As millions of Americans across the country continue to receive direct federal stimulus payments of up to $1,400, some residents of California are also set to receive a direct state stimulus payment.
California announced recently that it has begun sending direct payments of either $600 or $1,200 to eligible Californians as part of its Golden State Stimulus program. Payments through this program are available for residents of the state whose 2020 tax returns indicate that they are recipients of the California Earned Income Tax Credit (CalEITC), available to low-income workers, or who filed their returns using an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN). ITINs are tax processing numbers issued by the IRS to individuals who do not have or are not able to obtain a Social Security number, and the inclusion of ITIN filers as part of the eligible pool of Californians for the Golden State Stimulus program means that undocumented residents of the state will be eligible for payment, even as they are ineligible for federal stimulus money.
Californians who qualify for payment through the Golden State Stimulus program can expect to receive either $600 or $1,200 based on a combination of their status as CalEITC recipients, whether or not they filed their 2020 tax returns using an ITIN, and whether or not they filed a joint tax return. This provides added incentive for residents of California to file their state tax returns during a year in which filing federal returns is even more important than usual.
It is expected that the Golden State Stimulus plan will cost the state of California more than $2 billion. It is important to note that Californians are eligible to receive payments of either $600 or $1,200 through the Golden State Stimulus program even if they are eligible for or have already received a third-round direct federal stimulus payment.
As hundreds of thousands of Californians look forward to receiving these extra stimulus payments, calls across the country for a further round of federal stimulus payments have been growing. An online petition calling for monthly $2,000 payments now has more than two million signatures, while Democratic members of Congress have repeatedly called on President Joe Biden to pursue such payments.
There are no indications that plans for additional direct federal stimulus payments are in the works, with White House press secretary Jen Psaki recently downplaying such a possibility. Instead, the Biden administration appears set to focus its efforts on generating support for its proposed tax and spending bills that it has argued will support long-term American economic recovery.
Eli Fuhrman is a contributing writer for the National Interest.