California stimulus check: Eligibility, how fast your $600 payment could arrive and more

February 26, 2021 0 By boss

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Some Californians will get an extra $600 stimulus payment.


Sarah Tew/CNET

On Tuesday, California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a $7.6 billion coronavirus relief package into law, which will bring millions of residents an extra $600 stimulus check, on top of the first and second stimulus check provided by the federal government, as well as the potential third check for up to $1,400 that Congress is working on now.

California’s bill — called the Immediate Action Agreement, a version of the Golden State Stimulus plan Newsom introduced in January — was approved by state lawmakers on Monday. Along with the stimulus payments, it includes funding for small businesses, and adds resources for child-care services and emergency financial aid for community college students. “As millions of Californians are struggling to make ends meet amid the devastating impacts of this pandemic, we are taking immediate action in partnership with our legislative leadership to provide families and businesses the relief they need,” Newsom said in a press release Tuesday. 

If you’re one of California’s 40 million residents, you may be wondering: Am I eligible for an extra $600 payment? When will those checks get sent out? How would my payment arrive? Here’s everything we know right now. This story was recently updated. 

I live in California. How do I know if I’m eligible to get a $600 stimulus payment?

The law will send out a total of 5.7 million payments to low-income Californians, according to the release. The following California residents will be eligible for a $600 payment:

  • Those who qualify for the state Earned Income Tax Credit on their 2020 tax returns. Typically, this includes those with annual incomes below $30,000, and some undocumented and mixed-status families. Last year, 3.9 million people applied for the credit.
  • Those with Individual Tax Identification Numbers, or ITINs, as opposed to Social Security numbers, who were excluded from receiving a first federal stimulus check of up to $1,200, or a second federal stimulus check of up to $600. The agreement provides the $600 payments to households with ITINs and income below $75,000. 
  • Households enrolled in the CalWorks public assistance program.
  • Recipients of SSI/SSP.
  • Recipients of Cash Assistance Program for Immigrants, or CAPI.

Another detail: ITIN taxpayers who also qualify for the California Earned Income Tax Credit would receive a total of $1,200. The payments will be provided to these households shortly after they file their 2020 tax returns. (Here’s everything new you need to know about this year’s taxes.)


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When might my $600 stimulus check arrive? Will it be a check, direct deposit or something else?

According to the State of California Franchise Tax Board, payments will be issued after eligible 2020 tax returns are processed. Those who are qualified and set up direct deposit when they file their return can expect a payment within 45 days, and those who do not have direct deposit will receive a paper check within 60 days. 

Here is a more specific timeline for when you might receive your payment, according to data from the California Department of Finance collected by CalWorks

  • Low-income workers eligible for the state Earned Income Tax Credit: Four to five weeks after filing 2020 tax return, if you have direct deposit. Six to seven weeks after filing, if you need the check mailed.
  • Undocumented workers with ITINs: Four to five weeks after filing 2020 tax return, if you have direct deposit. Six to seven weeks after filing, if you need the check mailed.
  • CalWorks recipients: By mid-April.
  • Recipients of SSI/SSP and CAPI: Unclear; timing depends on coordination with the Social Security Administration, according to the state.

The money should arrive to those eligible automatically after filing your tax return. The payment expires on Nov. 15, according to the Tax Board — to make sure you get yours, file your 2020 tax return by the extension deadline of Oct. 15 (the regular deadline without an extension is April 15). 

Will this extra $600 change my eligibility for a third federal stimulus check of up to $1,400? 

California’s $600 payments are separate from President Joe Biden’s proposed third stimulus check of up to $1,400 per person. Assuming the federal check is passed, most of the California recipients of the $600 payment would also likely be eligible for the $1,400 payment as well, if the current proposal to target payments to those under certain income limits and their dependents holds. 

Here’s everything we know about the third stimulus check so far, and when the IRS could send it out

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