This isn’t the first time the state issued direct payments to residents; you may remember the Golden State Stimulus program of 2021, that sent checks to millions of lower and middle-income Californians. But there are major differences between the Golden State Stimulus checks and the inflation relief checks expected to be sent out soon – and this time around, many more people qualify.
One major change concerns Californians who rely exclusively on social security, disability or other sources of public assistance as their source of income. With the Golden State Stimulus, people whose sole source of income was public assistance were not eligible for a payment, because their tax forms showed $0 of California Adjusted Gross Income (or CA AGI). Californians needed between $1 and $75,000 of income to qualify for the Golden State Stimulus.
However, with the Middle Class Tax Refund this year, even people who reported $0 of AGI on their 2020 taxes qualify for a payment. The payments range from $200 to $1,050, depending on your income, filing status and dependents.
An individual who relies exclusively on social security or disability as their income, and therefore had a CA AGI or $0 in 2020, will receive $350 if they do not claim a dependent, or $700 if they have at least one dependent, according to the Franchise Tax Bureau.
A couple filing jointly who relies solely on social security or disability will receive $700 without dependents or $1,050 with at least one dependent.
The Franchise Tax Bureau reminds Californians there are other criteria people need to meet to receive a check, including residency requirements and tax deadlines.
Overall, the state estimates more than 23 million people will receive a payment. The payments will go out starting in October, the state says.
Editor’s note: This story was updated to reflect the amount received by a couple filing jointly who relies solely on social security or disability.