Coronavirus: Sen. Tina Smith to introduce a bill to make older youth, adult dependents eligible for stimulus payments


 U.S. Senator Tina Smith (D-Minn.) has introduced a legislative fix that would include dependents 17 and older in direct payments from the bipartisan coronavirus relief package, the CARES Act. The legislation was signed into law last week.

Sen. Smith’s bill, the All Dependents Count Act, has 14 original cosponsors, including Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) and Democratic presidential contender Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Related Story: Coronavirus stimulus checks are coming soon: Here’s what to expect

Minnesota House  Representative Angie Craig (2nd District DFL) and 86 others introduced the All Dependent Children Count Act in the US House of Representatives.

“In the middle of a pandemic, we need to look out for our working families and make sure we are doing everything we can to provide financial support to those most in need,” said Rep. Craig.

Under the CARES Act, an economic stimulus payment of $1,200 per adult and $500 per child will go to most taxpayers with incomes below $75,000 for single taxpayers and $150,000 for married taxpayers. The payment is structured as a tax refund and administered by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

Under current law, no credit is allowed for dependents older than 16. This leaves out most of the nation’s high school juniors and seniors, the majority of whom are 17 and older and live at home. As it stands, it also leaves out college students, and other dependent adults, such as a disabled parent cared for by the taxpayer—even though a taxpayer is providing the majority of the dependent’s financial support.

Incidentally, these dependents aren’t eligible to claim the credit for themselves on their own returns either, which is a disadvantage to adult dependents and their parents and caretakers.

The All Dependents Count Act would expand eligibility for the $500 credit so that a taxpayer will receive a $500 credit for all dependents they care for—not just children age 16 and under.    

“As Minnesotans face an unprecedented health and economic crisis due to coronavirus; I’m committed to helping folks get assistance from the most recent bipartisan stimulus package,” said Sen. Smith.

“It’s deeply unfair to Minnesota families that no credit is available for dependents 17 and older, including older children with disabilities and college students. My legislative fix will right this wrong and—more importantly—offer some additional relief to families.”

Sen. Smiths’ legislation will expand the definition of a dependent for the Recovery Rebates for Individual sections of the CARES Act to include more than under-16 children dependents.