Legislative Fix to Aid Families with Adult Dependents During COVID-19

Many Disabled Individuals Are Not Eligible for Stimulus Payments

On March 31st, Representatives Lauren Underwood (D-IL) and Angie Craig (D-MN) introduced the All Dependent Children Count Act (H.R. 6420) into the House of Representatives. This bipartisan bill aims to expand eligibility for stimulus payments under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which was passed on March 27th to remediate the economic fallout from the Coronavirus pandemic. The $2 trillion CARES Act provides payments of $1200 per adult and $500 per child (under 17) for most taxpayers whose incomes are below $75,000 for single taxpayers and $150,000 for married taxpayers.

However, CARES did not grant payments for dependents over the age of 16, college students or dependent adults, such as those with disabilities. Although disabled individuals who receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) are eligible under the law to receive a stimulus payment, there is a caveat, these individuals cannot be claimed as a dependent on a tax return by anyone else. This stipulation leaves many disabled adults without stimulus payment relief.

In a statement, Rep. Angie Craig provided reasons why she co-authored H.R. 6420. She explained, “In the middle of a pandemic, we need to look out for our working families and make sure we are doing everything we can to provide financial support to those most in need. When I learned that we were leaving out dependents over 17 and students up to age 24 as well as the disabled, I knew we needed to introduce legislation to fix this immediately. I urge the House to take up this legislation as quickly as possible or to correct this retroactively to the CARES Act in the next bill.”

H.R. 6420 currently has 149 bipartisan cosponsors and has received a single referral to the House Committee on Ways and Means. A companion bill, sponsored by Senator Tina Smith (D-MN) and cosponsored by Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) has been drafted but has not been introduced. The yet to be numbered Senate bill has already gained 14 other Senators in support.

The National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS) is advocating for H.R. 6420 to be passed. The organization encourages their families to contact their congressional representatives to not only support the bill, but to expand the types of dependents who are eligible. A NDSS alert stated, “Individuals with Down syndrome and their families have been significantly impacted by COVID-19. Many have lost their jobs and providing care for someone with complex medical needs is costly. This economic relief money should not be denied to those who need it most.”

Disability Scoop reports that individuals who receive SSI and are not considered dependents should receive their CARES Act payment by early May. Stimulus funds should be delivered the same way as they receive their regular SSI payment. Fortunately, this payment will not be considered income for SSI recipients and the funds will be excluded from resources for 12 months.

References

Press Release. Congresswoman Angie Craig Introduces The All Dependent Children Count Act to Cover Dependents Up to Age 24. March 31, 2020.

NDSS. Cosponsor and Include H.R. 6420, the All Dependent Children Count Act, in the next COVID-19 Relief Package. NDSS Advocacy Alert.

Shaun Heasley. Stimulus Payments May Be Extended To Dependents With Disabilities. Disability Scoop. April 29, 2020.

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