Not everyone will get the relief payment the federal government is sending to help Americans through the economic hard times triggered by the coronavirus pandemic. Among those left out are seniors and adults with special needs who are claimed as dependents.
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act included one-time payments of up to $1,200 to millions of eligible individuals, based on their income. While the law provides an additional $500 per child to parents of minor children, adults who are claimed as dependents are not eligible for either the up to $1,200 relief payment or the $500 for minor dependents. This is true even if the senior or individual with a disability receives Social Security or works.
Many caregivers claim their parents or adult children with disabilities as dependents in order to get a tax credit. The IRS allows taxpayers who support a relative to claim a $500 tax credit for any non-minor dependents. However, when Congress wrote the CARES legislation, it decided that if seniors and individuals with disabilities are claimed as dependents, they are not eligible for the coronavirus relief payments.
According to USA Today, AARP is urging Congress to address the issue in the next economic recovery package. “A lot of times when people think about caregiving or dependent care, they initially think children and don’t always extend that same kind of thinking to older dependents in the household,” David Certner, legislative policy counsel for the AARP, told USA Today. “We think that’s a mistake because it’s just as important to be able to provide for the caregivers of those dependents as well.”