October 2, 2023

HUGE new direct payments worth up to $3,200 are set to go out to thousands of Americans in just days.
Alaska passed a historic dividend program in June, combining the state's Permanent Fund with energy relief checks.
The first payment is $2,550, paying a dividend of Alaska's oil to their residents.
The second energy relief check is a one-time payment of $650 to offset inflation costs.
Alaskans will receive these two payments as a lump sum starting September 20.
Those opting out of direct deposits can expect their paper check after October 3.
Follow our live stimulus blog for more updates…
How homeowners can get relief
The National Council of State Housing Agencies has set up an interactive map to help you find your state or US territory and what kind of housing relief is being offered.
As one example, under California’s plan, eligible homeowners can receive up to $80,000.
According to the White House, at least 60 percent of the federal funds must be used on “low-income” homeowners.
Homeowner $10billion stimulus program
A $10billion homeowner assistance fund has been set up under the American Rescue Act to help struggling families across the country who are behind on their mortgages. 
A recent report from the White House revealed that 44 states and territories have made their programs available to applicants. 
The Treasury Department has approved all but two plans submitted by states. 
How to apply for a Pell Grant
To apply for a Pell Grant, you must submit an accurate Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form.
The form will be used by schools to determine eligibility for the grant and how much you can and will receive.
In order to maintain your eligibility for the Pell Grant, you will have to submit a FAFSA form each year you attend school, according to Federal Student Aid.
The moment you end your enrollment at an undergraduate establishment, you will no longer be eligible for federal aid.
Pell Grants explained
Pell Grants are “need-based aid that is intended to be the foundation for all need-based federal student aid awarded to undergraduates,” according to the Congressional Research Service.
The best part about Pell Grants is that they do not need to be repaid by the receivers – unlike infamous loans.
What are Pell Grants?
The Pell Grant has been awarded to students across the nation since 1973.
The federal aid program was authorized for postsecondary education students by Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965.
Up to $20k in student loan cancelation
Pell Grant recipients will see $20,000 canceled from their balance, and federal student loan borrowers who did not receive the Pell Grant will get $10,000 of their debt erased.
The forgiveness will be given to borrowers making less than $125,000 each year, President Biden revealed in a tweet.
To check if you qualify for $20,000 in forgiveness, you can log in to your FAFSA account and see if you received Pell Grants.
Student loan forgiveness eligibility for borrowers
Anyone with outstanding student debt who earns less than $125,000 annually qualifies for forgiveness, President Biden said on Twitter.
Biden campaigned on the promise of $10,000 in student loan relief and delivered on that pledge in August.
More than 43million Americans owe a total of $1.7trillion in student debt, according to the Federal Reserve.
“An entire generation is now saddled with unsustainable debt in exchange for an attempt at a college degree,” President Biden said.
“The burden is so heavy that even if you graduate, you may not have access to the middle-class life that a college degree once provided.”
Student loan payment freeze history, continued
In August 2021, the Biden Administration announced another loan extension and noted loans would be paused until January 31, 2022.
On December 22, 2021, the administration then announced that student loan repayment would be paused for another 90 days – until May 1, 2022.
Less than a month before the May 1 deadline, President Biden pushed back student loan payments until the end of August.
And in late August, as the deadline loomed once more, Biden pushed the freeze back until the end of the year.
According to the president, this will be the last extension of the repayment moratorium.
Borrowers should plan to resume payments in January 2023, the US Department of Education said in a statement.
History of student loan payment freeze
Under the CARES Act, student loan payments were originally set to restart on September 30, 2020.
The Trump Administration extended the deferment twice, through January 31, 2021.
Since taking office, President Biden has extended the payment freeze five times.
Within hours of becoming president, Biden pushed the deadline from January 31 to September 30, 2021.
Nationwide gas tax holiday remains unlikely
Despite the belief in the White House that the tax holiday would provide temporary relief, it’s unlikely to be passed in Congress.
The concept is “likely doomed,” according to Politico, as Democratic leaders in Congress are not as sold on the idea as President Biden.
While the federal holiday plan seems poised to fail, the move may ramp up pressure on states to provide gas relief or tax holidays.
White House pushes for gas tax suspension
In late June, President Joe Biden called on Congress to enact a federal gas tax holiday for three months to help Americans save money.
By enacting a gas tax holiday, Biden would suspend the 18.4 cents per gallon tax on every gas purchase nationwide.
For a small car with an average-sized 12-gallon tank, the tax freeze would mean savings of around $2.21 per tank.
Larger cars can hold roughly 15 gallons, meaning you can save upwards of $2.75 on a fill-up if you drive a big rig.
Lawmakers want to repeal 18.4 cent gas tax
The federal tax on a gallon of gasoline is 18.4 cents, according to the US Energy Information Administration.
In a press release, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf has asked Congress to repeal the tax through the end of 2022.
He was joined by Governors Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan, Jared Polis of Colorado, Michelle Lujan Grisham of New Mexico, and Tony Evers of Wisconsin.
