In mid-March, President Donald Trump declared a national emergency in response to the coronavirus pandemic, also known as “COVID-19.” Part of the national emergency was having each state systematically shut down schools and non-essential business. As a result of this effort, domestic violence spiked, the number of people contemplating divorce shot up, and millions of Americans lost their jobs.
In an effort to counteract the negative economic effects of the national shutdown, Congress passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act and on March 27, 2020, President Trump signed the Act into law. The economic relief package was worth over $2 trillion and as part of it, Americans were to receive economic stimulus checks in the amount of $1,200 for individuals and $2,400 for married couples who filed their taxes jointly.
What About Immigrants?
If you’re an immigrant living in the U.S., you’re probably wondering if you’re eligible for an economic stimulus check, and reasonably so! That’s a question that many, if not most immigrants are asking.
Who qualifies for an economic stimulus check?
- U.S. citizens
- Permanent residents (Green Card holders)
- Qualifying resident aliens
- People who are not dependents on someone else’s tax return
- People who have a valid Social Security numbers (in all cases)
You Must Have a Social Security Number
If you’re an immigrant and you want to know if you can receive a stimulus check, first and foremost you have to have a Social Security number. If your Social Security card says, “authorized to work with DHS authorization only,” that’s okay. It still qualifies as a valid Social Security number for the purposes of receiving an economic stimulus payment.
Note: If you’re an immigrant with a Social Security number but your spouse has an ITIN number, your spouse wouldn’t receive a stimulus payment and you wouldn’t either. The same is true if both immigrant spouses have a Social Security number, but they claim a dependent who has an ITIN number. There is an exception, and it has to do with an immigrant spouse who is in the military.