Are Immigrants Eligible for Coronavirus Act Checks?

Welcome back to the Immigration Lawyer Blog, where we discuss all things immigration. In this video, attorney Jacob Sapochnick discusses the new Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES) and answers a very important question: are immigrants eligible for CARES Act checks?

Keep watching for more information.


What is the CARES Act?

The CARES Act is a new piece of legislation passed by Congress and signed into law by the President that is designed to provide temporary emergency relief to certain individuals who qualify.

What does the Act do?

For single individuals earning less than $75,000 the Act authorizes a one-time payment of $1,200.

For married couples filing jointly who earn less than $150,000, the Act authorizes each spouse a one-time payment of $1,200 (total $2,400).

Families with children can expect to receive $500 for each child.

Example: A family of four earning less than $150,000 can expect to receive $3,400 under the Act.

Payments begin to phase out at $75,000 for single individuals, $122,500 for heads of household, and $150,000 for joint taxpayers. Single taxpayers with no children earning $99,000 or more and joint taxpayers earning $198,000 are not eligible for payments.

Are Immigrants Eligible for Checks?

The government will use 2019 or 2018 tax return filings to calculate payments advanced to taxpayers. Therefore, if you are an immigrant or non-immigrant who filed taxes you may receive these payments from the government.

In general, a person who is considered a “resident alien” is eligible to receive payments under the CARES Act if they are either (1) a green card holder (U.S. permanent or conditional resident) or (2) if they have had “substantial presence” in the United States, have a social security number, and meet the income requirements described above.

Example: If you are an H1B visa holder and you’ve filed taxes you are eligible. If you are a DACA holder and you’ve filed taxes, you are eligible. If you are a green card holder working in the US, you are eligible.

If I receive a check will I be considered a public charge?

No, because these payments are considered “tax credits,” receiving them does not make you a public charge.

Unemployment Benefits

In addition, workers may apply for unemployment benefits with their state unemployment office and receive 50% of their earnings plus $600 per week for up to four months until July 31st.

Generally, to collect unemployment benefits, you must show that you were in satisfactory immigration status and authorized to work in the United States when earning the wages, you used to establish your claim. You should contact your state unemployment agency to determine if you are eligible to apply based on your immigration status.

The CARES Act makes it easier for certain workers to receive unemployment such as self-employed workers, gig workers, independent contractors, and freelancers.

Other Relief

If you are a small business owner, the CARES Act also provides emergency relief for busineses through a small business loan program called the Paycheck Protection Program which provides loan forgiveness through June 30,2020 to small business who keep employees on their payroll for 8 weeks and use the money for payroll costs, rent, mortgage interest, or utilities.

For more information about the Payment Protection Program click here.

To read more about the CARES Act click here.

If you would like to begin your application process, please contact us at or call our office at 619-819-9204 for a consultation.

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