Friday, September 22, 2023

Did Prisoners Get Stimulus Checks

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Judge Ruled Inmates Should Get Funds

VERIFY: Yes, prisoners do receive COVID-19 stimulus checks

A class-action lawsuit filed on behalf of incarcerated individuals led to Judge Phyllis Hamilton’s that inmates are entitled to stimulus funds. Hamilton gave inmates until Nov. 4 to claim their money.

“Incarcerated people and their families are primarily low-income and come disproportionately from minority communities that have endured long histories of discrimination at the hands of the government authority,” the initial complaint read. “These communities are among the hardest hit by the economic slowdown caused by COVID-19.”

Yaman Salahi, a partner with San Francisco-based Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, one of the law firms representing the plaintiffs and class-action members, called Hamilton’s order a “huge victory for inmates and their families.”

“If you just take a look at the number of people who are incarcerated in this country as a result of mass incarceration over the past several decades, we have over 2 million people sitting in prison across the United States,” Salahi told me this week. “That opens up a tremendous amount of economic assistance to these individuals and their families.

Stimulus Check: Economic Impact Payment

A federal court ruled that qualifying incarcerated people are eligible to receive a federal stimulus check under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act . In order to receive a check, an incarcerated person must fill out an IRS Form 1040 with EIP 2020 written at the top and mail it to the IRS. Additional information on how to obtain an IRS Form 1040 or the Economic Impact Payment has been posted in housing unit wings and the offender library.

Getting Out The Vote Efforts

Dozens of vehicles rolled through Racine on Oct. 24, honking their horns and cheering, encouraging people in the city to “vote” as part of a series of “Pack the Polls” car parades held across Wisconsin that day. Among the drivers was Jean Brosseau, showing off her “VOTE” mask. High turnout in more urban areas, like Milwaukee and Milwaukee, has been credited with helping propel Joe Biden to the presidency.

Read Also: Are We Getting Stimulus Checks Again

If I Am Incarcerated Am I Eligible For The Stimulus Checks

Yes, if you are incarcerated you are eligible to receive the stimulus checks if you meet the other eligibility criteria.

Eligibility for first stimulus and second stimulus checks:

  • Residency: You are a U.S. citizen, permanent resident, or qualifying resident alien.
  • Taxpayer Identification Number: You or your spouse have a valid Social Security number. You will receive the payment for any tax filers who have an SSN, and any child dependents . If one spouse is a military member, only one spouse needs to have an SSN for both spouses to get the payment.
  • Dependency: You were not claimed as a dependent on someone elses tax return.
  • Income: First stimulus: Your 2018 or 2019 income is under $99,000 or $198,000 . Second stimulus: Your 2019 income is under $87,000 or $174,000 . You also qualify if you have no income.
  • Eligibility for third stimulus check:

  • Residency: You are a U.S. citizen, permanent resident, or qualifying resident alien.
  • Taxpayer Identification Number: Someone in your household has a valid Social Security number . Any member of your household with an SSN can receive the payment. Dependents with SSNs or ATINs can receive a payment even if both you and your spouse dont have SSNs. If one spouse is a military member, only one spouse needs to have an SSN for both spouses to get the payment.
  • Dependency: You were not claimed as a dependent on someone elses 2019 or 2020 tax return.
  • Getting A Stimulus Payment For A Prison Inmate Has Been Difficult

    32,000 Michigan prisoners received millions of COVID

    Those November deadlines emerged in late October, which made it difficult for most prison inmates to get their stimulus check. As CNET notes, the deadlines also emerged after the IRS gave out confusing and often contradictory guidance. At first, the IRS sent money to some people in jail and prison and then asked for it back!

    It wasnt until a federal judge in California responded to a class-action lawsuit that the IRS started sending out forms to prisons across the country so the 2.3 million people who are incarcerated could attempt to get their check.

    The IRS appealed the judges decision and requested an injunction to the ruling. But, according to the IRS website, they cannot deny a payment to someone who is incarcerated if they meet the criteria.

