Earlier this year the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued federal stimulus checks to individuals and families across the country, but many individuals were unfortunately excluded due to their incarceration status. If you received a federal stimulus check earlier this year, this information does not pertain to you, but we are sharing this information with alumni released between 2017 and this week in the event it applies to you.
If you are on parole, supervised release, released from all restrictions, and/or your record has been expunged and you did not receive a federal stimulus check this past spring this information may apply to you. A federal judge recently ordered the U.S. Department of Treasury, the U.S. Internal Revenue Service, and the United States of America to stop withholding CARES Act stimulus funds from justice-involved.
What does this mean for you?
- Eligible individuals may receive up to $1,200 or $2,400 for married couples filing jointly, plus $500 per qualifying child.
- If eligible, we strongly recommend you file a claim prior to October 30th as the U.S. government may appeal the court’s decision.
Who is eligible?
Individuals who meet all of the criteria below are eligible.
- You are a U.S. Citizen or Permanent Resident
- You were not claimed by someone else on their tax return
- You filed taxes in 2018 or 2019 or were exempt from doing so because you earned less than $12,200 (or $24,400 if filing jointly)
- You are not married to someone who lacks a social security number, or have a child who lacks one, UNLESS you or your spouse served in the Armed Forces in 2019
I am eligible. How can I file a claim?
- If you do not have access to the internet, you must file a paper claim and have it postmarked by October 30th. More information can be found at https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/file-a-simplified-paper-tax-return.
- If you are able to file online, you have until November 21st to file your claim. We strongly recommend that you file your claim by October 30th. Please visit https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus/non-filers-enter-payment-info-here for more information.
- If you filed a 2018 or 2019 tax return or receive Social Security Benefits or Railroad Retirement Board Benefits, you do not need to file a claim. A check will be sent to you.
What information will I need to fill out the form?
- Full name, mailing address and email address
- Date of birth and valid Social Security number: You must have one in order to receive a payment unless you have an ITIN and are married to a military member. Qualifying children can have an Adoption Taxpayer Identification Number.
- For each qualifying child: name, Social Security number or Adoption Taxpayer Identification Number and their relationship to you or your spouse
- Bank account and routing number. If you do not have a bank account, the IRS will mail a check to you.
How can I track the claim?
- You may track your claim online via the IRS payment tracker.
Can BPI help me complete the form?
While BPI cannot provide you with legal and/or tax advice, we are fully cognizant of the challenges you and your family face. We recommend you visit the websites listed below for additional information and/or guidance. Please note the IRS website is being updated to reflect the latest information regarding justice-involved individuals.
- IRS – Economic Impact Payment Information Center — Topic B: Requesting my Economic Impact Payment
- Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein Attorneys at Law – CARES Act for Incarcerated People
What if I filed in the spring and my claim was rejected?
The court ordered the IRS to automatically reprocess claims that were previously rejected. Additional information can be found at https://www.lieffcabraser.com/cares-act-relief/
What is BPI doing to help those incarcerated?
A federal judge ordered all U.S. correctional facilities to provide information and the forms to those incarcerated. Correctional facilities will notify individuals and deposit the check in their accounts.