Who qualifies for the new $600 stimulus payments? 


January 5, 2021

Just days after Christmas, some Americans awoke to a nice surprise: the new $600 stimulus payments had begun to show up in their bank accounts via direct deposit. 

While smaller than some advocates had hoped for, in some ways, this stimulus program was superior to the $1,200 checks approved by Congress last spring. One reason why: unlike what was passed last time around, mixed status families are now eligible for the payments – not only that, but they retroactively qualify for the $1,200 payments that were denied them last time. 

The National Immigrant Law Center applauded this development in a statement. “While the last COVID-19 package cruelly and unnecessarily denied direct payments to millions of immigrant workers and taxpayers as well as U.S. citizens in ‘mixed-status families,’ we applaud the inclusion of 3.5 million people in mixed-status families in the new payments as well as a retroactive fix to the CARES Act exclusion that will allow some of these same mixed-status families to receive urgently needed economic relief,” said Marielena Hincapié, Executive Director of the National Immigration Law Center.  

Left out of the package, however, are millions of immigrant workers, adult dependents (including many in long-term care facilities) and additional millions of college students and 18-year-old high school seniors who are claimed as dependents on their parents’ tax returns. 

If the IRS does not have bank account information for tax filers but has street addresses, it will mail the payments.  People receiving Social Security, SSDI, SSI, Railroad Retirement and Veterans benefits will have their payments added to their income from these sources.  But others whose incomes are too low to owe federal taxes can file a simple form to receive payment, starting in late January.  Service providers, church and community organizations can help by letting people know how they can receive these payments. 

Want to learn more about who qualifies for the new stimulus relief? The House Ways and Means Committee has released this handy guide. We encourage activists, allies, community leaders, and others to share and distribute it far and wide!