The United States House of Representative has reportedly introduced a new $3 trillion stimulus bill called the ‘HEROES’ Act in a bid to help a wider range of immigrants. While the voting is slated for May 15, the bill reportedly has a major advantage for Indian residents in the US.
According to an international media outlet, in the case of married couples, the HEROES Act only requires discloser of the tax identification number of either one or both individuals, unlike the CARES Act which requires both of them to have social security number to be eligible for the rebate pay-out. The previous $2.2 trillion relief package under the CARES Act created challenges for immigrants as the bill required for both members to have a social security number in order to be eligible for a $2,400 rebate.
However, under the HEROES Act, one tax identification Huber would receive a $1,200 check. Plus, if the bill passes, if H-1B holder and the H4 spouse have a tax identification number, the pay-out would be $2,400. Although the HEROES Act also specifies that the relief pay-out would not cover ‘non-resident’ alien individuals, just like CARES Act. Those who have a green card or meet the substantial presence test are ‘resident aliens’. As per reports, a significant number of H-1B workers are in the US on visa extension and would meet the substantial presence test.
Meanwhile, currently, there are approximately three lakh Indians on H-1B visas in the US and their spouses are reportedly on H4 or dependent visas. Only spouses of those, who are on track for a green card can reportedly obtain an employment authorisation document (EAD) and thus a social security number. As per reports, only around one lakh spouses are estimated to have an EAD and on the other hand, H4 visa holders can obtain a tax identification number.
Therefore, under the current CARES Act several Indian families filing a joint tax return, where the spouse did have a social security number, found themselves at the crossroads fro seeking benefits. However, if the HEROES bill is passed, the Indian families struggling in the US might have an advantage.