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ICYMI: AFP and LIBRE Op-ed: Whom you’re married to should not determine eligibility for COVID-19 aid

ICYMI: AFP and LIBRE Op-ed: Whom you’re married to should not determine eligibility for COVID-19 aid
(Arlington, Va.) – Americans for Prosperity-Florida State Director Skylar Zander and The LIBRE Initiative-Florida Coalitions Director Cesar Grajales, wrote an op-ed for the Miami Herald highlighting an injustice under the CARES Act that nearly two million adult U.S. Citizens and legal permanent residents are experiencing due to whom they are married. Sen. Marco Rubio and Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart have recently introduced bills addressing this issue. Read the full op-ed here.

Below are experts from the op-ed:

“When Congress passed, and President Trump signed into law, coronavirus assistance legislation in March, it included a provision to provide direct payment to folks below certain income levels. But some who otherwise were qualified did not receive those checks — not because they’ve done anything wrong, but because of to whom they’re married.

Ramon, who does not what his last name revealed, lives in Miami with his wife. Both are in their 60s. He is a U.S. citizen. His wife of more than 20 years, an undocumented immigrant from Honduras, does not have a Social Security number.

He owns a business, contributes to the economy, pays his taxes. But, even though he is a U.S. citizen, his wife’s immigration status, kept him from getting a check under the direct-payment provision of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

Such discrimination is contrary to our nation’s values and principles, and we applaud Florida’s Sen. Marco Rubio and Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart for introducing companion bills that would undo the injustice.

To qualify for economic-impact payments under the $2 trillion CARES Act, recipients need a Social Security number. For married couples who filed joint tax returns, both spouses must have Social Security numbers to be eligible for the payments (there is an exception for members of the military).

According to the Migration Policy Institute, an estimated total 5.5 million people, 1.7 million spouses and 3.7 million children, who are U.S. citizens or green-card holders, have been left out of the program. In Florida, we have an estimated 228,000 residents who are in this population..

Rubio’s American Citizen Coronavirus Relief Act, cosponsored by Sen. Thom Tillis of North Carolina, would:

Retroactively modify the CARES Act requirement that both spouses have a Social Security number for at least one of them to be eligible for assistance.

Continue the requirement for eligible recipients of Economic Impact Payments to have a Social Security number, allowing citizens and legal permanent residents who file joint tax returns with an ineligible spouse to still receive the same benefit as any other eligible single tax filer.

 Maintain requirements that currently bar undocumented immigrants from eligibility.