The new $900 billion coronavirus stimulus package is still in limbo over President Donald Trump’s refusal to sign. And while it does fix a marriage penalty for citizens married to legal immigrants, millions of American’s and American taxpayers still won’t be getting stimulus checks.
Mixed-status marriage penalty
One of the stipulations of the original CARES Act funding was you had to have a social security number. But for millions of Americans with social security numbers who are married to legal immigrants filing taxes under individual tax identification numbers, also known as ITIN numbers, checks never came.
Republicans and Democrats have said the new stimulus package fixes that penalty.
“Even if you are married and you are a citizen yourself and you’re married to someone who is not a citizen, you were barred completely from those direct survival or stimulus payments,” Tampa Congressmember Kathy Castor said. So, we fixed that.
Some we still have to fight for.
While the mixed-status marriage penalty has been removed — including receiving retroactive CARES Act payments — Jackie Vimo of the National Immigration Law Center, said 4.5 million citizens are still not eligible for those stimulus rebate checks.
“The new bill continues to exclude U.S. citizen children and other children who have valid social security numbers if neither of their parents has a social security number,” she said.
The stimulus payments are supposed to function as rebates for tax payers. But not all tax payers are getting payments.
Citizens in mixed-status marriages will receive the new payments and the CARES Act payments, but their ITIN filing spouses still won’t be paid. So instead of a mixed-status couple getting $1,200. They’ll only get $600.
And if both parents of a citizen child file with ITIN numbers, no one in the house will see relief funds.
“This isn’t even all US citizen getting justice,” Vimo said. “This is most US citizen’s getting justice, but some that we still need to fight for.”
But if you are among the 3.5 million Americans now eligible to receive stimulus payments, Vimo said go ahead and cash those checks.
“Pay those bills that are overdue, buy those Christmas presents if you need that,” she said. “But know that you will never need to repay or get tax on it as long as you were eligible.”