Stimulus checks were sent out to all eligible Americans in the second quarter of the year, but a judge from California says that not all could get the money they deserve.
Stimulus checks for inmates
For months, prison inmates across the United States have received confusing and conflicting information about whether they can legally receive federal coronavirus stimulus funds of $1,200. The Internal Revenue Service or IRS has not given a direct answer to this question.
A federal judge from California recently made clear that those behind bars are eligible for the $1,200 checks approved by Congress earlier this year. The stimulus package was part of the largest economic aid package in the history of the United States.
U.S. District Judge Phyllis Hamilton ruled the decision to exclude prison inmates as capricious and arbitrary. According to The Washington Post, the judge ruled in favor of two Californians who brought a class-action suit on behalf of other incarcerated people and those who were formerly incarcerated.
Hamilton found that nothing in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security or CARES Act prohibited prison inmates from receiving the relief funds, especially if they could file their income tax returns in 2018.
Last week, he laid out detailed instructions for the IRS to ensure that those eligible for the payments have the correct information, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Lisa Holder, a Los Angeles-based civil rights attorney, said that it is clear that the IRS is wrong and that they have to make these payments to incarcerated people.
Holder is one of the lawyers on the case on behalf of the Equal Justice Society. She added that the IRS has no viable legal argument, according to KTLA.
Who are eligible for stimulus checks?
Stimulus checks are given based on your adjusted gross income from your taxes. Still, it could be different per person based on whether you are a dependent, a single taxpayer, married, or an older adult or retiree.
Stimulus checks given to people are based on whether they are on SSDI or a U.S. citizen living abroad or a U.S. territory citizen.
Single taxpayers are eligible to receive $1,200, while married taxpayers are eligible to receive $2,400. An additional $500 are given per dependent as long as you declare them as your dependent on your taxes, regardless of your age.
This means that are not only children eligible, but also disabled relatives and senior citizens in your family that rely on you financially.
On October 9, the White House seeks to keep the definition of a dependent restricted to children but raises the value from $500 to $1000.
Few dependents were eligible for any money under the CARES Act. Dependents who are aged 16 and younger were given $500 as part of the family payment.
However, new proposals from Democrats and Republicans want to expand the dependent variable to include people of any age, which means college students, disabled relatives, and adult dependents.