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What’s the Youngest Thing You Can Be To Get Your Own Stimulus Check Money?


Find out if you are eligible to do a stimulus check yourself or if you are classified as dependent.

Angela Lang / CNET

Congress is in session again this week, Negotiations continue about another Coronavirus Aid package and the second stimulus test that could possibly go along with it. The first stimulus payment included up to $ 1,200 to the qualified American adults, and $ 500 for the loved ones listed in their tax return for 2019 – as long as they were 16 years or younger. An estimated 13 million young people aged 17 to 24 who were also classified as dependents were not entitled to any incentive payments at all.

How old do you have to be to count as an adult and qualify for your own stimulus check? The answer can get complicated depending on your exact situation – for example, if you are a college student, live alone and have a job, if you are in the military, and if you are married or parents. What if you just got financially independent this year? Can you get this original stimulus payment of up to $ 1,200 retrospectively?

We’re still not sure who is or isn’t eligible for a second payment, and we won’t know until a final invoice is passed or the executive order is signed. (Here is how soon another check could come after it’s over.)

Read on for everything you need to know about how age affects eligibility to receive stimulus payments, and how this can affect a second stimulus payment. (We have a tool for that help you calculate how much incentive money you could get, also.)

Who counts as an adult entitled to stimulus money?

The first round of stimulus checks was sent out in March CARES Act were based on IRS definitions of adult age. To qualify for the stimulus review, you had to have independently filed your 2019 taxes, which means that you will not be claimed by anyone other than dependent on their taxes. You had to have one too adjusted gross income of under $ 75,000 to receive the full $ 1,200 (the amount will decrease as your AGI increases and if you earned more than $ 99,000 you were not eligible for a check).

According to Janet Holtzblatt, Senior Fellow at the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center, there are two different rules for people who are considered adults or dependents under applicable tax laws.

One is the support test. If you are unmarried, do not have children as your own dependents, your parents give you financial assistance of at least half of your annual income, and you earned less than $ 4,200 in 2019, your parents can continue to claim you as their dependent. Another is the residency test: if you are a full-time student under the age of 24 who resides with adult taxpayers for more than half the year (unless you live on a college campus), you may be claimed as a dependent no matter how much money you make.

However, that doesn’t necessarily mean your parents are Claim you as dependent. And there are some exceptions as well (read below).

If you are married or have a child that you claim is dependent, the IRS is likely to consider you independent – even if you are still in college.

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Why were 17 to 24 year olds not included in the first stimulus check?

People aged 17 to 24 were excluded from the CARES Act because the bill was based on a tax definition of “child” which states that a “qualified child … has not yet reached the age of 17”. This means that even 17- or 18-year-old students who clearly lived with a parent or guardian were excluded as dependents and not counted towards $ 500 towards the family check.

The reason for this age limit is because of the Child Tax Credit, established in 1997, which allows parents to receive a tax refund of up to $ 2,000 for each child under the age of 17 each year they submit. We can only speculate why that definition wasn’t extended to young adults, but the reason is likely the added cost to the federal government to expand the loan to more people, Holtzer said.

Can young adults get a second stimulus check?

It depends. If you became financially independent in 2020 and independently file your 2020 tax return in the spring of 2021, you will receive the first stimulus check of up to $ 1,200 sometime in 2021, Holtzer said. This can be the case if a second exam is passed. All you have to do is file your tax return for 2020 and meet the regular eligibility criteria for a business stimulus payment.

When filing taxes independently, the amount of money you receive on a second stimulus payment will depend on your funds adjusted gross incomewhich you can also find on your taxes. Check out our story how to calculate how much money you could get in a second check.

However, if a parent or legal guardian claims you are dependent on their taxes, you will not receive your own check. Since another stimulus check was not approved, we do not know exactly how much money is being given to dependents. Both of those Republican-backed HEALS and the Democrat-backed Heroes Acts Providing stimulus funds to dependents, including students and adult dependents. So if you are in that age group, 17 to 24 years old, you would likely count towards your parent or guardian’s stimulus payment. However, you would not see a check paid to you individually.

The exact details vary: under the HEALS Act, families would receive $ 500 per dependent with no limit on the number of dependents who could receive that money. Under the Heroes Act, families would receive $ 1,200 per dependent for up to three people. None of the proposals are likely to become law.


College students under the age of 24 may continue to be dependent on their parents or guardians.

Angela Lang / CNET

What if you are claimed to be dependent on your parents’ taxes but you work? Or did you go to college? Or both?

Even if you work full-time or go to college (or both), you are still considered dependent if you pass either the support test mentioned above or the residency test. Basically, if you rely on your parent or guardian for more than half of your financial support, if you earned less than $ 4,200 in 2019, and / or if you are a full-time student under the age of 24 who is living with a parent or legal guardian while doing so If you aren’t in school, you probably still qualify to be addicted.

However, dependents also have to file tax returns. Income for dependents falls into two categories: earned income (money from work) and unearned income (money from investments like the stock market). These filing requirements are based on income. So if a loved one receives earned or unearned income, he or his parents must file a tax return for him.

What if you are an emancipated minor?

If you were emancipated from your parents by court or by marriage (state laws apply in both cases), you probably wouldn’t be considered a dependent (provided you provide more than half of your own financial support and no longer live with your parents ) and would file taxes independently. So you can do your own stimulus check if you meet the requirements.

What if you are a member of the U.S. Forces?

If you are 17 years or older and have enlisted in the U.S. Forces, you are considered emancipated from your parents or guardians and would independently file taxes. Therefore, if you meet the requirements, you are eligible for your own stimulus check.

What if you are married or have a child?

If you are under the age of 24 but are married or have a child of your own who you describe as dependent, you will be considered independent by the IRS. Therefore, you can do your own stimulus check if you meet the requirements.

More information can be found here if you are qualified for a second stimulus test and when you can expect a second stimulus check. If you haven’t received an initial stimulus check yet, you can do so Track the status of your stimulus check, learn How to report your missing check to the IRS and find possible Reasons why your stimulus check has not yet arrived.

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