BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Eligible inmates in California state prisons are entitled to the most recent round of stimulus payments, per the CA Dept. of Corrections and Rehabilitation, also known as CDCR.
The announcement comes after the latest $1.9 trillion COVID-19 stimulus bill was signed into law last week. According to the plan, Americans earning less than $75,000 will receive stimulus checks of $1,400.
To qualify for a payment, one must be a U.S. citizen or resident, not claimed as a dependent on someone else’s tax return, have a valid Social Security Number, and have a gross income of $80,000 or below according to 2019 or 2018 tax return.
“The current [prisoners] should not get [payments] if they’re in prison. I don’t see why they should,” said former prisoner Richard Joven. He served time in the Deuel Vocational Institution state prison more than 30 years ago.
Supporters argue the payments could help the families of inmates. The first two stimulus bills signed into law under former President Donald Trump included payments went to prisoners, but House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy argued Thursday the latest COVID bill will not provide relief. In a statement, McCarthy wrote:
“The Democrats COVID $1.9 trillion “relief” legislation was the most expensive bill in history – it is also one of the most corrupt and liberal spending bills ever passed in Congress. It includes more payouts to special interests than to American families. Despite it being branded as a pandemic stimulus, the truth is only nine percent of funding in this bill is actually going toward funding public health. This bill was a gross abuse of taxpayer dollars that sent money to bail out blue states and government bureaucrats. It even sends $1,400 stimulus checks to prisoners incarcerated in federal facilities. House Republicans tried to fix this issue by offering an amendment that would prevent prisoners from receiving checks, but Democrats unanimously rejected this offer. Today, House GOP will again be reintroducing the amendment to prevent this from happening. Every law-abiding, taxpaying citizen should be absolutely appalled at this irresponsible spending of their tax dollars.”
Joven agreed, but added former prisoners like him should be allowed to receive a payment if they can prove they
“If you turn your life around, show to them ‘hey I’m doing great, I have a job, I support my kids,’ great, you earned it. You earned that money. You have to earn it,” he said. “You just get it for free and that’s what a lot of people want — free money,” he continued.
If passed, the House GOP’s proposed amendment to prevent prisoners from receiving payments would apply only to federal prisoners; inmates in California state prisons may still qualify, per a spokesperson.
*17 News will keep you posted if the amendment passes or fails in the House of Representatives.