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California stimulus check: when will the payments arrive and who qualifies?

Around two-thirds of California taxpayers are eligible for a Golden State Stimulus II payment of $600. Here you can find when the checks go out and who qualifies for them.

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California stimulus check: when will the payments arrive and who qualifies?
JOHN G. MABANGLO EFE

Back in July, California governor Gavin Newsom signed into law the $100 billion California Comeback Plan, which included a provision for a second round of Golden State Stimulus payments following the first round of checks that went out earlier this year.

The plan is aimed at delivering finanicial relief to families and businesses who have struggled due to the covid-19 pandemic, with Governor Newsom's office hailing it as "the biggest state tax rebate in American history." The $100 billion bill has been mainly funded through a $75 million state budgetary surplus.

Around two-thirds of California taxpayers are eligible for a Golden State Stimulus payment of $600, with some qualifying families receiving an additional $500 to bring their total payment to $1,100.

When are the Golden State Stimulus payments coming?

On 27 August, in the first batch of payments, around 650,000 checks were sent out to low-income Californians. The second batch of payments that went out on 17 September was much larger, with around 2 million state residents in line to receive the payment this time around.

The California Franchise Tax Board has said that this second batch of payments has been issued randomly to eligible residents, and confirmed that the third batch is scheduled to go out on 5 October. Taxpayers who filed their tax returns after 20 August may have to wait at least 45 days for their checks to be issued.

Who qualifies for California Stimulus Check II?

Only residents earning adjusted gross income (AGI) of $30,000 or less were eligible to receive the first Golden State Stimulus check. But for Golden State Stimulus II, the eligibility requirements have been extended to those earning up to $75,000 (AGI).

You only need to have been a California resident for more than half of the 2020 tax year to qualify for the $600 payment, though you must still be a state resident on the date your payment is issued and you must have filed your tax return by 15 October, 2021. Residents who claim at least one dependent will receive an additional $500, meaning they will receive a total of $1,100.

One major caveat is that those who received a first Golden State Stimulus I payment do not qualify to get the second payment unless they meet certain requirements.

The only recipients of Golden State Stimulus I that are eligible for another payment are those who claimed a qualifying child or relative as a dependent on their 2020 tax return. Said persons can receive a payment of $500 per dependent for up to two dependents (so a maximum of $1,000).

Calculating California Adjusted Gross Income (CA AGI)

Under the CA AGI rules, some types of income are included, and others aren’t. Here’s how the Franchise Tax Board has broken it down:

Income included in CA AGI

Generally, these are included in your CA AGI:

  • Wages and self-employment income
  • Tips
  • Interest (e.g. savings account)
  • Dividends Rental income
  • Pension/retirement income

Income excluded from CA AGI

Generally, these are not included in your CA AGI:

  • Social Security
  • CalWorks and CalFresh benefits
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)/ State Supplementary Payment (SSP) and Cash Assistance Program for Immigrants (CAPI)
  • State Disability Insurance (SDI) and VA disability benefits
  • Unemployment income