Prisoners Ruled Eligible for Economic Stimulus Checks

Please Note: ODLC is unable to assist prisoners applying for stimulus payments, or provide advice regarding these applications.

On September 24, 2020, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California issued an injunction, and certified a class of prisoners incarcerated from at least March 27, 2020, that enjoins the U.S. Treasury from withholding Covid-19 stimulus checks from prisoners.

Claims must be filed before October 15, 2020 (according to the most recent information).

People who did not file a 2018 or 2019 tax return are urged to file a claim with the IRS before October 15, 2020, in order to receive a payment. If the prisoner filed a 2018 or 2019 tax return or received Social Security Benefits or Railroad Retirement Board Benefits, they do not need to file a claim. However, if they did not file a 2018 or 2019 tax return and their income was below $12,200 (or $24,400 if filing jointly) in 2019, then a claim must be filed through the IRS’s website.

Prisoners without access to the internet can have someone file a claim for them, or they can complete a paper application. The instructions for a paper application are available here.

You can read a copy of Judge Hamilton’s full Order.

More information on the recent ruling regarding prisoners and CARES Act stimulus checks can be found here.