    Despite this fact, there have been reports of facilities actively blocking the forms and newsletters about the payments from getting to inmates. There have also been reports of people fraudulently getting payments in the name of people who are incarcerated.

    Also Check: Am I Getting A Stimulus

    Zoom Meetings And Community Discussions

    The above screenshot is from the first meeting of the Mayor’s Task Force on Police Reform, which took place July 6. Not only was 2020 a year loaded with talks of police reform, but also a year when unprecedented amounts of social and professional and public interaction took place online much of it via Zoom.

    ‘you Are Incredibly Safe To Go Out’

    During an extraordinary and nearly postponed April election, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, talks to a member of the media while working as a poll worker in Burlington. You are incredibly safe to go out,” he told viewers while wearing required personal protective equipment in a video that was shared widely on social media throughout the day.

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    Gop Senators Fume Over Prisoners Getting Stimulus Checks

    Barnini Chakraborty, Senior Investigations Reporter |

    Republicans are ripping into a provision in the American Rescue Plan that makes murderers, rapists, and other criminals eligible to receive hundreds of dollars in stimulus payments.

    Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton is among the group of conservatives that objected to those incarcerated, such as Boston bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and South Carolina church shooter Dylann Roof, getting government checks.

    Shortly after the Senate passed the relief bill over the weekend, Cotton slammed Democrats in a tweet.

    “Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the Boston Bomber, murdered three people and terrorized a city. He’ll be getting a $1,400 stimulus check as part of the Democrat’s ‘COVID relief’ bill,” he tweeted.

    The payments are part of a $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package that includes a third round of stimulus checks, unemployment benefits, child allowances, state aid, and money for vaccine distribution. Eligible people will be getting $1,400 checks, which includes anyone other than nonresident aliens, an estate, or trust as any “individual who is a dependent of another taxpayer for a taxable year.”

    That means some people behind bars could be getting their checks before the end of March.

    Sens. Bill Cassidy, a Louisiana Republican, and Ted Cruz, a Texas Republican, offered an amendment to block payments to inmates.

    Since the Senate passage, Cotton has gone on the offensive.

    He tweeted that Democrats were solely responsible for sending checks to inmates.

    How Does Someone Behind Bars Request A Check

    Alabama inmates eligible for stimulus checks

    The IRS says information can be provided using the Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info Here online tool by Nov. 21, or you can file a 2019 simplified paper tax return following the instructions on the File a Simplified Paper Tax Return page. The deadline for filing a paper return was Nov. 4.

    You can contact the IRS directly if you have more questions about receiving a stimulus check for an incarcerated individual.

    Read Also: When Will The Second Stimulus Check Be Released

    Court Ruled That Prisoners Are Eligible For Cares Act Stimulus Checks

    On May 6, 2020, the IRS updated responses to its list of Frequently Asked Questions stating that incarcerated individuals do not qualify for stimulus checks. The IRS and Treasury subsequently refused to issue payments to eligible incarcerated individuals. The IRS went further, working with federal and state prison officials to assist in the return of payments made to incarcerated individuals, according to a report by the General Accounting Office.

    The interpretation puzzled many legal experts who questioned the basis for the IRS move, arguing that it acted beyond its authority, perhaps even illegally. There is no mention of incarcerated individuals in the CARES Act, which some argue makes the IRS position wrong because it contravenes the clear text of the Act, noted Patrick Thomas of Notre Dame Law School. Others contended that the IRS didnt follow its own processes. It appears that IRS made up this rule out of whole cloth and announced it by posting it on a webpage, noted Stephen Raher of the Prison Policy Initiative.

    Fact Check: Prisoners Also Got Relief Checks From The Pandemic Bills Trump Signed And Cotton Voted For

    Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton, a Republican, is attacking Democrats for passing a pandemic relief bill that will send money to prisoners.

    Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the Boston Bomber, murdered three people and terrorized a city. Hell be getting a $1,400 stimulus check as part of the DemocratsCOVID relief bill, Cotton tweeted on Saturday to his approximately 142,000 followers. Cotton, who voted against the bill, posted a near-identical message on Facebook to his 308,000 followers there.

    Cotton tweeted a similar message about Dylann Roof, the perpetrator of a 2015 massacre at a renowned Black church in Charleston, South Carolina. Cotton also asked on Twitter: How will sending stimulus checks to murderers and rapists in prison help solve the pandemic?

    Cotton complained again about prisoners getting checks during a Fox News appearance on Monday morning, saying this was a crazy Democratic idea.

    Cottons attack on Democrats was echoed by North Carolina Rep. Madison Cawthorn on Twitter on Sunday. Fox News, meanwhile, turned Cottons tweets into an ominous headline on the front page of its website: FUNDING CONVICTED KILLERS. Democratic COVID bill gives mass murderers taxpayer money right out of your pocket.

    But Cottons attack left out a highly relevant fact.

    The IRS did not try to pull the same stunt with the second bill, said Kelly Dermody, a lawyer for the plaintiffs in the class-action lawsuit.

    Also Check: Threshold For Stimulus Check 2021

    Yes Democrats Voted To Send Stimulus Checks To Prisoners As Republicans Did Last Year

    If Your Time is short

    • Democrats rejected a Republican amendment that would have barred prisoners from receiving $1,400 stimulus checks.

    • Democrats said the plan would hurt the families of prisoners, making it harder for them to pay their monthly bills.

    • Both parties supported past stimulus bills that sent checks to prisoners.

    In the long hours of debate before Senate Democrats passed their sweeping COVID-19 relief package, Republicans offered amendments designed to put Democrats on record on very particular policy points.

    Sens. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., and Bill Cassidy, R-La., put forward one that would prevent $1,400 stimulus checks from going to prisoners. The amendment failed on a party-line vote.

    Cotton tweeted that this was another example of spending tucked in the bill that had nothing to do with pandemic.

    “Senate Democrats just voted to give stimulus checks to criminals in prison,” he tweeted . “They havent lost their jobs, they arent worried about paying rent or buying groceries.”

    Senate Democrats just voted to give stimulus checks to criminals in prison. They havent lost their jobs, they arent worried about paying rent or buying groceries. Another example of the unrelated spending in the Democrats partisan slush fund.

    Tom Cotton

    The record shows that Democrats rejected the amendment to prevent payments to prisoners.

    Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said it would harm prisoners families.

    Featured Fact-check

    The issue had come up before.

    Stimulus Debit Cards Unusable For Prison Inmates In At Least Four States

    Do People in Jail Get a Stimulus Check?

    Jimmy Jenkins

    The IRS distributed the second round of stimulus money to eligible inmates using debit cards, which state prisons are unable to process. Correctional officials have communicated the problem to the federal agency, but it’s unclear what steps the IRS will take to fix it.hide caption

    toggle caption

    The IRS distributed the second round of stimulus money to eligible inmates using debit cards, which state prisons are unable to process. Correctional officials have communicated the problem to the federal agency, but it’s unclear what steps the IRS will take to fix it.

    Like other Americans, inmates and their families are struggling financially. CARES Act stimulus payments for inmates, which were granted after a legal challenge, help offset the myriad expenses inmates are responsible for, like telephone calls or medical needs.

    The first payments were by check, but state prisons have been unable to process the second round of stimulus payments because the IRS distributed the money using debit cards.

    Corrections Departments in Arizona, California, Florida, New Mexico and New York all report receiving the cards for inmates who qualify CARES Act payments. The states have communicated the problem to the IRS, but it’s unclear what steps the federal agency will take to fix it.

    Also Check: Is There A Second Stimulus Check

    Michigan Prisoners Received Millions In Covid

    What to do about the millions in Covid relief that went to Michigan prisoners

    About 32,000 Michigan prisoners received payouts from federal stimulus packages passed in response to the pandemic. Here’s how that money is getting used.

