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Mixed Status Citizenship and Incentive Checks: What You Need to Know Before Your Next Payment



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More incentive checks could go to more mixed citizenship families.

Sarah Tew / CNET

About the first two stimulus controls, Congress passed the eligibility rules for how those who are and are not American citizens qualified for payments, creating a sometimes confusing set of guidelines for which individuals and families could receive incentive money. But President Joe Biden’s proposal for one third stimulus check can benefit families with mixed-status citizenship initially in both the first and the second check.

If it becomes part of the last incentive bill, the move to include mixed status families in the new, upcoming stimulus check would extend to millions. The National Immigration Forum estimates that 16.2 million people in the US live in mixed status families, of which 14.4 million are excluded from payment.

The rules all around that meets the requirement for payment are already confusing. We help you figure out the admission requirements we know so far for households where at least one person is not a U.S. citizen, including the IRS definition, which families were and were not eligible for the first two payments, and how qualifications could change with one possible third stimulus control.

What is a blended status family for incentive payments?

The federal government categorizes families whose members have different nationality and immigration classifications as “mixed status.” Keep in mind that a mixed-status family wants to be eligible for incentive money if one member must have a Social Security number. A household where every family member has a foreign national, resident or not having an ITIN or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, instead of a Social Security number, would not meet this requirement.

Here are some examples of mixed-status families who would qualify for a stimulus check, where at least one household member has a Social Security number:

  • One spouse is a United States citizen with a Social Security number and the other spouse is not a citizen and does not have a Social Security number.
  • One spouse is a “legal permanent resident” with a Social Security number and the other is not a citizen and does not have a Social Security number.
  • Neither parent is a U.S. citizen or “ legal permanent resident ” with a Social Security number, and a child is a U.S.-born citizen with a Social Security number.

We have a handy guide with the ways non-residents may and may not be eligible for payments.


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Which mixed-status households were eligible for the first and second payout? Is the incentive money retroactive?

At the first incentive check of the CARES Act, only those with a Social Security number were eligible for benefits. This eligibility requirement could also include “aliens” with a Social Security number, the IRS said. But “non-resident aliens” were not eligible. Couples filing jointly were excluded from checks if one spouse did not have a Social Security number. For married couples who filed separately, only the spouse with the Social Security number qualified. Dependents in mixed status families were also excluded.

With the second check, Congress opened the requirements (PDF) to married couples filing jointly where one spouse has a Social Security number and the other spouse does not. A married couple in a mixed-status household filing jointly would be eligible for a second payment of $ 600, just like they would any eligible dependent with a social security number. If the couple files separately, only the spouse with a Social Security number is eligible.

The December Incentive Act also made the mixed status qualifications retroactive for the first payments. Now an eligible family can apply jointly claim missing first round payments of up to $ 1,200 per couple and $ 500 for each eligible dependent on their taxes this year have a Refund Discount.

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Mixed status families may be eligible for incentive money.

Sarah Tew / CNET

What would a third stimulus check do for a mixed-status family?

Before being sworn in as president on January 20, Biden rolled out his $ 1.9 trillion stimulus package that suggested a third stimulus check in front of $ 1,400 per person. This third round of payments would, according to an outline of the plan (PDF), “extend eligibility to adult dependents who have been excluded from previous rounds of relief and all mixed-status households.”

Biden and his administration did not provide details during the rollout as to who would be involved in the expansion and whether there would be a retroactive payment.

While we wait to hear more, here’s the latest on the timeline for a third stimulus check, and how much money your household could make expect to receive with a payment of $ 1,400.


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