OPINION: The stimulus package should not exclude those that need it

Dependents, immigrants and spouses of immigrants were among those excluded


Graphic by Makenna Roy

Makenna Roy and Jordan Parker

The past two weeks social media was filled with people finding out their stimulus check was deposited into their bank account — not everyone is having the same experience.

The pandemic has cost many college students their jobs. Now, more than ever, these students are struggling with having enough money for food and rent, and are concerned about how they are going to pay for the next semester of college if they don’t receive financial aid. 

When you think of the word aid, you think of helping those in need. From what we’ve seen, those who need the stimulus payments the most, are the people who aren’t getting them.

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Even if people apply and get approved for unemployment, the money they receive may not be enough to cover their bills and expenses, especially if they are a college student who has to pay their own tuition. 

Intentionally or not, our federal government chose to exclude a specific population from the stimulus package.

If you are over 18 and pay taxes but can be claimed as a dependent on your parents’ taxes, you are not eligible to receive the $1,200 check.

A $1,200 check is equal to around 92 hours of work at a job that pays minimum wage.

If it wasn’t for the “dependency” status on their parents’ tax returns, most of those college students would be eligible to receive stimulus checks.

Also included in the $2.2 trillion dollar package is $14 billion dollars dedicated to colleges, half of which must be distributed to students in the form of an emergency financial aid check.

Colleges are having trouble disbursing the money though, which raises the question: how hard can it be for school’s to distribute money to its students in need?

That’s what financial aid offices are for.

It is more than just college students who were excluded from the stimulus package. Immigrants and spouses of immigrants have been blocked from receiving any cut of the $2.2 trillion dollars doled out so far, no matter how little their income is.

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If you divide $2.2 trillion by 329 million people, which is around how many people lived in the U.S. in 2019, you get a little over $6,500 per person — not per adult, per person. So why did the government need to exclude certain groups of people? 

It’s amazing how a government that claims to be “for the people” continually neglects the people that are in need, instead setting specific guidelines to ensure that everyone who needs the money won’t receive it.

There is a chance that the number of Americans who are eligible for stimulus checks could increase through the Emergency Money for the People Act

The legislation would be active for six months and make Americans 16 and older eligible to receive $2,000 monthly, if they make less than $130,000 a year. 

In addition, if passed the legislation would also make college dependents and disabled dependents eligible to receive the same payment, with their parents receiving a dependent credit on their taxes when it is time to file again.

Only time will tell whether everyone that needs a stimulus check will receive it in the next stimulus package, whenever that may be.

In the meantime, the government needs to stop saying they care about all of their citizens, and show they care by giving everyone the help they deserve.