US News

"Golden State" stimulus: how much and who is getting it in California?

Early January Governor Gavin Newsom of California proposed an extra lifeline on state level for those most in need of economic help due to the pandemic.

"Golden State" stimulus: how much and who is getting it in California?
IRFAN KHAN AFP

On 6 January, California Governor Gavin Newsom proposed a payout of $600 in stimulus checks to offer financial support to millions of residents with the lowest income along with an extension on eviction freezes, to ease the strain brought on by covid-19. The additional bonus would be on top of the $600 approved by Congress and paid by the federal government in December.

The proposal came as part of his $227 billion spending plan which included a $15 billion economic relief package as the state faced the height of its winter surge of covid-19 cases and hospitalisations.

"In these darkest moments of the covid-19 pandemic, this Budget will help Californians with urgent action to address our immediate challenges and build towards our recovery," the Governor said.

Who qualifies for the Golden State stimulus?

The state-specific stimulus top-up would go to people who qualify for a California Earned Income Tax Credit, as well as those who are eligible to receive the state credit in 2021 according to a statement from Newsom's office on 6 January.

This means that Californians with annual incomes of $30,000 or less could qualify and that the state's stimulus payments could make it into the hands of those who did not receive a federal stimulus and would help "undocumented households that file taxes with an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN), including parents with U.S. citizen children," the statement clarified.

“Through the Golden State Stimulus, Californians who have been impacted by this pandemic will get help to provide for their families and keep a roof over their heads,” Newsom said in a statement.

“This plan will provide relief for Californians in need by distributing $600 rapid cash support - for some, at least $1,200 when coupled with federal relief – and extend the eviction moratorium,” he said.

Newsom’s team believe that the new stimulus could affect up to four million families, and has suggested that the order could mean qualifying Californians see checks within the next few weeks, according to a video posted by the governor on social network TikTok.

"Low-income families have been disproportionately impacted by this pandemic. That's why we announced recently a new stimulus. We refer to it as the Golden State Stimulus," Newsom said.

Coronavirus in California: ongoing lockdown

California has emerged as one of the hardest hit states in the country this winter. It is the most populous US state with about 40 million and has over 3.1 million coronavirus cases despite some of the country’s toughest restrictions on socialising and businesses.

The soaring covid-19 caseload has pushed hospitals to their limits, particularly in Southern California. Around 25,224 new cases were confirmed on Friday alone in the Golden State, along with 625 additional deaths, raising the number of lives lost to date state wide to 26,326.

A state wide stay-at-home order was issued on 3 December 2020 and brought into effect on 9 December to correlate with ICU bed capacity in each region, and was further extended in January.