SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The $7.6 billion Golden State Stimulus package was announced as a way to get money to people who are hurting and who were left behind by federal stimulus payments. However, it looks like many low-income earners will be left behind.
Larry Gene Fortin has been running into walls as he tries to take advantage of the Golden State Stimulus
“I’m on social security. So I get my 1099 forms on an SSA-1099,” explained Fortin.
He said this means he earns no taxable income.
“Therefore, I cannot file a tax form in order to be eligible for the $600 dollar stimulus,” admitted Fortin.
Unfortunately, it means the Golden State Stimulus will be off-limits to him.
When asked about how it makes him feel, Fortin said he felt left behind and kicked to the curb.
"But that’s something that we’ve seen with California for years.”
Dana Hadl, An employment rights attorney with Bet Tzedek, an organization that provides legal services to those most in need, explained who the Golden State Stimulus is intended to help.
“Really a combination of low-income Californians and those who have been excluded from the federal stimulus,” said Hadl.
She acknowledged Fortin’s situation is unfortunate but added that Fortin would have been eligible for other relief.
For the Golden state stimulus, one of the main qualifications is taxable earned income. This means people with low incomes on disability are also out.
“SDI, state disability insurance is not going to be earned income. So again, if you don’t have earned income then you’re not going to qualify,” admitted Hadl.
The Golden State Stimulus is, however, available to those earning less than $75,000 dollars who file with an ITIN, or Individual Tax Identification Number.
“It’s a tax processing number issued by the IRS to individuals who are not eligible to obtain work authorized social security numbers,” explained Hadl.
While many of these people are undocumented, the Golden State stimulus would still leave 75% of undocumented Californians out in the cold.
“In 2018, there were approximately 2.3 million undocumented individuals living in California," said Hadl. "And last year, roughly 600,000 households filed taxes with ITINs here in California.”
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