Gas companies may face taxes on higher profits
“At $120 per barrel of oil, the levy would raise approximately $45billion per year,” Khanna told USA Today.
“At that price, single filers would receive approximately $240 each year and joint filers would receive roughly $360 each year.”
“If they avoid the tax, that’s less relief for the American public, but that means that their price will come down.”
However, Khanna said that the Democratic pair hasn’t gotten Republican representatives on board yet.
While this proposal may not succeed in Congress, the White House is considering imposing a windfall tax on oil and gas companies, per Reuters.
Many major oil producers have enjoyed record-high profits this year as gasoline prices soared.
Gas relief proposed for Americans
Democratic Senator Sheldon Whitehouse and Representative Ro Khanna have proposed a bill known as the Big Oil Windfall Profits Tax.
In the proposal, gas relief payments would be sent to lower-income Americans.
The funding would come from levying a per-barrel tax on major oil companies “equal to 50 percent of the difference between the current price of a barrel of oil and the pre-pandemic average price per barrel between 2015 and 2019,” a brief of the bill says according to Yahoo Finance.
Target’s tuition help
Target will also cover 100 percent of college tuition and textbook costs under certain conditions.
Employees are eligible for the program the day they start at Target, but it is only available at select schools.
Specifically, employees will have a choice between 250 programs at more than 40 schools.
And for those looking to maximize their education, Target will cover up to $10,000 each year at select Master’s programs.
46 cities and states offer universal basic income payments
UBI is a set of recurring payments that individuals get from the government.
They can be paid monthly, several times a year, or just once annually. 
Funding for guaranteed income can come from government or private sources.
While it’s unlikely another stimulus package will get passed on the federal level, some states and cities are sending UBI payments or guaranteed income to their citizens. 
The Sun rounded up more than 40 different examples of UBI, including in states like Alaska, Arizona, and Georgia.
Organizations advocate for UBI
The Gerald Huff Fund For Humanity, an organization that funds Universal Basic Income projects in San Francisco took to Twitter to advocate for their cause.
The organization clarified that stimulus checks are not equivalent to UBI and that they don’t hold the power of being “consistent, month after month” payments.
The account also claimed that UBI “empowers people to plan, to invest, to grow, to pursue happiness.”
Newark expands UBI pilot program
Thanks to Newark, New Jersey expanding its guaranteed income pilot program, 400 residents will now get payments for two years, the Sun reported last month.
The payments totaling $12,000 over two years will be given out in two ways.
Half of those participating in the program will get $250 on a biweekly basis, while the remaining 50 percent will get two payments of $3,000 each year, according to a statement by the city.
The residents in the program were selected after applying via an online portal, which was done in partnership with the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Guaranteed Income Research.
The residents were selected based on the following requirements:
UBI extended in CA town
Mountain View, California, recently received a $100,000 grant to continue its Universal Basic Income program, according to Mountain View Voice.
The program provides “extremely low-income” residents with incomes 30 percent below the median for the area with $500 monthly cash payments for at least one year.
166 families with at least one child under 18 will be chosen in a lottery this summer to receive UBI funds.
The Mountain View City Council will allocate $1.3 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds toward the program in its 2022-23 budget.
St. Paul Minnesota to expand guaranteed income
The city of St. Paul, Minnesota is expanding its experimental guaranteed income program, reports the Pioneer Press.
The People’s Prosperity Guaranteed Income Pilot was launched in November of 2020, with the help of $300,000 in federal coronavirus relief grants and $1.2 million from donors.
$150 families got $150 per month for a year and a half.
Now, 333 families with young kids will get $500 per month for two years.
2022 budget surplus, conclusion
Here are the remaining states that will distribute the surplus money: 
2022 budget surplus, continued
Here are the states that have or will share the budget surplus in the form of relief checks, tax rebates, or additional tax refunds:
2022 budget surplus
All 50 states had a budget surplus in 2022. 
At least 29 states had a surplus of over $1billion. 
Currently, 21 state legislatures have decided to send stimulus checks to their residents. 
Exciting tax rebates
Many Americans celebrated the approval of the Inflation Reduction Act which has multiple initiatives from health care to tax relief.
A key portion of this act includes tax credits and rebates for energy-efficient homeowners.
Those who opt for efficient heat pumps or alternative energies will receive a tax break or a rebate check, as Market Watch reported.
Pennsylvania governor pushes for more money 
Governor Tom Wolf is continuing to push for $2,000 direct payments to Pennsylvanians.
He is striving for $2,000 stimulus checks for many residents of the state, but the Republican-led general assembly continues to block Wolf’s plan.
Wolf made the call to action on Monday urging the Republicans to pass his PA Opportunity Program, so Pennsylvanians who make $80,000 or less can receive the $2,000 direct payment, as reported by PennLive.
Direct payments worth up to $750 to go out in weeks – see when to check your mail
Huge $3,200 direct payments to drop soon – see exact date you get yours
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