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Stimulus Checks

Published July 6, 2020

Why You Didn’t Get the Stimulus Check

Amidst this current global pandemic, it can feel like the very fragment of society is crumbling. That may sound a little dramatic, but with how heavily America is dependent on capitalism to function, it isn't too far off. Many Americans have lost their job, putting them in a very financially vulnerable situation. With no income coming in, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) appeared. The CARES Act is a recovery rebate that counters the current economic fallout created by the pandemic. The act provides a stimulus check to U.S. citizens and permanent residents of $1,200 with an additional $500 for each child in the household under 17.

While the CARES Act is beneficial for the majority, it excludes a significant portion of America’s population that is equally dependent on financial assistance – undergraduate students  Notably, the vast majority of college students are finding that they were ineligible as long as they were claimed as a dependent on someone else’s federal tax return. This means if you are under the age of 24 and paying anything less than half your financial support, or are living at home for more than half the year you can be claimed as a dependent. This is regardless of whether a student is actually claimed; eligibility is based on whether a student fits the description of a dependent.

It is easy to see how this can create problems. Most college students are over the age of 17 but under 24 which means they are ineligible. How such a large portion of America’s youth could be overlooked in the middle of a pandemic is baffling as most students are working minimum wage jobs and struggling to make ends meet. With most college students working retail and restaurant jobs, they don’t have the luxury of working from home. College students are facing high unemployment rates and thus are even more reliant on any assistance the federal government can provide.

The CARES Act did establish two emergency financial aid grants for college students. Unfortunately, they only average at around $328 which is even less than the $500 allocated per child. It is truly a frustrating situation and hopefully something that will be reconsidered if another stimulus is distributed. Students seeking additional information on the CARES Act can go to CSULB COVID-19 CARES ACT


“Economic Impact Payment Information Center.” Economic Impact Payment Information Center, Internal Revenue Service, 2020