USA finance and payments: news summary 9 May – AS USA

Biden to give speech on Tuesday outlining "his plan to fight inflation and lower costs for working families"
– Average price of a gallon of  gasoline jumps 13 cents to just under $4.33 per gallon, approaching high set in March
– Democrats push for another Child Tax Credit expansion 
– Department of Education offers repayment waiver for public servants that could help more than 110,00 borrowers qualify for student loan forgiveness
– Unemployment holds steady at 3.6 percent in April, with the economy adding over 428,000 jobs
– President Biden considers offering student loan debt forgiveness for anyone making less than $125,000-a-year
Initial unemployment claims hit 200,000 for the first time since March
– Congressional action on gas stimulus checks and/or tax rebates stall as crude oil prices begin to spike once again
– What is the averageSocial Security payment?
– What other benefits can those on Social Security apply for?
A guide to EBT cards: New York and California
What does the Democrats’ proposed extension of the Child Tax Credit have to pass?
What are the income limits for student loan forgiveness?
Child Tax Credit 2022: what changes will there be in the new tax season?
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More than 110,000 people can benefit from student loan forgiveness
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Who has the cheapest electricity rates in Texas?
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Stimulus check gas: proposals and what could happen with them
$2,000 Child Tax Credit 2022: who is eligible for payment?
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$850 Check: When will it arrive, and who is eligible?
What other benefits can I get with Social Security disability?
Need help tracking your IRS tax refund?
Using the IRS' Where's My Refund tool, tax payers can identify when they can expect when they will receive their refund. For those who provided direct deposit information to the tax agency and submitted their return electrically, distributing the refund typically takes around twenty-one days.
To use the tool you will need to provide (a) your Social Security Number, (b) your tax filing status, and (c) the amount you are expecting to receive.

Well, we’ve seen the impact of President Putin’s invasion of Ukraine here in the United States.  We’ve seen, in our own economy, how inflation and an inflationary data over the last several weeks or even months has been impacted a great deal by energy prices.  And a great deal of that is because of President Putin’s invasion.

