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Prison inmates eligible for coronavirus stimulus money

Posted at 6:05 PM, Nov 13, 2020

Time is running out for millions of Americans who still haven't received stimulus checks.

This includes people behind bars.

The deadline to file an online claim with the IRS is November 21.

"I think it's a great opportunity for the families and for the people that are incarcerated," said Dora Pacheco, wife of a California Men's Colony inmate.

She says her husband was able to fill out an IRS form passed out inside the prison walls and mail it.

Once he receives the money, Pacheco says it'll help her husband pay for everyday necessities.

"They can use it for the store and buy what they need from there," Pacheco said.

According to CNBC, almost 85,000 prisoners received $100 million in stimulus checks earlier this year before the government decided they were ineligible and the money was taken back.

Now that they're eligible again after a recent court case, the IRS has appealed the decision.

But on the agency's website, it acknowledges the judge's ruling, saying, "The IRS cannot deny a payment to someone who is incarcerated if they meet the criteria."

The Equal Justice Society and a San Francisco law firm were a part of that court filing.

"This case was really important to us to make sure that these CARE payments were going out to everybody who is affected by the COVID pandemic," said Christina Alvernaz of the Equal Justice Society. "It's something that has disproportionately affected black and brown communities all over the nation."

Those with loved ones at CMC say the funds are invaluable.

"I think this is a good help for them," said Desiree Robinson, wife of a CMC inmate.

For anyone who misses the November 21 deadline, it's still possible to get stimulus money next year after filing 2020 tax returns.

The California Men's Colony released the following statement to KSBY:

"The incarcerated population at California Men's Colony is not provided internet access for the filing documents associated with the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. However, all incarcerated individuals were provided the required tax return preparation documents and filing instructions in a paper form well in advance of the paper-format filing deadline. CARES Act stimulus checks intended for eligible incarcerated individuals are sent directly to the Inmate Trust Office for deposit into the individual's account. Institutions do not receive a percentage of an inmate's stimulus check."