Are immigrants eligible for the stimulus check?

Updated 3/24/21

Congress has passed three rounds of stimulus checks – the first for $1,200, the second for $600, and the third for $1,400. Read more about the second and third stimulus check.

Eligibility requirements for the stimulus checks vary slightly. File a tax return if anyone in your household has a Social Security number. You are eligible for stimulus payments if:

  • You (and your spouse, if filing jointly) are under the income limit.
  • You are not claimed as a dependent on someone else’s tax return.
  • You or your spouse has a Social Security Number (SSN). For the third stimulus check, you can receive $1,400 for each dependent with an SSN, even if you (and your spouse, if married) have Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITINs). More details on SSN requirements are discussed below.
  • You are a U.S. citizen, permanent resident, or qualifying resident alien.

The following chart compares income requirements for the three stimulus checks:

Income to Receive Full Stimulus Payment (first, second, and third check) First Stimulus Check Maximum Income Limit Second Stimulus Check Maximum Income Limit Third Stimulus Check Maximum Income Limit
Single Filer $0 – $75,000 $99,000 $87,000 $80,000
Married Filing Jointly $0 – $112,500 $198,500 $174,000 $160,000
Head of Household $0 – $150,000 $146,000 $124,000 $120,000

Social Security Number rules for the first and second stimulus checks

The eligibility rules differ for the third stimulus check and the first and second stimulus checks.

If you are not married and filing taxes as head of household, you must have an SSN to get the first and second stimulus checks.

If you are married filing jointly, only the spouse with the SSN will receive the first and second stimulus check. The exception to this rule is if one of you is in the military, then you are both eligible for both stimulus checks, even if one of you has an ITIN and one of you has an SSN.

Previously, for the first stimulus check, both spouses needed to have SSNs. If you were denied your first stimulus payment because both you and your spouse did not have SSNs, you can claim both the first and second stimulus checks as the Recovery Rebate Tax Credit on your 2020 tax return. See the chart and examples below for further explanation of how this works.

Your children’s status does not affect your eligibility if you meet the other requirements. However, you will only get the additional payment for dependents – $500 (first stimulus check) or $600 (second stimulus check) – for children who have an SSN or Adoption Taxpayer Identification Number (ATIN), not an ITIN. A child must be related to you (by blood, marriage, or adoption), under the age of 17, live with you for over half the year, have a Social Security number, and be claimed as your dependent.

Example:

John and Mary are married and filed their taxes jointly. Mary has an SSN and John does not. Mary is eligible for a second stimulus check of $600 even though John is ineligible. Since the SSN rule change is retroactive, Mary can also get the first stimulus check of $1,200 as the Recovery Rebate Credit when she and John file their 2020 tax return.

Social Security Number Rules for the Third Stimulus Check

Any family member that has a Social Security number (SSN) can qualify for the third stimulus check. For example, in a household where both parents have ITINs, and their children have SSNs, the children qualify for stimulus checks, even though the parents don’t.

You can claim the third stimulus check for dependents of any age who live with you, not only children. Dependents must have an SSN or ATIN.

Example:

Louis and Gloria are married and file their taxes jointly. Both Gloria and Louis have ITINs. They live with and provide for Gloria’s mother, Marta, who has an SSN. Louis and Gloria are eligible for a $1,400 stimulus check because Marta is their dependent.

First and Second Stimulus Check Third Stimulus Check
Mixed Status Family (Married Filing Jointly) If one spouse doesn’t have an SSN, the spouse with an SSN and qualifying children with an SSN or ATIN can get stimulus.

 

Any family member with an SSN or ATIN can get the stimulus.
Military Family (Married Filing Jointly) If one spouse doesn’t have an SSN, both spouses can receive the stimulus (including the spouse without an SSN). If one spouse doesn’t have an SSN, both spouses can receive the stimulus (including the spouse without an SSN).

Need help? 

If you need help claiming your first and second payment as the Recovery Rebate tax credit on your 2020 tax return, you can:

If you’ve never filed taxes before, you will need to get an ITIN.


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