Posted October 27, 2020
Due to overcrowding, pre-existing conditions, and the age demographic of many of those incarcerated in America, prison inmates in the United States have once again been victimized by COVID-19, this time because stimulus funds never reached them.
Designed to provide relief for Americans impacted by the novel coronavirus, The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, or CARES Act, authorized payments up to $1,200 per person–including jail and prison inmates.
This was important not just to the inmates, but to their families as well. Many incarcerated individuals have employment behind bars however, these jobs are often low paying and high risk. With an increased need for hygiene products and basic necessities during coronavirus outbreaks, this puts inmates and their families in economic hardship.
To add insult to injury, in June, the IRS paid $100 million to nearly 85,000 inmates which then were seized from inmates and their families. In addition, payments had been halted for those who had yet to receive a check.
Nationwide Class Action: Stop Withholding CARES Act Funds
In September, an Order requiring the U.S. Department of Treasury, the IRS, and the United States of America to stop withholding CARES Act stimulus funds from individuals on the sole basis of their incarcerated status.
As a result of litigation, in California, inmates have until November 4 to claim their stimulus funds. But what about the rest of the incarcerated individuals across the country? While it is currently a state-by-state, and prison-based, issue to handle, incarcerated individuals have been given options to pursue action for the stimulus funds.
To receive the payments, incarcerated people must send a postmarked tax return by Nov. 4, even if they did not earn an income in 2019. Or they can register online by Nov. 21, the deadline the IRS has set for anyone who is not required to file tax returns. From there, funds will be issued or denied accordingly. In order to not be denied based on a technicality, individuals must include their unique personal corrections number to the address listed on the claim form.
But with the obstacles within the system that inmates face regularly, now they run the risk of missing out on collecting stimulus funds because of a lack of access to computers. What can they do?
PROTECT PRISONERS RIGHTS DURING COVID-19: STIMULUS FUNDS
For prisoners in the United States, no matter the crime committed, you would hope that if economic relief is offered to them to support their families that await them outside, that money would be given to them.
However, COVID-19 CARES Act relief has been denied for many inmates solely based on their incarceration status. But there are resources available. If you or your loved one is in a prison facility and has been denied stimulus funds, contact us. Contact us today to speak with a prison injury lawyer and we can help you or your loved one file for the funds that are rightfully yours.
Posted in COVID-19.