Though a fourth stimulus check isn't on Washington's agenda, and enhanced federal unemployment benefits expired for millions last month, an estimated 9 million Californians are getting some extra relief aid in year two of the pandemic.
A third batch of Golden State Stimulus II payments is getting sent out on Oct. 5. The first batch, amounting to 600,000 payments, went out Aug. 27, and the second batch, on Sept. 17, was much larger, with at least 2 million Californians receiving the benefit. Approximately two-thirds of California taxpayers are eligible for a payment of $600, and some qualifying families will receive an additional $500.
These state-only checks are part of the $100 billion "California Comeback Plan" aimed at providing immediate relief to families and business that've been the most negatively impacted by the pandemic. Gov. Gavin Newsom's office called it "the biggest state tax rebate in American history."
Read on to find out if you'll be getting a Golden State Stimulus II check, what you need to do to get your money, and when your check could arrive. Also, here's everything you need to know about the 2021 child tax credit, which is providing the vast majority of families across the US with advance monthly checks to help cover expenses and basic necessities.
Do I qualify for a $600 or $1,100 payment?
The Golden State Stimulus II payments are different from the Golden State Stimulus I payments that went out earlier this year. GSS I payments -- a one-time check of either $600 or $1,200 -- went out to those who typically earned less than $30,000 and received the state's Earned Income Tax Credit, or CalEITC, or those who filed their taxes with an Individual Tax Identification Number, or ITIN.
GSS II has been expanded so that more Californians qualify. You're eligible for a $600 payment if you've been a California resident for more than half of the 2020 tax year (you must still be a California resident on the date the payment is issued). You need to also meet the following requirements:
- You filed your 2020 taxes by Oct. 15, 2021.
- Your California Adjusted Gross Income, or CA AGI, was $75,000 or less for the 2020 tax year.
- You cannot be claimed as a dependent by another taxpayer.
If you don't qualify for GSS II, see if you might be eligible for GSS I. Californians who received the earlier GSS I payment could be eligible for a GSS II check for $500 or $1,000 only if they claimed a qualifying child or relative as a dependent on their 2020 tax return.
Besides those who already received GSS I and have no dependents, there are others who are excluded from GSS II payments. Californians whose income is exclusively from other benefits, like Social Security, CalWorks, unemployment or state disability, do not qualify. For more information, check out the Franchise Tax Board's help page.
How much money will I get?
For most Californians who qualify, you do not need to do anything to receive GSS II other than file your 2020 tax return. If you still need to file, you can find different options for filing online, on paper or in person before the deadline on Oct. 15,
If you'd like to see if you qualify, or estimate the amount of your GSS II, you can go to the Franchise Tax Board estimator. If you have a Social Security number and meet all the GSS II requirements above, you should receive $600 if you had no dependents, and $1,100 if you claimed at least one dependent. Note that some of the payment amounts change depending on whether you received GSS I, whether you have an SSN or ITIN and if you are married filing separately.
When will my stimulus payment be sent?
California's stimulus payments are going out twice a month, or about every two weeks, though some may go out earlier or later. Those who qualify and have already set up direct deposit when filing their 2020 tax return can expect an electronic payment.
Most direct deposit stimulus payments will be issued before Oct. 31. If you filed a state tax return after Sept. 1, you might have to wait at least 45 days for the return to be processed and have a check issued.
As for paper checks, those will start going out Oct. 6, and will continue through January of next year. Paper checks will be sent in batches based on the last three digits of the ZIP code on your 2020 tax return. If your tax return is processed during or after the date of your scheduled ZIP code payment, the Franchise Tax Board says, you should allow up to 60 days after your return has been processed.
For a list of timeframes based on ZIP codes, check here. Note that you should allow up to three weeks for a check to arrive by mail once it's been sent.
Could my stimulus be seized or offset to cover debt I owe?
According to the Franchise Tax Board, the state's stimulus payment is not subject to garnishment for child support or spousal support, for example, or offset for debts owed to state agencies.
Here's everything we know about the other stimulus aid that might be coming your way. And here's more about the expiration of pandemic-era unemployment benefits.