Strangely enough, 2022 was a tougher year for many than the peak years of the pandemic. Especially on the economic front. While both 2020 and 2021 were one of the worst since the Second World War, people in the low and moderate-income groups at least had the federal government backing them with stimulus checks.
The economic impact payments that came in at crucial stages helped them sustain their family through the pandemic and during the months of recession that followed. This was supplemented by other federal support measures including the Earned Income Tax Credits, the extension of the unemployment checks, and the expanded Child Tax Credit stimulus checks.
But all these support measures disappeared in 2022 even as the situation turned grim in the economy and prices started rising alarmingly. The situation started to worsen right from the last quarter of 2021. And right from the first quarter of 2022, the inflation rate rose to record levels and stayed above the 8% mark throughout the year until it eased a little at the end.
The post-pandemic years had seen a rise in wages across all sectors. But even the generous rise of around 3.5% was not enough to match the incredible rise in prices. It resulted in negative earnings for most low and moderate-income Americans and for the first time in decades, people were earning less than earlier in real terms.
The inflation rate touched 9.1% in June 2022, the highest since November 1981. The Biden administration was tied down by the refusal of the Republicans to cooperate on key issues linked to the stimulus checks. Even the popular expanded Child Tax Credit stimulus checks could not be sustained beyond 2021.
The monthly CTC stimulus checks had pulled millions of families with children out of poverty for the first time and the sudden stop in payments proved particularly difficult for them.
Fortunately, some states stepped in quickly in response to the call of citizens weary at the continuous rise in prices. For the first time since the initial weeks of the pandemic, before the first stimulus check payment came in, people were again finding it difficult to put food on the table and clear their rent and mortgage payments.
The states were helped by funds from the federal government under the American Rescue Plan Act. The act was signed by President Biden in March 2021, weeks after he came to power. The funds were given to states, local, and tribal bodies as part of the pandemic relief measures.
State Stimulus Checks Make A Difference In 2022
The states were also helped by excess funds thanks to the economic situation reviving in the latter half of 2021. Starting with Maine and New Mexico, close to 20 states sent out payments throughout 2022.
Several states timed their payments for the festive season in the last quarter of 2022. California was one such state that sent out its third round of payments. The Golden State gave out two rounds of payments immediately after the pandemic in 2021 under the Golden State stimulus check payments I and II.
As part of the inflation relief measures, California’s governor Gavin Newsom had initially planned on sending out gas debit cards to car owners for vehicles registered in the state. Families were to be given a maximum of two cards worth $400 each to compensate for the high price of gasoline, the highest in the country.
But Democratic Party legislators prevailed upon the governor to give out a third round of stimulus checks. Payments have been sent out between $200 and $1,050 to residents who have filed their 2020 California state income tax returns by October 15.
Claimants must also have been residents of the Golden State for 6 months or more of the 2020 tax year and not have been eligible to be claimed as a dependent in the 2020 tax year. The claimant must also e a resident of California on the date of the payment.
The payments were passed in June 2022 by Gov. Newsom, but the payment started only in October. The majority of the payments have gone out, though a small percentage were not set to be sent until mid-January. As the pending payments are going out as a debit card, postal delays will ensure that it will take at least 15 more days for the payments to reach beneficiaries. Thus, it would take the whole of January before the payments are cleared by the Franchise Tax Board of California.
Colorado approves stimulus checks of $750 for individual tax filers and doubles that amount for joint tax filers in 2022. Residents who filed their state income tax returns for 2021 on time received their payments in the last quarter. But a large section of residents filed for an extension and got an extra 6 months to file their returns. They may not get their stimulus check until late January 2023.
New Jersey is sending out stimulus funds in the form of property tax rebates. Households with an Adjusted gross Income of up to $150,000 are entitled to a rebate of $1,500 while that earning between $150,000 and $250,000 are entitled to $1,000. Renters also qualified for the rebate, which is worth $450 if their income is within an AGI of $150,000. The payments are scheduled to arrive in the first quarter of 2023 and recipients should get them in full by May 2023.
Idaho has approved a stimulus check which should be worth 10% of the income tax liability of residents for 2020, or $300 for individual filers and double that amount for joint filers. The state however is not sending out the money till the end of the first quarter of 2023.
Pennsylvania approved inflation relief payments of a maximum of $650 in 2022. But some residents qualify for supplemental rebates that could bring in around $975. Such payments will go out to aged renters, disabled residents, and homeowners. Residents had to claim the money by the end of 2022 and the associated payments will go out in 2023.
South Carolina is among the states that will continue to send out payments in 2023. Residents who filed their returns before the deadline on October 17, 2022, should have received their stimulus checks. But residents who filed after the deadline should find their payment delayed till the first quarter of 2023. But they should have filed their returns by February 15, 2023.