Why Are Dependents Over Age 16 Still Ineligible for Economic Impact Payments?

Why Are Dependents Over Age 16 Still Ineligible for Economic Impact Payments?

One of my nephews, a senior at a large midwestern university, raised the question last week during, of all things, a holiday Zoom gathering.  Presid

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One of my nephews, a senior at a large midwestern university, raised the question last week during, of all things, a holiday Zoom gathering. 

President Trump had just signed the legislation that allowed millions of Americans to receive their second round of economic impact payments. Eligible adults have started receiving their payments of up to $600 plus as much as $600 for each eligible dependent (qualifying child), depending on household income.

But last year, millions of dependents over the age of 16, like my 21-year-old nephew, were left out when Treasury distributed the first round of economic impact payments available through the CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Stimulus) Act. Taxpayers—like my nephew’s parents—could receive an additional $500 payment for each child only if the child was a dependent and was under the age of 17. And anyone who could be claimed as a dependent by another taxpayer was ineligible for the full $1,200 payment that the CARES Act provided to adult taxpayers. These dependents of other taxpayers are ineligible for the second round payments, too.

To my nephew and his similarly situated friends, missing out on financial help during an unprecedented pandemic and recession felt familiar. My nephew said that “People just expect college students to put themselves into debt.” So what’s a little more? 

Of course, these payments for…



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