Since the pandemic began in March, the IRS sent emergency payment checks to at least 159 million people, including people behind bars. But earlier this summer, the agency started blocking payments and disqualifying incarcerated people from their stimulus money. A federal judge in Scholl v. Mnuchin, No. 4:20-cv-5309-PJH (N.D. Cal.) ordered the IRS to give people payments if they qualify for them, even if incarcerated.
*Note: If you filed a 2018 or 2019 tax return or if you receive Social Security or Railroad Retirement Benefits, you should receive an automatic payment in the mail or bank account on your tax filings.
On September 24, 2020, U.S. District Judge, Phyllis Hamilton for the Northern District of California issued an order requiring the U.S. Department of Treasury, the U.S. Internal Revenue Service, and the United States of America to stop withholding CARES Act stimulus funds from people, on the sole basis of their incarcerated status. On October 5, 2020, the IRS announced it was extending the deadline for filing online claims to November 21, 2020.
The CARES Act (Coronavirus Aid Relief And Economic Stability Act) is a $2 trillion dollar federal stimulus package that provides fast and direct economic assistance to protect the American people from the public health and economic impacts of COVID-19. Eligible individuals can receive up to $1,200 per person, or $2400 for married couples filing jointly, plus $500 per qualifying child.
Yes, your loved one is eligible if all of these are true.
Yes. You are eligible for an advanced payment even if you had zero income in 2019.
Yes, so long as they meet all of the requirements listed under “Am I eligible?”
Yes. The IRS will mail checks to people without bank accounts.
You can file electronically until 12:00 pm / 3:00 pm ET Saturday, November 21, 2020.
*Note: the IRS will deduct past owed child support debt.
The IRS has also set up a claim tracking IRS.gov/getmypayment
It can take between 4-6 weeks to process payment. Once the payment goes out, the IRS will send you a letter that the payment was made. If you receive a notice from the IRS that it sent you payment but you did not receive it, you can call the IRS helpline at 800-919-9835.
This site was created for people currently in prison, and individuals with incarcerated loved ones. If you have an incarcerated loved one, we encourage you to share this information within your community.
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