Many Southern Californians received a much-needed bit of good news this week: a stimulus check.
The money — $1,200 for most adults who earned up to $75,000 — is meant to help stimulate businesses and keep Americans afloat at a time when both groups are struggling amid shutdowns aimed at slowing the spread of the novel coronavirus.
That means people such as Kevin Sammons can pay for upkeep like the 60,000-mile service on his 2017 Subaru Crosstrek.
“Yes,” he says, “it’s that expensive.”
The Crestline resident still commutes roughly 45 miles one way to San Dimas, where his work at an electronic components wholesaler is considered essential because it produces items such as farm equipment and meters that keep the electric grid protected, he said.
“Any left over will go in the bank and probably get used for things we have to buy online,” Sammons said, adding that his household is high risk so he avoids going to the store in person.
Indeed, even during the downpour, many said they were saving the money for a rainy day.
Considering that it’s uncertain how things will look in a few weeks, Travis Gallardo said he and his girlfriend have given themselves just a small “fun allowance” from their checks and saved the rest.
“(We) are planning on doing our best to hold save it as best we can until there’s more information as to what’s to come, or a more immediate need for it to be used,” said Gallardo, 29, of Long Beach.
Both work in the arts — he as a musician, she as a painter — and already worked from home, he said.
Getting materials to work with is difficult, as supply stores were not deemed an essential business and online retailers are behind on deliveries, but otherwise, business isn’t too bad.
“We’ve been fortunate to remain relatively stable, but perhaps we were more accustomed, or prepared for fluctuations in income than others,” Gallardo said. “If anything, now that everyone is online all the time, she might actually be selling a bit more work than usual due to the extra exposure. As for myself, I’m co-writing some music and can continue doing that from home.”
Similarly, Jazon Culizar said he would increase the amount he donates to food banks and save the rest.
“Yes, we’re a rare breed that doesn’t buy into consumer spending,” he said. “No Costco memberships, no cable TV, etc.”
The North Torrance resident, 46, had been substitute teaching before schools closed.
Entertainment before included weekly trips to the library — something he’s done with his son since the now-13-year-old was 1 year old.
They still have the books they checked out just before the libraries closed.
“We’re on second readings,” he said. “Libraries, one of the greatest human endeavors.”
The government began issuing the one-time payments this week. Most adults who earned up to $75,000 will see a $1,200 payout, while married couples who made up to $150,000 can expect to get $2,400. Parents will get payments of $500 per child. The checks will be directly deposited into bank accounts or mailed to households, depending on how you’ve filed your tax returns in the past.
The federal government uses information from 2018 or 2019 tax returns — whichever was filed most recently — to determine eligibility for the payouts. Those payments begin to get smaller for adults making more than $75,000 and phase out entirely for those earning more than $99,000. For married couples, the payments get smaller for those earning more than $150,000, falling to zero at $198,000. For heads of household with one child, the benefit starts to decline at $112,500 and falls to zero at $136,500.
The U.S. Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service, which are working to deliver the money to people, confirmed to The Associated Press that households will not have to pay back the money in next year’s tax filing.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.