Many college students were left out of the first round of COVID-19 stimulus checks. That’s because some college students are still listed as dependents on their parents’ tax returns. Adult dependents didn’t qualify for round one. Stimulus check round two, if approved by the Republican-controlled Senate, would give money for adult dependents over age 17 and some additional money to dependents over 17. The bill faces quite a political battle in the Senate, though.
Twenty-five percent of people ages 20 to 24 are unemployed, according to the Department of Labor. Some people felt it was wrong that college students declared by their parents as dependents didn’t qualify for the first stimulus check.
House Democrats passed the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act, or HEROES Act, which is the stimulus check second round.
According to CNBC, in the second round proposal “all dependents would be eligible for the additional credit, not just those under 17.” The second check’s dependent allotment would be worth $1,200 instead of $500 like the last round. “Each household could receive a maximum of three dependent credits,” CNBC reported.
The bill’s summary says it “provides additional direct payments of up to $1,200 per individual.”
That’s not all. According to Novoco.com, “Dependents over 17 would become eligible for the $500 per child sent to families under the CARES Act, allowing college students and adult dependents to receive catch-up payments.”
In a May 14 news release, U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-Maine) said the bill would “deliver a second round of stimulus payments, up to $1,200 for a single filer and $2,400 for joint filers, in addition to $1,200 per dependent up to a maximum of three dependents. Unlike the previously passed CARES Act, the Heroes Act would make all dependents eligible for a $1,200 Economic Impact Payment, including full-time students below age 24 and adult dependents.”
“Each recipient would receive an additional $1,200 for each dependent in the households, up to a maximum of three dependents. As such, the maximum payment would be $6,000 for households with five or more people,” explained AEI.org.
According to CNet, “You would also be able to claim children 17 and older, a departure from the first stimulus bill… The Heroes Act further proposes that group of dependents and eligible noncitizens receive retroactive payments to compensate for the first stimulus check that passed them by.”
Here’s what you need to know:
College Students Were Left Out Last Time But the Bill Faces Major Political Hurdles
The bill still needs to make it through the political process so the expansion to help college students who are adult dependents is far from certain. “So let me state the obvious. What Nancy Pelosi is proposing will never pass the Senate,” said Republican Sen. John Barrasso of Wyoming in a tweet shared by Senate Republicans.
Republicans have said they might not move on the legislation until after the Memorial Day recess in June, according to Vox. Top Republicans have been critical of the Democrats’ approach. “We have not yet felt the urgency of acting immediately. That time could develop, but I don’t think it has yet,” said Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, according to Politico. Senate Majority Whip John Thune (R-S.D.) told Politico the House bill is “more like a messaging document than anything else.” See the HEROES’ act legislation here.
According to NBC News, President Donald Trump called the bill “dead on arrival.”
AARP explained of round two, “Under the first round of stimulus payments, children under 17 qualified for only $500 each. The new legislation also would make adult dependents eligible for payments of $1,200 apiece, which could make a big difference for caregivers of older adults and parents of college-age students. One household could only receive payments for three dependents.”
U.S. Rep. Richard Neal told MassLive in early May the goal of a “more robust dependent child benefit” was to help college students, in part.
“We hope we can expand that to dependent children who are in college,” he said to MassLive. The Heroes Act would also extend student loan forgiveness.
The first stimulus check was clear on this point. Adult dependents (including but not limited to college students) didn’t qualify for stimulus checks. The New York Times stated this clearly about round one: “You can’t get a payment if someone claims you as a dependent, even if you’re an adult.”
That didn’t just apply to college students, of course. It applied 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 would get a round one 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 about the first round of checks. “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.”
In round one, families did get an extra $500 for each child but only those under age 17. The amount of the checks depended on a person’s income.
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