I don’t have an assessment from here on the European economy other than to say we know — if we look at the past several months, even before the invasion — that the GDP here and our economic growth here was higher than the rest of the world, including Europe, because of the strength of the steps the President took earlier last year.
What are the main reasons for the fall in cryptocurrency prices according to experts?
Bitcoin saw its fifth consecutive session in negative territory on Monday dropping below $31,000 for the first time since July 2021. The declining valuation of the world’s largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization has been joined by other digital coins alongside US equity markets.
Experts think that if Bitcoin goes below $30,000, it could fall to around $25,000 as more investors cut their losses and run seeking shelter in more secure assets. The woes of the crypto market have to do with its volatility as Wall Street tumbles and questions about its future wider adoption as well as possible new regulations.
Read more on the price collapse in our full coverage.
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What are the biggest bitcoin price drops in history?
While 2021 was the year of cryptocurrency, it does not appear that the trend will continue into 2022. Bitcoin lost six percent of its value today. Since November, the price has fallen from a record high of $64,000 to just over $31,000. Largely, concerns over the stability of the cryptocurrency market has led to loses across the sector.
Read our full coverage to find out more on the massive investor sell-off of Bitcoin.
Nearly 40 percent of US households eligible for low- or no-cost high-speed internet
On Monday, President Biden announced that 20 internet providers, including AT&T, Comcast and Verizon, have made commitments to participate in the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) agreeing to provide high-speed service to eligible households for no more than $30 per month. Roughly 80 percent of Americans live in communities where these providers operate.
The program also provides eligible households $30 per month off their internet bills, so families can receive high-speed internet at no cost when paired together.
Consumers can check whether they qualify for discounted service at the Affordable Connectivity Program website, or by calling (877) 384-2575.
What are the properties with the highest mortgage rates in the USA?
How much you pay for your mortgage comes down to the risk the lender is taking on to provide you with the financing that you will need to acquire your dream. If you are investing in property to generate rental income or a vacation home, you can expect to pay more than if you’re buying a primary residence.
Likewise, if your home purchase is in an area that is considered risker due to redlining hangover from the past, the interest rate you pay could also be more elevated. Here’s a look at the difference between mortgage rateswhen buying property.
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More than 110,000 people can benefit from student loan forgiveness
Changes to the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program may allow more than 110,000 to qualify for loan cancellation. The changes relate to the number of payments that must be made before forgiveness becomes an option for public servants.
The Department of Education released a waiver in October 2021, that makes “any prior period of repayment […] count as a qualifying payment, regardless of loan program, repayment plan, or whether the payment was made in full or on time.” This means that even if a borrower has not been making payments during the forbearance period, the months can still form part of the “120 qualifying payments.”
Read our full coverage for more details.
Saudi Arabia lowers price of crude oil to Asia and Europe
According to a pricing document released on Sunday by Saudi Arabia’s oil producer Aramco, June shipments of its Arab Light crude grade will be lowered. The price decease will affect oil destined for Asia and Europe, while the benchmark sold in the United States remained unchanged from May.
Asia saw the price of Saudi oil hit an all-time high last month as the world’s top oil exporter raised prices for all regions. Fears of disruption in Russian oil and gas supplies due to bans and sanctions imposed on the country after Vladimir Putin ordered an invasion of Ukraine have caused jitters in international energy markets.
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Cedars-Sinai workers go on strike Monday
Hundreds of workers at Cedars-Sinai, citing employee and patient safety concerns, low wages and short-staffing, walked off the job and went on strike on Monday. The union SEIU-UHW, which is representing the workers accuses Cedars-Sinai of a series of unfair labor practices. Included among those striking are clinical support workers, environmental service workers and food service workers.
The union, which represents around 14 percent of Cedars-Sinai workers, has been bargaining over their new labor contract with the hospital system since March. Despite the stirke the medical center will remain open and fully operational during the strike as nurses, physicians and researchers are not part of the union.
What are the income limits for student loan forgiveness?
President Biden’s campaign pledge to cancel up to $10,000 in student loan debt for Americans may be getting closer. Although the specifics of who exactly would benefit from the action have not been presented, he has said that he’ll lay out his plan in a couple weeks.
However, his press secretary Jen Psaki told press aboard Air Force One that the president is “taking steps or looking at steps to help people making less than $125,000 a year.” Despite a constant push from members of his party, Biden has reiterated that he is not willing to cancel $50,000 in student loan debt as has been urged.
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What has been the increase in the price of gas in 2022?
There's more bleak news for motorists today as AAA announced that the average price of a gallon of gasoline in the United States has risen to $4.31, just two cents short of the all-time record. That peak was reached back in March when a confluence of factors pushed the average price to $4.33, hurting consumers and industries alike and contributing to the high rate of inflation seen across the country.
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"There’s no question that inflation and high prices are a challenge for families across the country, and fighting inflation is a top priority for me.
"The continued strength of our job market and the savings that families have built up over the last year means that our economy faces the challenges of covid-19, Putin’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, and global inflation from a position of strength."
Fuel prices continue to rise
The cost of crude oil has been pushedup by a number of factors, but the consequence has had even more pronounced effects on the cost of gasoline in the United States. Earlier this year the average price of a gallon of gasoline reached the all-time high of $4.33, before dipping slightly. However on Monday it was confirmed that the price had risen back to $4.31. This will not only effect drivers, but also contributes to the nationwide surge in inflation which is hurting consumers. 
Who has the cheapest electricity rates in Texas?
Are you looking for the best energy deals in Texas? The Lone Star State lives up to its name with an electrical grid that is separate from the rest of the nation's, meaning that residents can often be subjected to more dramatic price swings. With the cost of energy soaring across the country, we take a look at where to find the cheapest electricity rates in Texas…
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What is the average prices of gasoline in the US?
Gas prices have been a major bone of contention in recent months and the combination of high inflation and the ongoing sanctions against Russian fuels have pushed the average price of a gallon of gasoline to recrod heights. Over the past two weeks the costs had lowered slightly but there is more pain on the pump for consumers as the prices creep back up to just two cents short of the historic record. 
GOP members criticise Biden's response to inflation
In the early months of his presidency, Joe Biden passed a huge stimulus bill known as the American Resue Plan to kick-start the economic recvoery and provide much-needed support to Americans. Included in the package were stimulus checks and the boosted Child Tax Credit, both of which were shown to have sparred tens of millions of Americans from financial hardship. 
However the flip-side of that historic spending spree is the period of dangerously high inflation that first came about in the second half of 2021. President Biden's policies poured money into the American economy and pushed up prices across the board, hurting the buying power of consumers. 
Should President Biden forgive stuent loan debt?
As pressure mounts on President Biden to forgive student loan debt, some critics say there could be immense economic consequences. There are certainly benefits to debt cancellation, however, some believe that this will not help the poorest people in the US because they may have not gone to college.
The response from supporters is that this is one way to lower the debt burden on society so that people can be more innovative, and perhaps start a new business, which could lead to greater employment and thus motivate virtuous economic cycles. There are also concerns over inflation in that some people would have a cushion each month that would allow them to spend more money.
However, what these critisms miss is that while an argument can and should be made that the situation of the poorest Americans must be addressed, that does not mean that student loan cancellation is not a possibly benefiicial idea for the US economy.
Child Tax Credit 2022: what changes will there be in the new tax season?
The federal Child Tax Credit has underwent a dramatic revamp in 2021 when the program was boosted to provide monthly direct payments for the first time. However, in the face of complete GOP opposition to President Biden and Democrats’ Build Back Better plan, and lacking the crucial 50th vote from Senator Joe Manchin to pass the legislation in the Senate, the powerful anti-poverty measure expired.
The program is still on offer this year, but with different terms. We take a look at what you can expect from the CTC…
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How can I avoid IRS late fees?
The majority of taxpayers managed to file their 2021 tax returns on time, by the end of April the IRS had received over 20 million more than at the same time last year. However, there were still around 28 million fewer returns than were received by December last year. 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. 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.
How can you stop high inflation?
High inflation is a major issue in the United States for millions of Americans, pushing up the price of essentials and hurting consumers' buying power. The Federal Reserve will begin to tighten the economy by raising interest rates. CNBC takes a deep dive into the question of inflation and spoke with financial experts to see how the central bank can combat inflation without pushing the economy into a recession.
EU's Russian energy ban pushes up the price of gasoline and oil
Last week the European Union (EU) announced plans to ban imports of Russian gas and oil within six months, tightening the economic sanctions against Moscow. In order for the motion to be adopted all twenty-seven members states must agree. At this point it does not seem likely to pass with Hungary's Viktor Orbán likening the idea to an "atomic bomb."
After the announcement was made, crude oil prices hit $111, a sign that further sanctions could drive prices up even higher as EU member states scramble to find new energy markets.
Hello and welcome to AS USA
Welcome to our dedicated financial news live feed, bring you all the latest on the rising price of gasoline, continued high inflation and the prospect of a return to Child Tax Credit payments in the future. 
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