Stimulus Checks: Do Prisoners Get Payments?

While coronavirus has become the most searched term over the past few months, stimulus check is right behind it as many Americans first sought to learn more about the first round of financial help and later wanted answers as to when a second check would come. With the stimulus package, many quirks have been discovered over the last few months, one of which has to do with the incarcerated.

Prisoners ended up receiving stimulus checks. This wasn’t against anything written in the package because there was nothing in the legislation that specifically excluded those in prison. That being said, the IRS utilized the Social Security Act to demand the return of all of those payments. The Social Security Act prevents people in jail from being able to receive any benefit payments, which the IRS says the stimulus checks would fall under. It’s estimated that tens of thousands of dollars have been amassed in these payments to those incarcerated as part of the $2.2 trillion package that was passed in March.

Speaking with Daily News, IRS spokesman Eric Smith said there is language that resembles what is noted in the Social Security Act that gives them the grounds for demanding the checks back. Smith, though, didn’t go any further in explaining the legal basis of it all. The payments have reportedly been collected by various states, including Kansas, where up to $200,000 was intercepted. Another $23,000 was found in Washington prisons.

With the uncertainty of the legality behind prisoners having payments taken away, if a second stimulus goes through, it’s likely that some type of legislation would be instilled to cover their bases in case another fiasco like this were to occur. As for when and what a second stimulus package would look like, President Donald Trump is anticipating one coming soon and has already voiced his support for providing more financial help for the country. Though some on social suspect his willingness to provide money for the economy may have conflicting reasons, many more are eager to get another set of checks in the mail. While a bill has not been passed, the latest conversation around a second check sees a cap on income for eligibility with it being set at households that earn $40,000 or less. If this ends up being the case, many Americans who received the first checks would end up missing out on a second go-around of help from the President.