CORONAVIRUS STIMULUS CHECK

$600 stimulus check California: how will I get it, cash, credit card or bank transfer?

Governor Newsom has announced details of a new covid-19 relief bill that would see Californians receive direct payments worth up to $600, if eligible.

$600 stimulus check: how do i get it? cash, credit card or transfer bank?
FREDERIC J. BROWN AFP

On Wednesday lawmakers in California announced that they had agreed details of a $9.6 billion covid-19 relief package which includes a new round of $600 stimulus checks for the state’s lowest income earners. The plan was announced by Governor Gavin Newsom and appears to be a tweaked version of the Golden State Stimulus plan he proposed last month.

Aside from the stimulus checks, billions of dollars have been designated for grants for small businesses and to provide emergency accomodation for the state’s many farmworkers who are forced to quarantine after testing positive for the coronavirus.

Anthony Rendon, Speaker of the State Assembly, said the package would “help those who are hurting most,” adding: "We are building an economic foundation for the recovery of jobs, small businesses and indeed, our everyday lives.”

California state stimulus check: eligibility limits

The $600 per person direct payments constitute the largest section of the package, costing $2.3 billion in total. This will see stimulus check payments sent to around 5.7 million people, some of whom were missed out from previous payments under former President Trump.

The details of the proposal could still be altered before officially being signed into law, but it is likely that the eligibility for a California stimulus check will be:

  • Those earning less than $30,000 per year
  • Households who received the Earned Income Tax Credit for 2020
  • Anyone unable to receive recent federal payment because they do not have a Social Security Number, but who have an Individual Tax Identification Number and income of less than $75,000
  • Households in the CalWORKS public assistance programme
  • Those who qualify for the Supplemental Security Income/State Supplementary Payment
  • Recipients of the Cash Assistance Program for Immigrants

GOP Sen. Andreas Borgeas, who helped build bipartisan consensus for the proposal, said of the announcement: “This path toward victory proves that when legislators cross the aisle and work together on our most pressing needs we can get things done.”

How will the California stimulus be paid out?

At the time of writing the Governor has not yet released any information on whether the state plans to deliver its Golden State stimulus checks by paper check, direct deposit, tax rebates or EIP cards, so as yet there is no information on how you'll be able to track your stimulus check.

When could California stimulus check arrive?

While bill was originally announced by Governor Newsom in January, and the proposal has now been agreed on by bipartisan lawmakers, but it has not yet been approved. Newsom hopes the vote to do this will take place next week, but Cnet reports that could be delayed.

When it was originally unveiled, it was specified that those qualifying through ITIN would receive their payment as an additional tax refund after they file their 2020 tax return this year.

Newsom's office have yet to specify when it could arrive, but the most recent press release did say the payments for CalWORKS households are expected by mid-April and the timing for the delivery for SSI/SSP and CAPI recipients is still under discussion with federal officials

Small business and farm workers offered extra protection

The new stimulus package also provides additional support for other economic victims of the pandemic. Tax breaks worth around $2 billion will allow 750,000 small businesses to deduct up to $150,000 in Economic Injury Disaster Loans, or loans issued under the Payment Protection Plan, from their state taxes.

There are also more favourable conditions for the hospitality industry, with nearly 60,000 restaurants and bars allowed to waive annual license fees for two years.

Senate President Pro Tempore Toni Atkin said she hopes this will be a vital lifeline for struggling businesses: “People are hungry and hurting, and businesses our communities have loved for decades are at risk of closing their doors.”

There is also $24 million funding boost for a programme with provides accommodation for food processing and farm workers who have contracted the coronavirus. As essential workers they have been forced to work throughout the pandemic and in many cases are unable to truly quarantine if they become infected.

Gov. Newsom said of this new effort: [The farmworker housing programme has] been underutilized, and we recognize that… The purpose of this new appropriation is to maximize its effectiveness."

Eligibility could affect when stimulus check arrives

The agreement comes after weeks of bipartisan talks and both parties now hope to move forward with the package swiftly. Budget committee hearings are expected to begin on Thursday 18 February, with the proposal potentially being put to a vote as early as next Monday.

Recipients' individual situation is likely to affect how quickly your check is processed. For example, households qualifying through the CalWORKS public assistance programme  would likely experience a delay and may not get theirs before mid-April.

Newly-eligible groups to be included in this proposal are recipients of the Supplemental Security Income; the State Supplementary Payment for those who are 65 or older, blind or disabled; and anyone in the Cash Assistance Program for Immigrants. The timing of these stimulus check payments is still being discussed by state and federal officials.

For all the latest updates as they happen on stimulus checks in California, Maryland and federally, follow our dedicated live feed.