Who Benefits From the CARES Act?

There is nothing that hasn’t been affected by the Coronavirus. One way or another, the virus has impacted the lives of each of us, bringing much confusion, anxiety and chaos. The unexpected job loss of parents who have children to support has been devastating. Due to the economic turmoil we are facing today, the general population, and the Latino community especially, is more vulnerable than ever.

To boost this economic necessity, on March 27, President Trump signed the CARES Act, which would provide financial aid for taxpayers who qualify for this benefit. This plan would mean the following:

  • a direct credit of $1,200 for each individual earning $75,000 or less a year,
  • a direct credit of $2,400 for each married couple earning $150,000 or less a year,
  • plus, an additional $500 for each child declared as a dependent on the taxpayer’s return.

It is important to distinguish between who qualifies for this benefit, and who does not. To qualify, one must: (1) have a valid Social Security number; (2) have filed taxes for the 2018 fiscal year; and (3) be an U.S. citizen, permanent resident, or belong to one of the following classifications:

  • been awarded deferred action under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA),
  • a TPS beneficiary,
  • been granted Suspension of Deportation or Cancellation of Cancellation of Removal by Special Rule (in accordance with Section 203 of Public Law 105-100 (NACARA)),
  • been granted Cancellation of Removal,
  • have a pending Asylum, Adjustment of Status or Cancellation of Removal application pending,
  • a U or T visa beneficiary,
  • a H1B, L, J, or F non-immigrant visa beneficiary, with employment authorization.

Those who have not filed their 2018 federal income taxes are advised to do so for fiscal year 2019 as soon as possible, even if they did not have income to report for that year.

Individuals with only an individual tax identification number (ITIN) do not qualify for this benefit. This distinction is important for taxpayers who would normally qualify but who have filed their taxes jointly with their spouse, who does not have a social security number, or who only has an ITIN. That is to say, a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident who filed taxes jointly with their undocumented spouse will not benefit from the credit payment. Similarly, if both spouses only have ITINs, no one in the household will be eligible from the benefit.

You may be wondering, “how do I apply for payment of the credit?” There is no need to apply. The U.S. Department of Treasury will automatically calculate your eligibility and you will receive the credit as soon as mid-April. As for the method of payment, the Department of Treasury will use whatever method you indicated to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for reimbursement of your taxes for the last fiscal year (2018 or 2019). Therefore, you will receive the money via direct deposit to your bank account, or via a mailed check to the address on file with the IRS.

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