Harder Pushes for Stimulus Payments for Dependents

April 29, 2020
Press Release
Most Americans Age 17-24 Were Left Out of Stimulus Program

Modesto, CA – Representative Josh Harder (CA-10) has asked the Chairman of the House Select Committee on the Coronavirus Crisis to improve the Coronavirus economic stimulus program to include other dependents. The original round of funding provided $500 for dependent children under the age of 17, meaning families with children between 17-24 were denied additional assistance.

“The stimulus program is great, but it left out a lot of people in my district – including college-age Americans and even some high school students – and even some people with permanent disabilities,” said Rep. Harder. “We need to improve this program and ensure we cover everyone.”

“Dekker is 19 a student and a dependent. It is even more expensive than ever to send a child to college. It's a second household with almost all the same expenses. I still pay for his medical care and everything. $500 credit would be that much more helpful to make ends meet,” said Marjorie Sturdy, a mom from Oakdale.

The text of the letter is below and an original version is available here.

 Thank you for your leadership as chair of the bipartisan House Select Committee overseeing the government’s coronavirus expenditures. I appreciate the opportunity to work together to address the COVID-19 pandemic. I write today to request that Congress amend the definition of a qualifying child in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to dependent children of all ages, to ensure that families across the country are not denied the aid they so desperately need during this unprecedented economic crisis.

As you know, the CARES Act provides economic impact payments of up to $1200 per eligible individual ($2400 for married taxpayers filing a joint tax return) and an additional $500 per qualifying child. Currently, the CARES Act defines a “qualifying child” as a child under 17 years old who also meets certain other criteria. As a result of this limited definition, families in my district and across the country will not receive this $500 payment for a child they are financially supporting.

The definition of a “qualifying child” in the CARES Act excludes large demographics such as college students under the age of 24 years, high school students over 16 years old, and permanently disabled dependent children of any age. It should also be noted that this policy is not in line with the broader definition in the Internal Revenue Code that is typically used to determine when a child can be claimed as a dependent for tax purposes. If we are truly seeking to provide needed aid to all families enduring this unprecedented economic crisis, we must expand the definition of a qualifying child to include dependent children of all ages.

Taxpayers with dependent children of all ages should receive this critical aid during this unprecedented economic crisis. That is why I ask that Congress amend the definition of a qualifying child and expand the number of families who will receive this much needed financial support. Again, thank you for your leadership and support during this time and I look forward to your response.