People all around the country are eagerly awaiting the coronavirus stimulus checks that are part of the coronavirus relief package passed by Congress in March. Some people will be waiting a long time for their checks to come. For others, the check won’t come at all.
Many Americans actually aren’t eligible for the coronavirus stimulus checks. And most of the people who aren’t eligible are in the most vulnerable populations.
Who’s slipping through the cracks and why? Here’s everything you need to know.
Anybody who is claimed as a dependent on someone else’s taxes is not eligible to receive their own coronavirus stimulus check. The person who claims them as a dependent will receive the $500 stimulus check that applies to all dependents.
There are two major problems with this. First, the check for dependents is $700 less than the check for adults. Second, the check may not ever get to the person who is claimed as a dependent if it’s being given to the person claiming them.
Though dependents are often children under 18, this isn’t always true. College students, disabled folks, elderly folks living with their kids, and medically vulnerable folks are often claimed as dependents by other people. In that case, they won’t receive their own checks, even if they are financially independent of the people claiming them.
For some reason, the coronavirus relief bill says that the check for dependent children only applies to children under 17 years old. 17 and 18-year old teenagers aren’t eligible for their own check unless their parents don’t claim them as dependents and they’ve filed their own taxes.
Since most 17 and 18-year olds are still being claimed as dependents by their parents, but their parents aren’t eligible for the $500 check for them, neither the teenager or their parent will receive a stimulus check.
“It seemed crazy to me that 17- and 18-year-olds won’t get this. We’re losing our jobs, too” https://t.co/EnamfZ6uHi
— Bethany Lilly (@bethanylilly) April 1, 2020
To receive the coronavirus stimulus check, people don’t have to be American citizens, but they do need to have a Social Security Number. So, people who have green cards and certain kinds of work visas will be eligible for the stimulus checks.
People who live in the United States but are not legal residents, people who are temporarily in the country for work, and immigrants who came to the country outside of the legal immigration process will not be eligible for stimulus checks.
People in these populations are some of the most economically vulnerable in the country. They often take under the table, cash only jobs that they’ve likely lost due to the pandemic, and without the stimulus check or unemployment, they’ll have no source of income.
#THREAD: There's a humanitarian crisis brewing in DC.
The industries where so many immigrants work have been decimated, causing thousands of workers to be laid off.
— GU Kalmanovitz (@GeorgetownKILWP) April 3, 2020
Eligibility for the coronavirus stimulus check is based on a person’s 2019 tax return. People who made over $99,000 in 2019 aren’t eligible for the stimulus check even if their income has significantly changed in 2020.
So, people who lost their jobs in 2020 and have been unemployed for a significant amount of time will not be receiving a stimulus check. Even if they have no source of income currently, because of their 2019 tax return, they’re not eligible.
Though the stimulus checks will help millions of Americans survive these difficult times, many Americans will still slip through the cracks.