Press Release Congress Coronavirus Economic Crisis and Recovery Inequality US

Inequities Found In COVID Relief Payment Recipients


December 22, 2020

Contact: Karen Conner, 202-281-4159Mail_Outline

Washington DC — Over 17 million people are prohibited from receiving the one-time $600 relief payment that is part of the $900 billion COVID-19 relief package passed by Congress last night. CEPR’s Senior Policy Fellow Shawn Fremstad finds outdated inequities are embedded in the Senate’s judgement of who is worthy of relief in COVID Relief Payments Draw an Unfair Line Between Deserving and Undeserving Family Dependency, released today by the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR).

The Senate’s justification for the exclusions was “to provide support for Americans who are responsible for their own financial well-being or that of another during this pandemic.” Excluded are students 17 to 23-years-old who are claimed as dependents, and adults of any age with disabilities who are claimed as dependents.

Yet 18.8 million spouses under 65, without earnings or any responsibility for the financial well-being of themselves or others, will get a $600 check.

“The Senate’s exclusions reflect outdated ideological thinking about good and bad family dependents,” explains Fremstad. “Older teens, students, and disabled adults who depend on family are considered ‘bad,’ but spouses and most children are considered ‘good.’” 

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