Coronavirus stimulus checks: Your age decides if you get your own check

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One major criticism leveled against the first stimulus checks was that it excluded many young adults from getting the payment. So, it wouldn’t be wrong to say that age could be a big criteria with the second coronavirus stimulus checks as well, if they a bill is passed. Though there is uncertainty over another round of stimulus checks yet, you should have an idea of the age criteria that may determine whether or not you get the direct payment.

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Age criteria for coronavirus stimulus checks

The lawful age to vote and drive is 18, but it wasn’t the qualifying age for getting the coronavirus stimulus checks under the CARES Act. Under the CARES Act, only the dependents below 17 qualified for the $500 payment.

This meant that millions of young Americans aged 17 to 24 were ineligible to get the stimulus payment as dependents. It is estimated that 13 million Americans belong to this category. This limit of 17 years that the CARES Act picked is based on the tax rules.

As per the tax-code, a child is anyone who has not reached 17, according to CNET. Also, there is a 1997 child tax credit that allows parents to get up to a $2,000 tax refund for a child below 17 years.

Since the CARES Act was based on this definition, it disqualified even 17 or 18-year-old high school students, who do live with a parent or guardian.

Talking of the eligibility criteria for the young adults, the CARES Act considered only those eligible for the full stimulus payments who filed federal tax returns for 2018 or 2019 and had an AGI (adjusted gross income) below $75,000. Those having AGI between $75,000 and $99,000, were eligible for a partial stimulus check.

Can young adults still get stimulus checks?

Under the current tax law, there are two more rules that decide who counts as an adult or a dependent. The first rule is the support test. In this, if you are unmarried, and the financial support you get from your parent is more than half of your income and your earnings in 2019 was below $4,200, then your parents can claim you as a dependent.

The second rule is the residency test. In this test, a full-time student, who is less than 24 years of age and lives with an adult taxpayer for more than half of the year, can be claimed as a dependent, according to CNET.

Can a young adult between age 17 and 24 still get the first coronavirus stimulus checks? Yes, they may still qualify for the stimulus checks provided they independently file for 2020 taxes in spring 2021. Such people will get checks of up to $1,200 sometime in 2021.

Similarly, they could qualify for the second stimulus checks as well (if Congress passes it). All these young adults need to do is file their taxes for 2020 independently.