It has been a roller-coaster ride for citizens these past two years as the pandemic hit the shores of America. While the three rounds of stimulus checks from the federal administration and a host of other measures including the enhanced child tax credit stimulus check took care of the pandemic period in some measure, the end of 2021 saw relief measures drying up as Congress got gridlocked in political machination.
The first quarter of 2022 saw killer inflation that has drastically slowed down the recovery that was seen in 2021. Inflation was 7.5% higher in January 2022 than in 2021 as more than $20B was pumped directly into the economy through stimulus checks and other relief measures. It rose to a stunning 8.5% in March and has stayed above the 8% mark leaving the economy lurching through another crisis. it is the highest rate seen in 40 years.
While the stimulus checks and recovery acts were necessary to ward off a total economic collapse, the infusion of excess money to spend on the same services and goods led to a rise in prices.
The trade-off was that we put citizens at risk because of the inflation that we are now facing. It was inevitable. Now the Federal Reserve has to pull the reins back a bit. But they need to go slow as moving too quickly to actually lead to a recession.
While unemployment during the pandemic was up to 14%, in reality, it was closer to 17%, a number that could be considered a depression. And it could be a year before things stagger back to normal again.
States Step In As Federal Stimulus Checks Dry Up
With no federal plans on the horizon, states have moved in swiftly cutting across party lines. More than a dozen states have already moved toward legislative measures to protect their residents.
California, Indiana, Delaware, Illinois, and Maine could be sending stimulus checks to their residents within this month.
While Americans cannot count on being paid any further federal funds, it was time for states to move in. Most states are flush with funds from receiving federal aid during the pandemic and also an unexpected economic recovery in 2021.
Residents of these 4 states can anticipate additional stimulus checks in the final week of May or in early June.
Residents of California can expect funds due under a couple of packages passed by Governor Gavin Newsom last year. The Golden State Stimulus I and II went to residents of California who filed their taxes through the ITIN or received the state’s Earned Income Tax Credit to meet the requirements for a single payment worth $600 or $1,200. Residents did not have to take further steps than filing their tax returns on time.
Under part two of the scheme, payments of between $500 and $1,100 were paid either as a direct paper check or through bank transfers to those who filed their tax returns for 2020 by October 15 the following year.
Residents were also required to have an income (AGI) of between $1 and $75,000. They also should have earned below $75,000 in the tax year 2020.
Residents are also required to live in California for over 6 months in 2020 and should also be a resident of California on the date it is paid. They also should not be claimed as dependents by a second taxpayer. Several residents of California will be entitled to either payment.
To help people affected by inflation, California has proposed further measures in the form of a gas card that will give $400 per car to families subject to a maximum payment for two cars. A substantial amount is also to be set aside to ensure free transportation for residents of California.
Delaware will send a tax rebate worth $300 to single income tax filers and a couple filing jointly should receive double that amount. This reimbursement is only open to residents who have filed their 2020 income tax returns but also to residents who do not have sufficient earnings to warrant a tax return.
India has gone for a single stimulus check that is a tax refund to eligible residents of the state. Single tax filers can expect a single reimbursement check of $125, while married couples who file jointly may receive $250.
People who have filed their state taxes before January 3 this year are also eligible. People who do not have their bank details given to the tax authorities will have to wait for weeks to get a paper check through the US Postal Service. It will be late summer before they receive their stimulus check.
Chicago Has Its Own Set Of Stimulus Support Through Transit And Gas Cards
Illinois has firmed plans t release state stimulus checks to around 90% of income tax filers in the state. The amount to be paid out is in the range of $50-$400 and will depend on the earnings of the resident. Residents of Chicago who qualify can expect to get early stimulus support as prepaid transit and gas cards.
The Chicago Moves site has revealed that the city authorities will issue around 50,000 gas cards worth $150 and another 100,000 transit cards worth $50 to qualifying residents of Chicago.
To qualify for this stimulus check, one should be a permanent resident of the city and above 18 years old. They must also have a current city number that gives an accurate mailing address that is linked to the vehicle. This is for gas card applicants only.
Eligible recipients must also have a total household income that is at or lower than 100% of the median income of the area. The application process for the stimulus support started in the last week of April. The cards will be distributed every month through September of this year.
Out of the total cards, 75% will target residents who face the highest mobility issue. A lottery will determine the rest of the recipients and will be conducted in the 2nd week of every month.
Applicants can go to the Chicago Moves website to apply for the card. Even as the nation drags itself up, every cent of stimulus check will help residents, regardless of the source of the income.