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U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin Supports Legislative Fix that Would Provide Direct Relief Payments to Families with Older Children and Adult Dependents

“It’s not right to give nothing to families for dependent children older than 16.”

WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin helped introduce a legislative fix that would make dependents 17 and older count toward what a family gets in direct payments from the bipartisan coronavirus relief package signed into law last week.

Under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, an economic stimulus payment of $1,200 per adult and $500 per child (under 17) will go to most taxpayers with incomes below $75,000 for single taxpayers and $150,000 for married taxpayers. The payment is structured as a tax refund and administered by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). 

Under current law, no credit is allowed for dependents older than 16. This means there is no credit allowed for 17- and 18-year-olds, college students, and other dependent adults, such as a disabled parent cared for by the taxpayer—even though a taxpayer is providing the majority of the dependent’s financial support. Further, these dependents aren’t eligible to claim the credit for themselves on their own returns either. 

This situation is unfair to adult dependents and their parents and caretakers.

The All Dependents Count Act, led by Senator Tina Smith (D-MN), would expand eligibility for the $500 credit so that a taxpayer will receive a $500 credit for all dependents they care for—not just children age 16 and under.     

“It’s not right to give nothing to families for dependent children older than 16. There are many working high school and college students who file a tax return and won’t get a $1,200 payment. The least we should do is provide these households a $500 payment for dependents 17 and up. With high schools and colleges shut down and many of these working students out of work, just like their parents, we need to provide this additional economic support during this challenging time,” said Senator Baldwin.

“As Minnesotans face an unprecedented health and economic crisis due to coronavirus, I’m committed to helping folks get assistance from the most recent bipartisan stimulus package,” said Senator Smith. “It’s deeply unfair to Minnesota families that no credit is available for dependents 17 and older, including older children with disabilities and college students. My legislative fix will right this wrong and—more importantly—offer some additional relief to families.”

This legislation will expand the definition of a dependent for the Recovery Rebates for Individual sections of the CARES Act to include more than under-16 children dependents. The full bill text is available here

The All Dependents Count Act is also supported by Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), and Doug Jones (D-AL). A House companion measure, the All Dependent Children Count Act, has been introduced by Representative Angie Craig (D-MN-02).