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California stimulus checks could arrive before 31 October: how many payments are left?

The Golden State stimulus checks were expanded in July and now nine million Californians are eligible for a payment, but when will the money arrive?

The Golden State stimulus checks were expanded in July and now nine million Californians are eligible for a payment, but when will the money arrive?

On Friday, 22 October the California Franchise Tax Board (CFTB) confirmed that it would begin distributing the next wave of Golden State stimulus checks to eligible residents. In recent days roughly 1,150,000 direct payments were sent to Californians.

Nearly two-thirds of all adults in the state qualify for the $600 stimulus checks, with another $500 for tax filers who also claim dependents. This means that roughly nine million payments will have to be made, a huge undertaking for the CFTB.

According to The Mercury News, the tax authority is aiming to have the majority of all direct deposits distributed by 31 October, with the remaining paper stimulus checks to be sent before the end of the year. So far the state has sent out roughly 4.5 million stimulus checks, meaning that there is another 4.5 million payments remaining.

Delays could threaten stimulus check payment

To be eligible for a Golden State stimulus check residents had to complete a California tax filing by 15 October, meaning that the deadline to register for the payments has now passed. However the CFTB is struggling to work through the huge amount of paperwork required to get the money to eligible households.

The CFTB have pointed to "various processing constraints, including printing and mailing" as potential sources of delays, and the need “to validate eligibility, protect against fraud and issue GSS II payments simultaneously with other mandatory disbursements.”

The first rounds of payments were sent exclusively by direct deposit into the recipient’s bank account, but from 6 October onwards the first mailed paper checks were distributed. The payment schedule for these depends on your California ZIP code, and can take two weeks to arrive once the check has been sent.

Payment schedule for paper stimulus checks

Last 3 digits of ZIP code

Mailing timeframes


10/04/2021 through 10/22/2021


10/18/2021 through 11/05/2021


11/1/2021 through 11/19/2021


11/15/2021 through 12/03/2021


11/29/2021 through 12/17/2021


12/13/2021 through 12/31/2021

Source: California Franchise Tax Board, 2021

When the $100 billion legislative package was signed into law in July, Gov. Gavin Newsom was effusive in his expectations for the huge spending commitments and the impact that it could have on the state.

He said: “Harnessing the largest surplus in state history, we’re making transformative investments across the board that will help bring all our communities roaring back from the pandemic – and pay dividends for generations to come.”

He promised to focus on “taking on the inequities laid bare by the pandemic, expanding our support for Californians facing the greatest hardships, increasing opportunity for every child, confronting homelessness head-on.”


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