U.S. Senator Tina Smith to Introduce Legislative Fix that Would Make Older Children and Adult Dependents Eligible for COVID-19 Relief Payments

WASHINGTON, D.C. [04/2/20]—Today, U.S. Senator Tina Smith (D-Minn.) announced she plans to 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.

Sen. Smith’s bill already has 14 original cosponsors, including Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.).

Under the CARES Act, an economic stimulus payment of $1,200 per adult and $500 per child 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 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.     

“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 Sen. 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.”

Sen. Smiths’ 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.

You can access text of the bill here

The All Dependents Count Act—led by Sen. Smith (D-Minn.)—is also supported by Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), and Doug Jones (D-Ala.).

A House companion measure, the All Dependent Children Count Act, has been introduced by Representative Angie Craig (D-MN 2).