More than 25 million lower-income Americans whose stimulus payments were delayed finally received them on Wednesday. And one group still waiting — certain veterans and their beneficiaries — can expect their payments to arrive next week, the Internal Revenue Service said.
The payments have been issued in groups, with the first batch landing in accounts on March 17. But many people who receive government benefits and don’t meet the income thresholds necessary to file a tax return hadn’t gotten money because the I.R.S. didn’t have the files needed to process their payments. They included Americans who receive benefits from Social Security, Supplemental Security Income, the Railroad Retirement Board and Veterans Affairs.
On Wednesday, 25 million delayed payments, worth about $36 billion, landed. The largest block, or $26 billion, went to more than 19 million Social Security beneficiaries, including those who receive retirement, survivor or disability benefits. Another three million payments, worth nearly $5 billion, went to Supplemental Security Income beneficiaries. And about 85,000, payments, or $119 million, went to Railroad Retirement Board beneficiaries.
Some Veterans Affairs beneficiaries are still waiting. But as long as no issues arise, nonfiling veterans and their beneficiaries who receive compensation and pension benefit payments can expect their money to land on April 14. The status of their payment should become available in the I.R.S.’s Get My Payment tool on Saturday or Sunday.
Wednesday’s batch also included more than one million payments to Americans who already received one in March but were eligible to receive a new or larger amount based on their 2020 tax return. Those so-called plus-up payments were valued at more than $2 billion.
Carnival Cruise Line, the largest cruise operator in the United States, said on Wednesday that it was optimistic that several of its U.S.-based lines would be up and running by July.
The announcement came a day after the company was forced to cancel its voyages through June 30 and threatened to take its ships out of U.S. ports. The industry has struggled to resume operations a year after the pandemic brought cruises to a halt.
“While we have not made plans to move Carnival Cruise Line ships outside of our U.S. home ports, we may have no choice but to do so in order to resume our operations,” Christine Duffy, the president of Carnival Cruise Line, said in a statement posted Tuesday on the company’s website.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that people avoid travel on cruises worldwide because of the high risk of contracting the coronavirus aboard ship. On Friday, it released conditional sail orders for cruise lines, including routine testing of crew members and simulated voyages to practice safety procedures.
“C.D.C. is committed to working with the cruise industry and seaport partners to resume cruising when it is safe to do so,” the agency said in a statement.
Carnival guests were given the option of a credit or a full refund for the canceled cruises.
Disney Cruise Line said on Tuesday that it would also suspend departures through June after reviewing the C.D.C. guidance. It also canceled sailings in Europe through Sept. 18.
Customers appear eager to sail again. Booking volumes for future Carnival cruises were about 90 percent higher in the first quarter of 2021 than in the previous quarter, “reflecting both the significant pent-up demand and long-term potential for cruising,” Arnold Donald, the chief executive of Carnival Corporation, the cruise line’s parent company, said in a statement on Wednesday.
Carnival reported that bookings for 2022 were ahead of bookings in 2019, adding that six of its nine brands are expected to resume limited guest cruise operations by the summer.
The company reported a net loss of $2 billion for the first quarter of 2021.
Federal Reserve officials took heart in a healing economy at their meeting last month, minutes released Wednesday showed, but inflation and the job market still fell far short of their goals, and policymakers continued to see “elevated” uncertainty around the growth outlook.
“Participants agreed that the path of the economy would depend significantly on the course of the virus,…