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Are Inmates Eligible For Stimulus Checks

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People Who Are In Prison Can Get A Stimulus Check But There’s A Catch What To Know Today

Eligible inmates entitled to stimulus payments, CDCR says

The IRS was ordered to give people who are incarcerated a chance to claim a stimulus payment of up to $1,200 apiece, but one of two deadlines has already passed.

A federal judge has ordered the IRS to issue stimulus checks to eligible people even if they’re incarcerated.

People who are in prison and jail are eligible to qualify for the first stimulus check of up to $1,200 per adult, but with the tight Nov. 4 deadline to file physical paperwork now passed, inmates have until Nov. 21 to file an online claim with the IRS. It is not clear how many people who are incarcerated will be able to access these online forms. Internet access is often limited in prison and rules vary from state to state.

The deadline emerged after confusing and often contradictory guidance that saw the IRS send money to people in jail and prison, then ask for it back . Backed by a ruling from a federal judge in California in response to a class-action lawsuit, the IRS began sending prisons across the US official forms to distribute to the 2.3 million people residing in US jails and prisons.

Although the IRS has already appealed the decision and requested an injunction against the current ruling, for now the agency’s website acknowledges the ruling that “the IRS cannot deny a payment to someone who is incarcerated if they meet the criteria.”

Incarcerated people rarely if ever have access to the internet, yet IRS instructions for notifying the agency require it.

Prisoners Fugitives Parolees And Others Who Don’t Get A Stimulus Check

The list of people who don’t get a stimulus check because they somehow broke the law actually goes beyond currently incarcerated inmates. The full list includes people who are:

  • Incarcerated in jail or a prison after being convicted of a crime
  • Held in a mental health facility following a verdict or finding of guilty but insane, not guilty by reason of insanity, or incompetent to stand trial
  • Determined to be a sexually dangerous person or sexual predator and confined to a halfway house or other similar facility
  • Fleeing to avoid prosecution or prison time for a felony and
  • In violation of probation or parole.

Michael King Sentenced To Death

On Jan. 17, 2008, Michael King kidnapped 21-year-old Denise Amber Lee from her North Port, Florida, home. After an intense search that included multiple counties and law enforcement agencies, her body was found.

Denise was our first born. She was very smart. She was a complete mom, said her father, Rick Goff. Lee was a wife and mom of two.

Goff was a sergeant at the time in Charlotte County. He still remembers every single detail of that day.

Every detail, Goff said. We found her buried in the middle of the woods.

King was sentenced to death in 2009 for Lees murder. Hes been on death row ever since.

Thats the first thing you think about in the morning, says Goff, who after 13 years hasnt stopped thinking about his daughter. Its not easy.

But Goff says while he tries not to think about King, he is upset about what he learned from the 10 Investigates team.

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Who Is Eligible For The Recovery Rebate Credit

According to, the eligibility rules for the recovery rebate credit are essentially the same as the rules for receiving the first and second stimulus checks.

The big difference is that eligibility for the stimulus checks was based on the information from the 2018 and 2019 tax returns. The eligibility for the recovery rebate credit is based on information from the 2020 tax return.

Generally, youre eligible to claim the recovery rebate credit if, in 2020, you:

  • Were a U.S. citizen or U.S. resident alien
  • Cant be claimed as a dependent on another persons tax return and
  • Have a Social Security number valid for employment thats issued before the due date of your 2020 tax return

Prisoners Are Eligible For $600 Federal Stimulus Checks

Inmates Eligible For Stimulus Checks From IRS

While some Americans grouse about the small direct payments coming from the federal government to help out with food and rent, the bill passed by Congress and on Sunday night signed by President Donald Trump, includes prisoners among those who will receive $600 payments within days. Thats a big help for prisoners to pay for sundry and personal care items and phone calls home.

The bill follows the prior CARES Act stimulus package in March, which contained up to $2,000 per eligible American, including prisoners. The CARES Act contained no prohibition on stimulus payments for inmates.

Congress started crafting the second round of stimulus in July, and at the front-end of negotiations, prisoners were excluded from the list of those eligible. But the exclusion language didnt survive the final bill, a sign that it may have been a sticking point in negotiations.

Also included in the massive stimulus package is a measure that resumes Pell grants a form of federal financial aid for students for prisoners. In 1994, a crime bill that was sponsored by Sen. Joe Biden, banned Pell grants for inmates. Education grants can pay for training and education that prisoners need in order to return to society as functioning contributors. An extensive study by the RAND think tank in 2018 found those prisoners enrolled in classes have a 48 percent lower chance of recidivism.

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Irs Notice To Incarcerated On How To Fill Out 1040 Form To Get A Stimulus Payment

Irs inmate stimulus check application form. They should check claim status or file a claim with the irs by early november to get their payment in 2020. If so you may be eligible for both economic impact payments by filing a 1040 or 1040 sr in 2021 to claim the recovery rebate credit. On september 24 2020 a federal judge issued an order requiring the internal revenue service irs to stop withholding stimulus checks for incarcerated individuals.

