in their tax declaration. The IRS advises to get your tax filing in as soon as possible, not only to receive your tax refund but to avoid any potential late penalties.

That is especially true for taxpayers that have an outstanding bill with Uncle Sam. Even if you file on time or requested a six-month extension, interest and penalties start to accrue from the tax deadline, which was 18 April in 2022.

Here’s what you need to know…

What do I need to know if I want to change my Medicare plan this year?


What do I need to know if I want to change my Medicare plan this year?

As time passes, needs can change from where you live, how you get around to what you eat. The healthcare coverage you have is no different. Once a year, during the nine weeks of Open Enrollment for Medicare all those who are signed up can make changes to their plan for healthcare and prescription drugs for the next year.

Here’s everything you need to know about applying for the financial support this year…

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Investors cash in on cyrptocurrency woes to the tune of nearly $4 billion

Cryptocurrencies have taken a shellacking, the two biggest, Bitcoin and Ethereum, have lost over 50 percent of their value this year. The digital coins woes have been a lucrative trade for short-sellers who have cashed in $3.8 billion in profits as of 14 June.

They are betting against companies such as Coinbase, a cryptocurrency exchange platform, and Microstrategy, the largest corporate holder of bitcoin. 

However, those looking to join in the short-sellers party may be too late. although the downturn is expceted to continue, the size will be difficult to match and it is becoming more expensive to borrow for the trades.

Businesses are passes on higher costs from inflation through extra swipe fees

Inflation in the US hit a new high in May clocking in at 8.6 percent, the highest since Decmeber 1981. The Federal Reserve has shifted its stance, moving much more aggressively to tame rising prices.

However, in the meantime, businesses are trying to pass on on the added cost to them from supply chain bottlenecks, increased credit card transaction fees and higher wages through additional fees when customers pay.

The surcharges allow them to offset the hit to their bottomline while not raising prices, so to speak, but they add further financial shock to Americans already struggling to make ends meet. The average US household is forking out $311 per month due to rising prices.

Chipmakers have new headache, Russian export restrictions on rare gases

Chipmakers have been struggling to recover from pandemic-era supply chain bottlenecks that have reduced the global stocks of semiconductors needed for range of consumer products. The shortfall has been acutely felt by car manufacturers. 

Semiconductors, which account for the largest share of South Korean exports, were beginning to be affected in the Asian nation after truckers went on strike for eight days. Last week, the government agreed to extend a special minimum wage system to resume cargo shipments.

The lastest problem for the industry now comes from export restrictions imposed by Russian on rare gases including neon, argon and helium to “unfriendly” countries needed to made semiconductors. South Korean manufacturers keep a three month stockpile of the inert, or “noble” gases, so initially supplies won’t be disrupted.

Silver lining to a bear market, lower inflation

American household finances are being crushed under the weight of rising prices for food, fuel and other basic necessities. In order to tame the persistent inflation the Federal Reserve is moving aggressively to raise interest rates. The most recent on Wednesday was a 75-basis points hike, the first of such size since 1994.

Wall Street ended Friday with its worst week since March 2020 when covid-19 sent the US economy into a tailspin. The S&P 500 enetered bear market territory even before the central bank’s rate hike announcement, which investors fear could choke growth.

While the bear market is wiping out gains to retirement portfolios, it could have one upside, of sorts, they usually bring with them lower inflation.

Elon Musk says Dogecoin might be able to be used to buy merch

Tesla CEO Elon Musk, who is being sued for running a “pyramid scheme” by manipulating the price of Dogecoin, took to Twitter on Saturday to express his views on the cryptocurrency again.

In response to a tweet by Dogecoin’s co-creator Billy Markus on his desire people actually “use it for something,” Musk posted “Tesla and SpaceX merch, maybe more down the road.”

His musing about the digital coin in the past have sent its value surging including when he would consider accepting it for merchandise once before. It’s lost nearly 85 percent of its value since its peak in August last year.

Will Social Security recipients in the US receive an extra $200 a month?


Will Social Security recipients in the US receive an extra $200 a month?

Inflation not seen in four decades is taking a bite out of American household finances. None feel this more acutely than those who receive Social Security benefits. The shortfall, however, is not new and has been growing over several decades.

At the same time though, if nothing is done in Congress, Social Security beneficiaries could see their monthly payments cut thirteen years from now. A proposal by Democrats would address the issue for the recipients of Social Security benefits with a $200 monthly boost, while shoring up the program for the next 75 years.

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How can I check my Social Security payment amount?

The Social Security Adminstration (SSA) oversees a number of financial support programs, designed to support unemployed, disabled or vulnerable Americans and their families. The exact amount on offer for each recipient is based on a series of calculations related to their work history, personal situation and, in some cases, degree of disability. 

To check how much you could be entitled to receive, as well as carrying out various other functions, log in to your My Social Security online account…

$2,000 Child Tax Credit 2022: who is eligible for payment?


$2,000 Child Tax Credit 2022: who is eligible for payment?

The Child Tax Credit in 2022 will return to the conditions offered by the IRS before the American Rescue Plan expanded it. The amount of the credit is smaller, and eligibility is more restricted than last year under the rules which were established through the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA). These changes will be in effect through the 2025 fiscal year, if no action is taken by Congress to modify the credit before then.

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Will there be extra food stamps in June 2022 in California?


Will there be extra food stamps in June 2022 in California?

Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Payments (SNAP) provide an important form of financial support for households struggling to cover the cost of essentials, particularly vital with prices rising across the board and inflation pushing up grocery bills.

SNAP has been boosted by the federal government’s emergency status,  which provides additional funds to states. In April the Biden administration extended the national covid-19 public health emergency for a further 90 days, prolonging additional benefits.

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