Next Stimulus Check Likely to Include College Students, Dependent Adults

A mother hugs her adult, college-aged child in their home.
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This post refers to stimulus checks issued in 2020. For the most up-to-date info, check out our recent tax articles.

The first stimulus checks left out a huge group of people: anyone over age 17 who was claimed as a dependent.

That meant many college students, older adults and people with disabilities couldn’t get $1,200 stimulus checks under the CARES Act. And while parents got a $500 child credit for dependent children 16 and younger, people with dependents age 17 and older didn’t qualify for the additional credit.

But both Republicans and Democrats have a plan to make sure this group isn’t left out of the next round of payments. Here’s what each party is proposing.

How Much Stimulus Money Could Dependents Get?

Democrats wanted $1,200 for every individual, including children and adults who are claimed as dependents with a cap of $6,000 per family. They included the expanded stimulus payments in the HEROES Act, which passed the House of Representatives in May but was rejected right away by the Republican-led Senate.

The Republican HEALS Act that was released Monday night calls for extending the $500 credits that were previously limited to kids under 17 to dependents of any age.

Stimulus checks are an advance on a temporary 2020 tax credit. That means that if you can no longer be claimed as a dependent for 2020 and you file your own tax return next year, it’s possible that you’d get two $1,200 payments as a tax refund.

The payments are part of a broader relief bill that still needs to clear both the House and Senate, then go to the White House for approval. Discussions are expected to extend into August and possibly longer if lawmakers don’t reach an agreement before a four-week recess that’s scheduled to begin Aug. 10.

Robin Hartill is a certified financial planner and a senior editor at The Penny Hoarder. She writes the Dear Penny personal finance advice column. Send your tricky money questions to [email protected].