The judge also ordered that any stimulus check that was withheld intercepted or returned based on an individual s incarcerated status be reprocessed by october 24 2020. If you do not receive a check in the mail within the next couple of weeks you may need to reapply in early 2021 during the 2020 tax return cycle. On october 14.

In the last case you may get a stimulus check if you don t update the irs but you will not get the extra 500 available per dependent unless you fill out the form to tell them. If you don t typically file a federal income tax return this message is for you it doesn t matter if you re unemployed. Irs has finally created the online form non filers.

Individual income tax return or if you are over age 65 form 1040 sr u s. The irs still owes roughly 9 million americans their original stimulus checks. Go to irs gov coronavirus tax relief and economic impact payments for more information.

Irs Is Forced To Extend To Nov 4 A Deadline To Allow Local State And Federal Prisoners To Claim Tens Of Millions In Stimulus Money

At first, the IRS said inmates were eligible for stimulus payments up to $1,200.

Then the agency walked back that decision, telling correctional facilities to intercept stimulus checks that the agency had already issued. Spouses of the incarcerated were told they had to return the part of relief money intended for incarcerated individuals.

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act provides economic impact payments or stimulus payments of up to $1,200 for individuals and $2,400 for taxpayers filing a joint tax return. There was nothing in the law prohibiting prisoners from receiving stimulus payments.

A class-action lawsuit was filed on behalf of incarcerated individuals in local, state and federal facilities arguing that the IRS actions were unlawful. Judge Phyllis Hamilton of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California agreed, saying the decision to withhold the stimulus payments was arbitrary and capricious. Hamilton ordered the Treasury Department and the IRS to send the relief money and to do so within certain deadlines.

Still not chastened, the Trump administration appealed. Last week, Hamilton again smacked away efforts by the government to stop the distribution of the payments, entering a final summary judgment. And the judge is making the IRS give incarcerated individuals additional time to claim their stimulus money, moving an initial Oct. 30 deadline to Nov. 4.

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How Can I Get My Stimulus Checks

First and second stimulus checks

The IRS has sent out all first and second stimulus checks. If you didnt receive your first or second stimulus checks, you will have to claim them as the Recovery Rebate Credit by filing a 2020 federal tax return . . You can file your taxes virtually by going to

Third stimulus check

If you didnt receive your third stimulus check, you will have to file a 2021 federal tax return and claim the third stimulus check as the 2021 Recovery Rebate Credit. Note that this is a different tax year than you must file for the first and second stimulus checks. .

First stimulus check:

If you filed a 2018 or 2019 tax return or you are a Social Security or Veteran Affairs beneficiary, the government had until October 24, 2020, to reprocess and reissue your first stimulus check if it was withheld, intercepted, or returned based on your incarceration status. You should have received your first stimulus check by November 13, 2020.

If you requested your first stimulus check by using the IRS 2020 Non-Filer Form or filing a simplified tax return, you should have received your payment from the IRS.

Second stimulus check:

Your payment was sent to you automatically if any of the following are true:

Do You Have To Send A Check Back If The Irs Asks

VERIFY: Are stimulus checks going to prison inmates?

According to tax experts who spoke to MarketWatch, the CARES Act did not include a “clawback” provision that would allow the IRS to force people who received stimulus checks in error to return those checks. So far, the IRS has not indicated there will be any kind of penalty for not sending back stimulus payments, although the agency does make its expectation clear and has a web page that details the process for returning stimulus payments. Either way, the question is moot so long as the current federal court order still stands.

Millions of nonincarcerated people, as well as many behind bars, who are still waiting for stimulus checks, may feel they’ve been hung out to dry.

The IRS asks recipients to return checks for people who have recently died and people who received additional money in error, for example, if they received two payments instead of one, or are a citizen of another country that is not a US territory. For example, dozens of Austrian citizens reportedly received $1,200 bank transfers representing stimulus money, in error.

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Death Row Inmates Cash In

Its absolutely ridiculous and just infuriates me, the guy that killed my daughter is getting paid by the government while hes on death row, Goff said.

King received a CARES Act stimulus payment of $1,400 on April 30, 2021, and a recovery rebate credit of $1,812.47 on July 28, 2021, according to the Department of Corrections.

Its not just Florida death row inmate King who received thousands in stimulus funds.

We discovered Daniel Burns Jr., who murdered FHP Trooper Jeffrey Young in 1987 in Manatee County, received $3,200 in stimulus money as did Granville Ritchie, the rapist and murderer of 9-year-old Felecia Williams in Tampa. He had three separate payments totaling $3,200.

They do nothing to stimulate the economy, Goff said. It simply doesnt make sense.

Sen. Rick Scott, R-Florida, spoke on the Senate floor on March 17, 2021, in an effort to strip stimulus payments for inmates. He claimed if all 1.5 million American inmates received a stimulus check, it would result in more than $2 billion.

