Lawmakers Say Domestic Violence Survivors Should Get Stimulus Payments Immediately

A group of Lawmakers say that domestic violence survivors should get new stimulus payments immediately, due to evidence that their initial payments were taken by their abusers. According to Forbes, the bipartisan collective of politicians has sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig, urging them both to resolve this issue by sending new checks to the individuals affected. The group cites reports from many social workers who have encountered the situations in their cases.

"Congress passed the bipartisan CARES Act to swiftly deliver money into the hands of our most vulnerable constituents, and we cannot leave out survivors of domestic violence," they group of Democrat and Republican lawmakers — led by Reps. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), Gwen Moore (D-Wis.) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.) — wrote, referring to the $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief package that passed in March. The group explained in its letter that caseworkers have tried to help abuse victims who have had their stimulus checks taken or intercepted by their abusers. "This suggestion is simply untenable and ignores the hardship that these individuals face each day," the lawmakers stated. "Further, it forgets those victims who are not married to their abusers but reside at the same address."

"Nearly all victims of domestic violence experience economic abuse, and many survivors stay with their abusers due to insufficient financial means to support themselves and their children. A $1,200 check could empower survivors to leave their abusive partners and provide them the support they need for a fresh start," the lawmakers also wrote.

The new bipartisan letter comes months after Sonya Passi, the founder and CEO of FreeForm, stated in July that says her organization has been contacted by at least 40 survivors who say their checks were kept from them by their abusers. FreeFrom is an organization that focuses on increasing financial security for domestic violence survivors. "A stimulus payment can make a huge difference in financially easing the burdens many survivors and their children are facing with remaining safe and secure economically," Passi told MarketWatch. "The pandemic has caused many survivors to fall further into debt and placed even more limitations on their ability to financially seek safety from abuse and harm."