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Stimulus Checks for Prisoners

How Prisoners Can File for Their Economic Stimulus Checks

Click here to help prisoners get their stimulus money!

Please Note: UPLC is unable to assist prisoners applying for stimulus payments, or provide advice regarding these applications. Additionally, we are not taking any legal action regarding stimulus payments in Illinois.

UPDATE: Kind people like you, who care about prisoners, have donated enough for us to send a mass mailing to over 35,000 prisoners in IL so they can get their stimulus checks! 

Prisoners in Illinois should receive packets we sent with information and IRS forms by Thursday, October 15, at the latest. An effort is being coordinated to collect completed forms from the prisons and send them to the IRS. 

Normally, prisoners can't receive checks—money must go through J-Pay. However, per an IDOC official, stimulus checks received will be deposited into prisoners' trust funds.

The IRS was never forthcoming about whether they would accept online forms filled out on someone's behalf. So we are encouraging all prisoners to file for themselves, via paper. 

Claims must be filed before November 4, 2020 (according to the most recent information).  Those who do not meet the deadline can instead apply by filing a 2020 tax return, beginning in late January 2021, and they will receive their refund promptly.

People who did not file a 2018 or 2019 tax return are urged to file a claim with the IRS before October 15, 2020, in order to receive a payment. If the prisoner filed a 2018 or 2019 tax return or received Social Security Benefits or Railroad Retirement Board Benefits, they do not need to file a claim. However, if they did not file a 2018 or 2019 tax return and their income was below $12,200 (or $24,400 if filing jointly) in 2019, then a claim must be filed through the IRS’s website.

More information on the recent ruling regarding prisoners and CARES Act stimulus checks can be found here


  • Access to Justice
  • Chapman Spingola
  • Hughes Socol Piers Resnick & Dym