California stimulus checks: These Social Security recipients qualify for Golden State payments

California

California has distributed over 5.5 million Golden State Stimulus II checks to date, more than half of the payments that are expected to be issued under the program.

But there’s still some confusion about who’s receiving the infusion of funds, including whether Social Security recipients will get them.

The short answer is, some do and others don’t.

That’s because under the guidelines set forth by the state, only certain Social Security beneficiaries are eligible for California’s stimulus checks.

Who qualifies:

Californians who get Social Security payments ARE eligible for a stimulus check of up to $1,100 ($600 for themselves, $500 for a qualifying dependent) provided that they meet all qualifications AND they reported other sources of income with an adjusted gross income (AGI) between $1 and up to $75,000 on their 2020 tax return. The state notes that in calculating a person’s AGI, Social Security is not included.

The California Franchise Tax Board on its website has a hypothetical instance in which a Social Security beneficiary would qualify for a GSS II payment.

Under their scenario, someone with a savings account gets $2,700 a month in Social Security. That person reports $32,400 in Social Security income and taxable interest of $12.37 from the bank account on their 2020 tax return. That interest is counted toward the California AGI, therefore making the individual eligible for the payment (assuming they met all the other requirements, which can be found below).

Who doesn’t qualify?

If Social Security is the person’s ONLY form of income, he or she does NOT qualify for a GSS II payment, even if they meet every other eligibility requirement.

Along with Social Security, there are other types of income excluded from someone’s AGI: CalWorks and CalFresh benefits; Supplemental Security Income (SSI)/State Supplementary Payment (SSP) and Cash Assistance Program for Immigrants (CAPI); State Disability Insurance (SDI) and VA disability benefits; and unemployment.

Eligibility requirements:

For Social Security recipients who reported earnings of $1 to $75,000 on their 2020 tax return, these are the additional qualifications: they must have been a California resident for most of last year and still live in the state, have a Social Security Number (SSN) or an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN), and can’t be claimed as a dependent by another taxpayer.

Still unsure if you qualify? California has an online tool that helps answer that question.

And if you think you qualify but haven’t received a GSS II payment, the state expects to issue the stimulus checks through the beginning of next year.

And for those seeking further information on the GSS II program, full details can be found on the Tax Board’s comprehensive guide here.

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