Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Stimulus checks extend to spouses and children of immigrants

Mixed-status households with immigrants in their families may now be eligible for stimulus checks under a $900 billion coronavirus relief package that went into effect this week.

Up until now, US citizens and permanent residents who filed a joint tax return with an undocumented spouse were excluded from stimulus funding. Children of undocumented immigrants were also ineligible. The March 2020 CARES Act departed from practices in  other federal programs that permit US citizen children of undocumented immigrants to receive benefits -- for example,  the child tax credit, food stamps, housing assistance, welfare -- if they otherwise qualify. (A lawsuit challenging the March 2020 relief bill is pending.)

With the new legislation, which passed with bipartisan support, they will receive a check for $600, as well as $600 per dependent child, comparable to other families. The expanded eligibility would impact an estimated 16.7 million people who live in mixed-status households nationwide, including US citizens as well as legal permanent residents and DACA recipients.

The law also allows households with at least one family member who has a Social Security number to retroactively receive checks for up to $1,200 and an additional $500 per child under the last round of stimulus relief. But many undocumented immigrants and other taxpaying noncitizens who do not have a Social Security number are still barred from receiving stimulus checks under the law.



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