Individuals who are serving time in prison are eligible to receive $1,200 stimulus checks. Judge O Judge Phyllis J. Hamilton of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California ruled that the United States government could not legally withhold stimulus checks from prisoners, according to CNBC.
With the ruling, 85,000 prisoners will be eligible to receive the checks which would total $100 million. Initially, the Cares Act passed by Congress did not exclude inmates from receiving the stimulus checks.
U.S. citizens or permanent residents who were not claimed as a dependent on someone else’s tax return and who have an annual income of less than $99,000, qualified to receive a stimulus check. The money was given to help stimulate the economy as the pandemic forced businesses to close among millions of lost jobs.
In the next rounds of checks, the stimulus will be reduced if incomes are more than $75,000.
But when the U.S. government began to issued the first checks, it reversed course and withheld the money from those who are serving time.
The ruling could prevent the government from taking away prisoners’ rights to their stimulus checks.
However, more litigation is likely to occur as the government plans to appeal.
“The government has filed an appeal and request to stay the preliminary injunction,” the IRS issued in a statement. “Any updates regarding the appeal will be posted on this webpage.”