New $600 stimulus checks for Californians: Who is eligible and what we know so far

February 20, 2021 0 By boss



Some Californians could get an extra $600 stimulus payment.

Sarah Tew/CNET

California lawmakers on Wednesday passed a $9.6 billion coronavirus relief package, which could 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 Gov. Gavin Newsom introduced last month — would also increase aid to small businesses, and add resources for child-care services and emergency financial aid for community college students. “As we continue to fight the pandemic and recover, I’m grateful for the Legislature’s partnership to provide urgent relief and support for California families and small businesses where it’s needed most,” Newsom said in a press release. The proposal is expected to get final approval from California’s government next week, and appears to have wide support from state leaders, so will likely go into effect. 

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 so far. 

I live in California. Am I eligible to get a $600 stimulus payment?

The agreement 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.)

When will the $600 stimulus check get sent out? And how might the payment arrive? 

It’s important to note that while lawmakers have agreed on the proposal, the government still needs to vote to approve it, which Newsom hopes will happen next week, but could be delayed. 

Newsom’s original Golden State Stimulus proposal introduced in January stipulated that the payments would be sent out to tax year 2019 California Earned Income Tax Credit recipients in February and March, and that ITIN taxpayers would receive the payment as an additional tax refund after they file their 2020 tax return this year. 

In its most recent release announcing the agreement, Newsom’s office did not specify when the $600 payment would get sent out for most people, or what form it would take (for example, the federal stimulus checks arrived via direct deposit, mailed check or EIP debit card). However, the release did say the payments for CalWorks households are expected by mid-April, and the timing for the delivery for SSI/SSP and CAPI recipients is still under discussion with federal officials. 

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

If California’s plan is approved, the $600 payments will be separate from President Joe Biden’s proposed third stimulus check of up to $1,400 per person. Assuming both checks are 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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