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Friday, January 27, 2023

Stimulus Checks: Will The Holiday Season Bring Fresh Ones?

The holiday season is a month when families’ expenses hit the roof, and it is going to be way more difficult than normal for families, especially in the low and moderate-income categories. Inflation has ensured that many purchases normally associated with the festive season are outside the purchasing power of most Americans.

Inflation has scuttled the plans of many Americans and many Americans have been left wondering if they will ever get a federal stimulus check to tide over the crisis. But the political gridlock in Washington that has been complicated after the Republicans wrested control of the House will make it impossible for the Biden administration to consider further fiscal measures to support American households.

States Move In With Stimulus Checks To Replace Federal Support

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Close to 21 states have moved in with stimulus checks to compensate for the loss of federal stimulus checks in 2022. The states have authorized stimulus checks to compensate residents for the high cost of inflation through direct transfers, paper checks through the US postal service, debit cards, gas and transit cards, relief from sales tax on specific items, especially gasoline, and tax rebates.

Some of the money is scheduled for the last quarter of 2022 and residents in several states will be getting their stimulus checks this festive season in December.

The following payments are scheduled for December 2022. The biggest of them all is the California Middle-Class Tax Rebate which was signed way back in June 2022 by Governor Gavin Newsom but was paid only in the last quarter of 2022.

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The first of the payments went out at the end of the first week of October, 2022 and began reaching residents within a few days as these payments were direct transfers. The initial payments went to residents who received any of the two rounds of the Golden State Stimulus Check. residents who filed their state income tax returns for 2020 online also received their stimulus checks through direct transfer to their bank account.

Many residents are also complaining about the debit card that has been used to send tax refunds to low and middle-income taxpayers who filed on paper instead of online. Millions of residents have received those cards through the US postal service but many there have complained about the debit cards.

Many Californians have complained that the cards seem like a scam as it is full of restrictions and fees. Since it is a tax refund, residents are complaining about fees that are being charged to access the cars. They have asked the reason behind the cards coming from New York and some have even questioned the legitimacy of the cards.

Residents have complained that the Middle-Class Tax Rebate debit cards have come in some instances from a Nebraska address. They fear that it could be some sort of scam. The New York address also put off some residents as they feared that they were being scammed.

But despite the apprehension, officials have explained that they are unfounded and the cards are loaded with the state tax refund amount of between $200 and $1,050. Millions of similar refunds through debit cards are going out to Californians right now and will partially help ease the pressure of inflation.

These one-off payments start from $200 for an individual Adjusted Gross Income of $250,000 in 2020. For individual AGI less than $75,000, the amount comes to $350 per individual.

The middle tier brings in $250 for individual filers with an AGI for 2020 that is between $75,001 and $125,000. For all three tiers, the amount doubles in the case of joint filers while the limit is also double that for individuals.

In all three categories, an extra amount equal to the one given to the filer will be given to dependents., the amount is fixed, irrespective of the number of dependents.

Stimulus Check Debit Card Rules And Charges Trouble Residents

Residents are bothered by the lengthy rules that run into 4 pages and other restrictions and potential fees. Additionally, there is an elaborate agreement for cardholders. Do residents say that if it is a tax rebate why should they bear any charges? The presence of the issuing bank in New York is also causing apprehension for many residents.

Some have even alleged that it could be a scam as much personal information is being collected for debit card beneficiaries. Officials say the genuine card has a return address in Omaha, Nebraska. And the genuine card can only be activated by calling 1-800-240-0223.

Any other number should not be called or received even if the caller says that it is linked to the card. And when you call the number, you will be directed to enter the last 6 digits of your Social Security Number.

Once the card is activated, it is necessary to look out for any fees chargeable. For each withdrawal at a non-network ATM, including those at major banks, the charges come to $1.25. The same charge applies to over-the-counter cash at a bank.

But there are no charges applicable at A Money Network ATMs that are generally located at drug stores and groceries. It is also free if beneficiaries use the cards directly for shopping. But most residents would have preferred a paper check as they are more comfortable just depositing the amount in their bank.

Residents say that the cards are a scam by the banks to make millions out of the money of low-income groups. The location of the bank far away in New York is also a major cause of objection for money. The Money Network of Georgia has charged $25 million for the debit cards to be sent to around 11 million residents. The bank in New York is a partner.

Colorado, Idaho, and Illinois are other states that continue to send out state stimulus checks to counter high inflation. Adults in Colorado received a $750 stimulus check as individuals if they were residents of the state in 2021 and filed their income tax returns for Colorado in 2021. Joint filers received $1,500.

Idaho gave $300 to individual filers and double that to joint filers, or 10% of the income tax they paid in 2020, whichever is greater.

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