    LANSING, Mich. – It wasn’t just workers and families that got a piece of the coronavirus relief pie. About 32,000 Michigan prisoners received payouts during the pandemic.

    Some don’t feel like they deserve it and others have sent that money to their families. But according to Michigan Department of Corrections Spokesperson Chris Gautz, that money is also fueling drugs in the state’s prisons.

    “That is something we are worried about. Our strongest position is we know any influx of cash into the prison system is going to turn into an ability or option for prisoners to want and try to bring drugs into the facility,” said Gautz.

    The money that prisoners received added up to about $500 on average. But some prisoners, even murders facing life sentences could be getting thousands of dollars.

    Last year, the IRS stopped all payments to prisoners after the first stimulus bill. But a class-action lawsuit in California proved there was no law on the books preventing a prisoner from receiving Covid relief funds.

    There is a catch to prisoners that do receive funds. If someone incarcerated owes back taxes, restitution, or child support, MDOC is flagged and money is redirected to the courts.

    Mayor Pete Stumping For Biden

    Pete Buttigieg the ex-mayor of South Bend, Indiana, and former presidential candidate who has endorsed Joe Biden stopped at Caledonias River Bend Nature Center on the afternoon of Oct. 22 to speak with local Democrats and the press about the election, which Racine City Council President John Tate II called the most consequential election of our lifetimes. During a brief speech spoken while wearing a mask that read simply “VOTE,” Buttigieg took aim at President Donald Trump on several fronts, from his role in race relations to his handling of COVID-19 to the economy. He said, with less than two weeks left until the end of voting, Democrats should work to connect with two groups of people: those who have not decided who they want to vote for, and those who do not yet have a plan to vote. Before leaving Wisconsin following earlier stumps in Green Bay and Milwaukee Buttigieg said he plans to stop at the Cheese Castle.

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    Can Prison Inmates Get Stimulus Checks

    • /

    When President Trump signed the CARES Act last spring, part of the legislation featured $1,200 stimulus payments to citizens who make less than $75,000 per year. As we all know, a second round of checks for $600 was included in the most recent stimulus bill. And, it looks like President Biden will be signing more legislation in the near future for a third round of stimulus payments, if Congress passes anything resembling his $1.9 trillion plan.

    This money is being given out to people who need financial help during the pandemic. But, does that include people who are incarcerated? Can prison inmates get stimulus checks?

    In todays blog post, I will cover the following topics:

    • The IRS was ordered to give prison inmates a chance to claim a stimulus payment
    • Getting a stimulus payment for a prison inmate has been difficult
    • Can people who are still incarcerated get a stimulus check?
    • Will inmates get a second stimulus check?
    • Who is eligible for the Recovery Rebate Credit?
    • How to calculate the Recovery Rebate Credit for your inmate

    For Readers With Questions

    Courts could take stimulus checks from prisoners under Missouri law

    Details are still coming out about how this new round of stimulus payments will be sent to incarcerated people. As we learn more, well update this article, but we cant answer individual questions to help readers get their payments. In the meantime, we offer a few suggestions:

    • People in prison who did not receive the stimulus payment may be able to claim the payments by filling out a 1040 tax form and mailing it to the IRS. Some prisons are making the form available upon request.
    • The IRSs Get My Payment tool and FAQ, as well as the IRSs detailed press release about the new round of payments, might be helpful.
    • The National Consumer Law Center has published a helpful FAQ.
    • The law firm Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, which brought the successful California lawsuit about incarcerated people qualifying for stimulus checks, has a webpage with useful information that may be updated soon.

    In the wake of the recently passed stimulus bill, many Americans are complaining about the paltry direct payments of $600. Without detracting from Congresss failure to support the millions of people who need help, it is worth pausing to acknowledge one unexpected victory in the bill: It contains no prohibition on stimulus payments for incarcerated people.1

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