Are immigrants eligible for the stimulus check?

Updated 1/19/21

Congress has passed two stimulus rounds of stimulus checks – the first for $1,200, and the second for $600. Details on the second stimulus check can be found here.

Eligibility requirements for the stimulus checks vary slightly. You are eligible for both 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). 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 first and second stimulus checks:

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

Source

If you’re filing single or head of household

You are eligible if you have an SSN and meet the other requirements. If your children have SSNs and meet other requirements, you will also receive an additional $500 for each child for the first stimulus check, and $600 for each child for the second stimulus check.

If you’re married and one spouse has an SSN and one spouse has an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN)

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. In a mixed status couple, the spouse with the SSN was only eligible if they filed separately (with an exception for people in the military)

The expanded SSN rules for the second stimulus check are retroactive and now apply to the first stimulus check. If you were denied your first stimulus payment because both you and your spouse did not have SSNs, you can claim your first stimulus check as the Recovery Rebate Tax Credit on your 2020 tax return. See the chart and examples below for further explanation of how this works.

First Stimulus Second Stimulus
Mixed Status Family (Married Filing Jointly) Former rule: If one spouse does not have an SSN, both spouses cannot receive the stimulus.

Current rule: same as second stimulus.

If one spouse doesn’t have an SSN, the spouse with an SSN and qualifying children with an SSN or ATIN can get stimulus.

 

Military Family (Married Filing Jointly) Former rule: If one spouse does not have an SSN, only the spouse with an SSN can receive a stimulus.

Current rule: same as second stimulus.

If one spouse doesn’t have an SSN, both spouses can receive the stimulus (including the spouse without an SSN).

Examples

Former first stimulus check rules:

John and Mary are married and filed their taxes jointly. Mary has an SSN and John does not. John and Mary are ineligible for the first stimulus check and miss out on $2,400.

Second stimulus check rules:

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.

Former first and second stimulus check rules for military filers:

If Mary is an active member of the military, under the former first stimulus rules, Mary could claim the $1,200 payment for herself, even though John did not have an SSN. Under the second stimulus rules, because Mary is an active member of the military and has an SSN, John and Mary can each receive a second stimulus payment of $600, totaling $1,200 for the couple.

If you have children

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.

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:


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