Thats $2 billion that could be used to help our small businesses recover, $2 billion that could be used to enhance vaccine development and distribution so more Americans can get the shots they need to move us forward and away from this virus, Scott said.

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Inmates Eligible For Stimulus Checks But Must Apply And Deadline Looms

By: Michael Lyle– October 28, 2020 5:13 pm

A sample check from the direct payment program Congress passed in March.

A September federal court ruling opened the door for inmates to apply for the $1,200 coronavirus relief stimulus money. But a quickly approaching Nov. 4 deadline has advocacy groups worried many incarcerated will miss the opportunity.

The Nevada Department of Corrections isnt actively tracking how many of its nearly 13,000 inmates have obtained or submitted the requisite 1040 forms.

We didnt ask to track it, said Bill Quenga, a spokesman with the Nevada Department of Corrections. I wish I would have thought about that sooner. So we have no way of knowing who has gotten their forms and who all is filling them out.

Quenga said the department has printed required forms and posted information in prison common areas to inform inmates at all facilities of their ability to apply for the coronavirus relief funds.

But groups including the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevadas Mass Liberation project, Return Strong, and the ACLU of Nevada are saying not only could corrections officials be doing more to assist inmates, but not all facilities are providing consistent information.

Jodi Hocking, who runs Return Strong, an organization that helps family members of incarcerated individuals, recounts some of her interactions with corrections officials.

Quenga said he wasnt aware of inconsistent practices among facilities.

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Confirmed: Inmates Eligible For Cares Act $1200 Stimulus Checks From Irs Heres How To File

2 million inmates are eligible for $1,200 stimulus checks. They should check claim status or file a … claim with the IRS by early November to get their payment in 2020.


On October 14, a district court for the Northern District of California granted summary judgment in Scholl v Mncuhin, a case that challenged the IRSs policy of excluding inmates from receiving $1,200 stimulus checks. The court also made permanent the preliminary injunction it had issued earlier this month, which means that the IRS and Treasury Department cannot withhold stimulus checks solely based on an individuals incarceration status. The government could still appeal the courts ruling again , but the permanent injunction should be cause for celebration for the over two million incarcerated individuals in the U.S. who may now be eligible for an economic impact payment.

How To Calculate The Recovery Rebate Credit For Your Inmate

Prisoners Are Eligible For Stimulus Checks. Why Aren

Calculating the recovery rebate credit is the same as the calculation of stimulus checks. It starts with a base amount, and for most people that is $1,800. That number comes from combining the two checks $1,200 plus $600.

If the inmate is the head of a household, pays child support, or is married filing jointly basically, if the inmate is not single with no dependents then these numbers will change. Please refer to the IRS website for more information in this situation, or try out this MSN article that will go into more detail about inmates with spouses and dependents.

After adding up the base amount, then its time to determine if the recovery rebate credit is reduced because of income. Obviously, an inmate who was incarcerated throughout 2020 is not going to have any income. This means that the credit will not be reduced.

You will report the $1,800 rebate amount on Line 30 of your inmates 2020 federal income tax return. Because this is a refundable credit, they will get this amount since they have no other taxes to pay.

Remember, your inmate will be getting a paper check unless they have a bank account and you have that info for direct deposit. Do not have the check sent to the inmate at the prison because most facilities do not accept direct payments to inmates.

Instead, you will have to deposit the check into the inmates account through whatever method the facility uses. Most prisons use JPay for inmate accounts.

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Can People Who Are Still Incarcerated Get A Stimulus Check

This is a difficult question to answer. Since those November deadlines have come and gone, there is no longer a place on the IRS website for non-filers to enter their payment info. For prison inmates who did file a 2019 tax return, the deadlines have still passed. But there is hope. Inmates can obtain their money, but it will take some time.

Federal Judge Rules Prisoners Eligible For $1200 Stimulus Checks Must Apply By October 30

In a clear victory for prisoners and their families, a federal judge has ordered the U.S. Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service to make stimulus payments previously denied to people in prison and jail. Affected individuals must apply no later than October 30, 2020 for non-tax filers.

The September 24, 2020 order by Phyllis J. Hamilton, United States District Judge from the 9th Circuit, certified a nationwide class action of incarcerated individuals denied federal stimulus checks and issued a preliminary injunction requiring the IRS and Treasury to stop blocking such payments and expedite previously denied payments.

Although many federal and state statutes block current prisoners from enjoying certain government benefits, the language of the CARES Act, passed by congress after the COVID-19 pandemic erupted, does not.

The court further noted that Congress did not specifically exclude prisoners from receiving a stimulus payment, although it had the opportunity to do so. It said that the IRS administrative action blocking the payments did not comply with the language or requirements of the Administrative Procedure Act, by giving the public or affected individuals proper “notice and comment,” rendering the agency action unenforceable.

The court noted that the members of the class were likely to prevail at trial.

See: Scholl v. Mnuchin, 489 F. Supp.2d 1008 .

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