1,400 Stimulus Checks: Who Exactly Qualifies for a Payout?

1,400 Stimulus Checks: Who Exactly Qualifies for a Payout?

What’s the eligibility status if one isn’t a U.S. citizen or is currently living in a U.S. territory?

Roughly one hundred fifty-six million coronavirus stimulus checks worth $372 billion have already been sent out to cash-hungry Americans.

And many might believe that these much-needed cash payments are only reserved for American taxpayers residing in the United States—so what’s the eligibility status if one isn’t a U.S. citizen or is currently living in a U.S. territory?

According to the Internal Revenue Service, it appears that any lawful permanent resident with a valid Social Security number who pays taxes in the United States is entitled to the stimulus check. These particular residents are individuals who are legally residing permanently in the country as an immigrant, and they are generally given an alien registration card, also known as a green card.

Keep in mind that it is possible, though, to be a qualifying resident alien without having a green card. The IRS says that this includes people who are physically present in the United States on at least thirty-one days during the current year, one hundred eighty-three days in the past three years, including the current year, and possess a Social Security number. They also cannot be claimed as a dependent by another taxpaying individual.

This all means that undocumented immigrants and immigrants who file their annual taxes with an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) are not eligible for the cash.

However, one notable difference compared to the CARES Act concerns families with mixed immigration status. Before, if one family member filed tax returns with an ITIN, that disqualified the entire family from receiving any stimulus payments. The American Rescue Plan now includes those families. 

Even as a non-U.S. citizen, know that there are still income thresholds that one must meet in order to qualify for the direct payments. Individuals who earn as much as $75,000 in adjusted gross income (AGI), or couples making $150,000—in addition to their children or adult dependents—qualify for the full $1,400 per individual. Moreover, single parents with at least one dependent who earn $112,500 or less also get the full amount.

As for those who live in the U.S. territories of American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Northern Mariana Islands, or the U.S. Virgin Islands, they should expect to receive their stimulus checks in early June, according to the Social Security Administration (SSA).

However, know that those who are residing in a Freely Associated State— Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, or the Republic of Palau—may not be entitled to the funds.

Also, one must keep in mind that the IRS does not distribute the stimulus payments to overseas territories—this particular endeavor is undertaken by local tax authorities based on information provided by the IRS. Therefore, in order to claim the stimulus cash, one must contact their local tax authority.

Ethen Kim Lieser is a Minneapolis-based Science and Tech Editor who has held posts at Google, The Korea Herald, Lincoln Journal Star, AsianWeek, and Arirang TV. Follow or contact him on LinkedIn.