The Journal Gazette
 
 
Tuesday, March 24, 2020 1:00 am

Stimulus checks not tied to filling out census

Associated Press

CHICAGO – You won't get a check in the mail for filling out this year's census as claims circulating on social media suggest.

The inaccurate posts on sites including Facebook and Twitter urge people to respond to the census.

They claim if you do so, you will receive one of the stimulus checks that the federal government is considering sending to American households to buffer the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic. The virus spreading across the U.S. has left millions out of work and sent the economy into a tailspin.

Congress and the White House were struggling Monday to agree on a nearly $2 trillion economic rescue package that could include sending a one-time rebate check of about $1,200 to those who qualify or $3,000 for a family of four.

But even if Congress agrees to send money directly to Americans, federal law prohibits the government from using information on the census to mail out those stimulus checks.

The U.S. Census Bureau cannot legally share individual responses on the once-every-decade form, and is only allowed to use that information to produce statistics.

“Your answers cannot be used to impact your eligibility for any government benefits, including any potential stimulus package,” the bureau said in a statement Saturday, quashing the rumors that have circulated in recent days.


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