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In March, President Donald Trump declared a national emergency because of the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19). After the national emergency was declared, in short order states across the country shut down schools, told people to stay home, and instructed non-essential businesses to close their doors indefinitely. As a direct result of these measures to slow the spread of the virus, millions of Americans lost their jobs and the economy took a hard hit.

As a swift remedy, Congress passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, and on March 27, 2020, President Trump signed the Act into law. The economic relief package was over $2 trillion and the goal was to help shield Americans from the economic impact brought on by COVID-19.

The CARES Act included $1,200 payouts to eligible individuals and $2,400 payouts to married couples. It also provided $500 checks for each child age 16 and younger. That is $500 per child, per household. If a child’s parents are divorced, each parent cannot receive a $500 check. Only the parent who claims the child as a dependent can receive the $500.

What if My College Student is a Dependent?

For a parent to receive a $500 stimulus check, their child must be age 16 or under. If a parent claims their college student as a dependent, they cannot receive a check for their child. Not because the child is in college, but because they are over the age of 16. This means that even if a parent is supporting a high school junior or senior age 17, 18, or 19, they can’t claim them either because the child is over the age of 16.

“If I can’t receive a check for my college student, can my son or daughter receive their own?” If you claim your college student as a dependent, he or she is not eligible for a stimulus check. However, if you do NOT claim them as a dependent, and they are self-supporting, then your college student should qualify for their own stimulus check. If your son or daughter owes child support, their stimulus checks my be reduced or eliminated entirely.

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