A federal judge has ruled that the Internal Revenue Service must stop withholding coronavirus stimulus checks from inmates in state and federal prisons.
U.S. District Judge Phyllis Hamilton, a Clinton appointee, sided with a class-action lawsuit brought by prisoners who argued that they fit into the requirements laid out for recipients of the $2.2 trillion CARES Act stimulus, according to the New York Post.
The IRS sent out nearly 85,000 stimulus checks to inmates in April worth about $100 million but revised its policy a month later and said incarcerated people don’t qualify and that the money that has been sent out should be returned.
Hamilton wrote in a Wednesday decision that the Trump administration move to withhold checks “solely on the basis of their incarcerated status is arbitrary and capricious.”
Hamilton gave the IRS a deadline of Oct. 24 to reconsider its position on sending payments to inmates whose checks have been withheld, intercepted, or returned, and those incarcerated people who didn’t file a tax return in 2018 or 2019 have until Oct. 30 to file paperwork to claim the money.
The Trump administration has appealed the ruling, but the IRS website currently states that the agency “cannot deny a payment to someone who is incarcerated if they meet the criteria.”
Congress is currently debating another round of coronavirus stimulus payments, and President Trump said this week he is willing to budge and go beyond his offer of $1.8 trillion.
Author: Andrew Mark Miller
Source: Washington Examiner: Federal judge rules prison inmates are eligible to receive coronavirus stimulus checks