Ads by Google Ads by Google

New round of stimulus checks expected to go out next week

Gov. Lemanu Peleti Palepoi Sialega Mauga and Lt. Gov. Talauega Eleasalo Ale
ASG and StarKist concerned that worker shortage will continue to surge

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — The first round of the third federally-funded Economic Impact Payment (EIP) — or stimulus checks — which is $1,400 per qualified tax payer — is expected to be released next week, the first week of May.

Responding to Samoa News inquiries, Maryann Olo with the ASG Tax Office says the official dates of release for the third EIP checks are May 6th, May 13th and May 20th.

Those with mailing addresses will have their stimulus checks in the mail, while those without addresses, will be able to pick up their checks at the Treasury Disbursing Office. Another option is for a tax payer, expecting the stimulus check to receive it via direct deposit into their bank account.

ASG Treasury will soon be issuing an official statement with more details on the all options.

According to the US Internal Revenue Service, the 3rd EIP amount is:

•           $1,400 for an eligible individual with a valid Social Security number ($2,800 for married couples filing a joint return)

•           $1,400 for each qualifying dependent with a valid Social Security number or Adoption Taxpayer Identification Number issued by the IRS

Word of the third EIP being released next month kept social media busy last week after a local news outlet first reported on it and by late last week, a document about the EIP information was also posted by several residents and reposted by others on social media.

Local residents, who have been waiting for this large stimulus check were pleased, as the EIP document states that the release dates are: May 6 (just before Mother’s Day on Sunday), May 9,  May 13 and May 20.

The document also states the release of EIP will be based on the filing dates of the individual’s or couple’s tax returns and that each release will cover about 5,000 taxpayers.

When asked about the document, which was on Treasury Department letterhead, Olo — with the Tax Office — confirmed its authenticity saying that she prepared it for talking points ahead of appearing early last week on a local radio station morning talk show.

While the proposed planned release dates of the third EIP is applauded by tax payers, ASG officials as well as the Governor’s Office are highly concerned that workers — especially those at StarKist Samoa — are not going to show up to work after getting their stimulus checks.

Even more concerning, on the cannery-side, is the possibility of another drop in the number of workers showing up following the Mother’s Day weekend, as people will have that extra money from the stimulus checks.

ASG officials said last Friday that ASG Treasury is already working with the two local banks to ensure that there is sufficient cash on island when the EIPs are released. The officials also say that an “official statement” should be coming out soon from ASG Treasury on the third EIP.

Gov. Lemanu Peleti Palepoi Sialega Mauga and Lt. Gov. Talauega Eleasalo Ale have publicly urged residents not to quit their jobs but put the extra money to good use including savings.

Talauega told the cabinet meeting earlier this month that for the $1,400 stimulus check, a family of ten is expected to receive $14,000 while a family of five could receive $7,000.

“These monies for some of our families is huge, it can change their lives. But I worry that people are not... saving it, investing it. But instead are quitting their jobs, living off this $1,400 for however many days,” he said.

StarKist Samoa is already faced with a serious shortage of workers, such as fish cleaners, and has an ongoing advertising campaign to attract workers. The advertisement also says that if the person’s Immigration ID has expired, StarKist will work with the Immigration Office on this issue.