Do College Students, Adult Dependents, Get a Stimulus Check?

do college students adult dependents get stimulus check

Getty Do college students who are adult dependents get stimulus checks?

A lot of college students are among those hardest hit by the lock downs over the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Many of them have service jobs or jobs on campus that were suddenly cut or ended. A lot of college students are living paycheck to paycheck, and a lot of them are hoping to get the new coronavirus stimulus checks from the federal government. But will they?

Unfortunately, the answer is that it depends. If you file taxes on your own, independently, you will likely qualify for the stimulus check, depending on income limits. However, if you’re declared as an adult dependent on someone else’s tax form, such as your parents’, then you won’t qualify for a stimulus check (sorry. As noted, we realize a lot of college students probably need them the most.)

Some universities are trying to help with that. At the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, for example, the chancellor announced that “UWM will provide a one-time COVID-19 leave payment to all active student hourly workers who have logged hours in HRS on or since Feb. 1, 2020. The payments will be made as follows: The payment will be $100 per week for two weeks — a total of $200.”

That kind of thing will help a bit, but it’s not the $1,200 stimulus check that some were hoping for.

Here’s what you need to know:

Unfortunately, You Won’t Get a Check If Someone Declared You as an Adult Dependent


The Harvard University campus is shown on March 23, 2020 in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Students were required to be out of their dorms no later than March 15 and finish the rest of the semester online due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The New York Times states this clearly: “You can’t get a payment if someone claims you as a dependent, even if you’re an adult.”

That doesn’t just apply to college students, of course. It applies to any adult declared as a dependent on someone else’s tax form.

However, more explicitly, the Times answered the question as to whether college students get a check. “Not if anyone claims them as a dependent on a tax return. Usually, students under age 24 are dependents in the eyes of the taxing authorities if a parent pays for at least half of their expenses,” The Times reported.

The Wall Street Journal reported the same. “The payments go to almost any adult with a Social Security number, as long as they aren’t dependents of someone else. Those adults get the payments for the children in their household.”

WSET-TV also reported the same: “If your parents claim you as a dependent on their taxes, no. But, if you are working and filing your taxes independently, you may be eligible.”

Families do get an extra $500 for each child, but only those under age 17. According to The New York Times, the amount of the checks depends on a person’s income. You also need to have a social security number. If you’re single, you get $1,200 as long as your adjusted gross income is $75,000 or less.

If you’re married and have no children and make less than $150,000, you will get $2,400. If you’re head of household, you get the full total if you make $112,500 or less. The amount then goes down with earnings, stopping completely at singles earning $99,000 and married people without kids making $198,000.

This is also a really important thing to remember: It’s the 2019 tax returns that matter here, but if you haven’t filed them yet, they will go by 2018.

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