College students who are still listed as dependents on tax forms won’t receive a check
The $2 trillion stimulus check to boost the economy during the COVID-19 pandemic, known as the CARES Act, was signed into law on March 27 but won’t pay out to college students over 16 who are still listed as dependents.
Many students agree that the tax-dependent system is flawed, given that many students legally considered dependents are, in reality, financially independent.
“It should be more discretionary than people who are legally considered dependent,” senior HAB and biomedical sciences major James Stebbins said. “There are many people who are at least financially independent and are unemployed and struggling without the aid.”
The act gives $1,200 to every single adult, $2,400 to married couples and an additional $500 per child additional to parents with children under 17.
Payments will also be determined by tax brackets, with single adults earning over $99,000 per year and married couples earning $198,000 per year not eligible for any amount. Singles earning $75,000 per year and couples earning $150,000 per year will be eligible for the full amount, with incomes between the full payment and phase-out amounts receiving $5 less per every $100 they earn above the full payment line.
Junior biology major Alex Vincze, a student veteran not legally considered a dependent, will receive a stimulus check but does not believe the amount is sufficient to keep most Americans afloat throughout the pandemic.
“We’re supposed to be quarantined for at least a month, and $1,200 is not enough,” Vincze said. “It’s essentially just enough to keep the lights on.”
Anyone 17 years of age or older who is still claimed as a dependent will receive no check, and those claiming them as dependents will not receive an additional $500.
This affects the majority of college students, who are listed as dependents because they qualify in four areas: relationship, age, residency and support.
A dependent must be a familial relative, supported in more than half their income, and reside with the claimers more than half the year. The dependent must also be under age 24 if they are a student.
Many students feel that the government’s decision not to include adult dependents in the stimulus package defines them as lesser citizens.
“College students are some of the most precariously placed people in the country from an economic perspective,” junior politics, philosophy and the public and economics majors Tristian Weber said. “It’s ridiculous that as a tax-paying citizen, I am not a worthwhile citizen to get a stimulus check.”
“Most politicians see the fact that many college students don’t vote, then they sacrifice us… they don’t really see the need to advocate for our desires,” Weber continued.
Some students, however, feel that their level of dependence on their parents makes them less deserving of CARES Act checks than nondependents.
“I think that there are for sure college freshmen out there who need stimulus checks,but there are more students who don’t deserve one than students who do,” first-year PPP major Wyatt Schline said. “I in no way feel entitled to one because I’m living at home, not paying for food, utilities, clothing.”
The IRS plans to begin sending stimulus checks to eligible recipients on April 9, though it could take up to six weeks for some to receive the money.