Adult dependents may be eligible for money – Community News
Stimulus Check

Adult dependents may be eligible for money

Austin Goergen, a student at Oregon State University, started a petition last year to make dependents 17 and older eligible for stimulus checks.

Austin Gorgen

Washington lawmakers are one step closer to approving new $1,400 stimulus checks for millions of Americans.

This time around, one large group could qualify for the first time: dependents aged 17 and older.

Provided that the proposal of the House of Representatives is approved by the Senate. The legislation is expected to be ready by mid-March.

Such a change would be great news for people like Austin Goergen, 20, a student at Oregon State University, who started a Change.org petition last year when he realized the initial $1,200 stimulus checks were on people like him and his would exclude colleagues who had been claimed as next of kin.

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Goergen’s petition generated nearly 5,000 signatures. Still, the second $600 stimulus checks approved by Congress in December continued to exclude individuals in that cohort, despite some calls on both sides of the aisle to change those terms.

Previous estimates from the American Enterprise Institute have shown that expanding incentive payments to dependent adult individuals could qualify as many as 26 million more people.

That would generally refer to college students, as well as adults with disabilities who may have been claimed by a caregiver.

“It just seemed like a really big mistake,” Goergen said.

The new bill will likely require adult dependents to coordinate with those who claimed them, and who will therefore receive the money. Nevertheless, Goergen said it is an improvement over the previous payments.

“I think the current bill regarding the stimulus controls approach works much better,” he said.

Who Qualifies for the New $1,400 Checks?

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The bill calls for $1,400 in benefits per person, provided they fall under certain income limits.

Individuals with up to $75,000 in adjusted gross income are eligible for full payments, as are householders earning up to $112,500 and married couples filing jointly for up to $150,000.

The checks would be reduced for incomes above those thresholds and capped at $100,000 in income for singles, $150,000 for heads of household and $200,000 for joint filers.

This time, the phasing out rates are based on filing status and how many children you have, noted Garrett Watson, senior policy analyst at the Tax Foundation.

“That’s really because they wanted to make sure that applicants above a certain income level didn’t receive payment,” Watson said.

People should take that into account when determining how much money to expect this time around, he said.

As with the second incentive payments of $600, families of mixed-status households, where only one spouse has a valid Social Security number, would also qualify. The payments would go to the eligible spouse and their children, as long as they also have valid Social Security numbers.

The bill calls for payments to be based on 2019 or 2020 tax returns.

Provided the legislation is passed without delays, experts expect the $1,400 deposits could start coming in by the end of March.