Why you won’t receive a stimulus check if you married an immigrant

On Behalf of | May 13, 2020 | Citizenship

The CARES Act went into effect in March of this year. The aim of this act has been to provide financial relief to those affected by the coronavirus – from businesses to individuals. Under the act, each taxpayer with a Social Security Number (SSN) who earns less than $75,000 annually will receive a $1,200 stimulus check tax-free.

However, this benefit is not as cut and dried as it first seems. If you are married, and you filed your taxes jointly with your spouse last time, then you both have to have SSNs in order to receive the relief payment. This means that if you are an American citizen who’s married to a legal, tax-paying permanent resident – who is not a citizen and therefore does not have an SSN – then you get nothing.

Unequal treatment of citizens

This discovery has been a slap in the face to more than 1 million U.S. citizens across the country. There have been numerous stories coming out in recent weeks about hardworking Americans who are being unfairly prevented from receiving the economic relief they desperately need.

In the Midwest, a small business owner and mother of two is struggling to survive off of beans and rice because her husband’s immigrant status disqualifies them from a stimulus check. In Maryland, an ER nurse spent the last few months risking her own health to help treat patients infected with COVID-19. When her hospital was low on protective equipment, she used her own money to buy supplies to create makeshift masks and gowns. But her husband’s Honduran citizenship means her family won’t see a dime from the CARES Act.

Steps forward

A class-action lawsuit has been filed against the president for denying certain Americans of these benefits during such a critical time. Nonetheless, the question remains of how long it will take for the lawsuit to reach a resolution – and how much unnecessary suffering may occur in the meantime.