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Friday, December 9, 2022

Live Updates Of USA Finance And Payments: Contributory Programs, Tax Deadlines, Gas Stimulus Checks, Child Tax Credit Portal

Lawmakers are currently accusing several oil companies of gouging prices after the prices of oil dropped but the prices of gasoline didn’t follow suit. The price of crude oil jumped to approximately $140 for each barrel after Russia was sanctioned for attacking Ukraine but has then dropped to $100 per barrel. The prices of gasoline peaked at $4.33/ gallon in March in the US, and are still as high as $4.16, as of Wednesday.

Exxon has stated that it will register its highest quarterly profits in 7 long years on Monday of $9.3 billion.

Who Will Benefit From These Contributory Programs?

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We can see a wide range of programs, offered by the federal government, which is designed to support the citizens financially.

When we combine these efforts, these programs comprise the social safety net, which includes several programs to insulate the citizens from financial problems and hardships.

Forbes mentioned in a report that the big “three”, Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, account for around 48% of the entire annual federal budget.

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Entitlement programs can be split into two groups based on their funding models: contributory and non-contributory. The former requires individuals to pay into the program to be eligible to receive the benefits at a later date; while the latter is available to all eligible Americans, without requiring prior payment.

What Are The Contributory Entitlement Programs?

Social Security, Medicare, and Unemployment Insurance comprise the contributory entitlement programs and require the receiver to have contributed to it, in the form of taxes.

All working citizens will have to participate in said programs and will then be eligible to receive the fruits of it, later down the line. 

Social Security, Medicare, and Unemployment Insurance provide support and aid to the Americans who are no longer employed due to their age, disabilities, or the loss of work, which had previously been present.

The Non-contributory programs or “welfare” do not require their receivers to have contributed to it. It does not depend on their work history and Americans and certain legal aliens are able to claim support from the government.

These programs include refundable tax credits (Earned Income Tax Credit), Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP), Housing Assistance, Supplemental Security Income, and Pell Grant for students.

How Much Do These Programs Cost Every Year?

Even though the recipients had contributed financially, it does not necessarily mean that the contributory programs do not come with financial baggage for the government. These programs rank among the most expensive expenditures of the federal government.

In 2020 Social Security cost the government $1.1 trillion, making it the largest form of federal spending and responsible for 16.7% of the entire budget. Defense spending was a close second costing $1 trillion.

Medicare cost around $776 billion in 2020, while unemployment insurance was $475 billion. In short, although contributory programs do require recipients to have paid into them to be eligible for the support, they still receive a huge amount of funding from the federal government.

Barack Obama joined hands with President Joe Biden on Tuesday to announce the improvement of The Affordable Care Act (ACA).

The administration under Biden took necessary steps to improve Barack Obama’s signature legislative achievement and upgrade the ACA “family glitch”.

The rule blocked millions of citizens, who receive health care through a family member’s work policy, from qualifying for assistance with coverage.

How And Where Can You Apply For The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Programs?

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, better known as SNAP, is a federal program to help families with low income and individuals purchase food using Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards in authorized stores.

Millions of people have enrolled in the program after the pandemic wreaked havoc on the livelihood of several Americans. The SNAP benefits provided help to the people in their time of need. Inflation is set to increase further, as per the Central banks.

At the back end of last year, the Federal Reserve had described the high inflation as transitory, but the war in Ukraine and its fallout could entrench inflation in economies around the world.

Put that aside and know that applying for SNAP benefits is quite complex for 2022. There is no infrastructure for a central website and the path to get these benefits can be only obtained through your telephone.

How Can You Apply?

The SNAP program is administered by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service program, but each state has its own application form. It is advised not to call the USDA or the US Health and Human Services headquarters, as only states handle applications and determine eligibility.

The Americans who are eligible and want to apply for the same need to get in touch with their local SNAP office. The USDA provided a national map wherein people could find their state’s local office phone number or webpage so that they could sign up and get their EBT (Electronic Benefits Transfer) card.

You can also find the contact info in telephone books on the local government pages. The Applicants need to look under the headers of  “Food Stamps,” “Social Services,” “Human Services,” “Public Assistance,” or some other similar title.

You can get more information on it by visiting the USA gov website, which has more links for food insecurity help.

How Much Can You Receive And Who Is Eligible?

You can be eligible for the SNAP payments on the basis of 3 criteria.

The recipients must have their maximum gross monthly income at or under 130% of the federal poverty level, which can be found on these Federal Poverty Guidelines Charts. 

To receive SNAP payments most claimants may not exceed $2,250 in countable resources or money stored in bank accounts.

The Claimants must also be available to work.

As per the data provided by the USDA on January 7, 2022, SNAP paid on average $243.42 per person and $460.64 per household. 

For families of 4 members living in the 48 contiguous US states, including the District of Columbia, the maximum allocation for the year will be $835. 

For the other states and US territories, information can be seen here.

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