CARES Act Eligibility Key Points Summary

April 10, 2020 § Leave a comment

Here are some key points in the recent CARES Act passed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting unemployment:

In order to be eligible to receive the $1200 recovery rebate, an individual must have a social security number and not be a “nonresident alien”. The individual must also currently have authorization to work in the US and put their social security number on their tax return for the immediately preceding taxable year. Then, to not be considered a “nonresident alien”, an individual must be a US citizen or a legal permanent resident who meets the “substantial presence” test.

Individuals who are authorized to work in the US are generally qualified for regular unemployment insurance benefits. However, to receive unemployment insurance benefit under the CARES Act as well as the Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (PRWORA), only legal permanent residents, asylees and refugees are eligible. DACA recipients, TPS holders, and applicants for asylum may not be eligible. H-1B and L visa holders are not eligible either since they lose their work authorization at the time they become unemployed.

Unemployment benefits are not considered “public charge” but “earned benefit” under the Department of Homeland Security’s definition of public charge. Therefore, taking unemployment benefits does not affect the public charge determination.

For more details, see: https://crsreports.congress.gov/search/#/?termsToSearch=Recovery%20Rebates%20and%20Unemployment%20Compensation%20under%20the%20CARES%20Act:%20Immigration-Related%20Eligibility%20Criteria&orderBy=Relevance

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