Receiving Stimulus Checks as a Non-Immigrant
2020 has been a year, unlike any other. All of our lives have derailed from what we had planned for the year — stuck in a foreign country, graduating at home in pyjamas, working remotely for the first time… We all more or less faced some unexpected obstacles in this extraordinary year.
Workers across the U.S. have been put on leave, experienced pay reductions, even unemployment. Many people have to live much more frugally, and some have straight up fallen into poverty.
The individuals are not the only ones suffering. Countless small and mid-sized businesses, even large corporations, have filed for bankruptcies since the drastic fall in consumers’ purchasing powers.
The U.S. government has sensed the dangerous signs of a recession. To restore the purchasing power among consumers, the government issued stimulus checks with a maximum amount of $1,200 starting in March. Until August, the IRS has issued a total of 153 million deposits, totalling $2.69 trillion.
Congress has been under discussion for the second round of stimulus package. The amount is projected to be only half of the first one, $600. Specialists have said that the checks will not be released until two weeks after the legislation is signed. People would be receiving the packages in January at the earliest.
Until this Friday, the lawmakers still have not agreed upon each other. The federal government risked a shutdown on Friday at midnight. Luckily, a stopgap bill extended the government funding till Sunday night.
Can I Receive a Stimulus Package Without Being a Citizen?
If you are studying in the U.S. or working as a foreign national, you may have worried that accepting a stimulus check would count as a “Public Charge,” which would negatively impact your status. Luckily, this is not the case!
A stimulus check does not count as a public charge. You are eligible for a stimulus check as long as you: have been living in the U.S. for more than five years, have a Social Security Number, do not make more than $99,000 if you are single, and you and your spouse make no more than $198,000 combined.
How Do I Apply?
If you have filed for taxes, or the IRS has your bank information, all you need to do is wait and be patient. If you have not filed for taxes, you can register online at the IRS website. https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus/economic-impact-payments
Who Receives the Checks First?
If the IRS already has your bank information, it is more likely to receive stimulus checks relatively early. If the IRS does not have your information already, you will likely receive the stimulus later in the form of a check or a prepaid debit card.
When the first wave of checks was dispersed, more than half of the eligible population received the package before the end of March. Meanwhile, more than 12million people may not even receive a cent since the IRS has no way of contacting them, and they did not register online.