Immigrant Families: What You Need to Know About The Second Round of Stimulus Payments

Updated January 4, 2021

On December 27, 2020, Trump signed the Consolidated Appropriations bill for Fiscal Year 2021 which included a second round of stimulus payments. This bill expands the previous IRS-issued payments in early 2020, authorized as part of the CARES Act. While mixed-status families are now eligible for the stimulus payments, millions of undocumented workers are still excluded from receiving the economic relief they deserve.

Quick facts:

  • Mixed immigration status families are now included in the second round of stimulus payments and should receive a tax credit for the payment they were not eligible for last year.
  • At least one parent must have a work-eligible Social Security number to qualify.
  • Undocumented workers and their children, even those who are U.S citizens, continue to be left out of the economic relief they deserve.

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?

The new bill provides for a one-time payment of $600 for each qualifying adult and child under 17 years of age. Individuals with an adjusted gross income (AGI) at or below $75,000 ($112,500 for heads of household), and couples with an AGI at or below $150,000, are eligible for the full payment. Individuals and couples with higher income levels may be eligible for reduced payments (reduced by $5 for each $100 the AGI exceeds the above thresholds). The CARES Act, signed earlier in 2020, provided each qualifying adult a $1,200 payment and an additional $500 payment for each qualifying child.

WHO DOES THIS APPLY TO?

Unlike the CARES Act, the new bill expands immigrant eligibility for these payments to include families with mixed immigration status who were previously excluded. Under the new bill, all adults who file taxes using work-eligible Social Security numbers (SSNs) are eligible for the payment(s) for themselves and for any children who also have SSNs. The previous CARES Act not only disqualified individuals who lacked SSNs, but entire families if either or both adults who jointly filed taxes filed with an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) instead of a SSN. The expansion applies retroactively, meaning that newly-eligible families are entitled to the new payments as well as a tax credit for the payments they were not eligible for last year. Unfortunately, if neither parent files taxes using a SSN, the new bill still excludes their children, even if they are U.S. citizens.

WHEN AND HOW WILL THE IRS ISSUE PAYMENTS?

The IRS, using existing data, began issuing the new payments at the end of December and will continue through the first two weeks of January. If the IRS has an individual’s direct deposit information, that individual should receive payment through a direct deposit. Otherwise, an individual should receive payment as a check or debit card in the mail. If an individual didn’t receive last year’s CARES Act payment because they were ineligible or were eligible, but didn’t receive the payment for any other reason, that individual can claim the amount as a credit when they file their 2020 taxes.

WHAT HAPPENS TO INDIVIDUALS NOT REQUIRED TO FILE TAXES?

Individuals with little or no taxable income will be able to file a tax return for the 2020 tax year, through the IRS Free File Program, to receive their payment.

JOIN US IN PROTECTING ALL WORKERS

Our heroes on the frontlines of the COVID-19 crisis are our healthcare workers, cashiers, janitors, airport workers and more—many of whom are immigrants. Join us in demanding that Congress include all workers, regardless of immigration status, in any health and economic relief programs. Text COVID to 802495.