California Stimulus Check

By Ryan Buuck, LMU Loyola Law School, J.D./M.B.A. Dual Degree Candidate

Last week, Governor Gavin Newsom announced a new economic recovery package that will include $12 billion of direct payments to residents of the State of California. These payments will be like the three stimulus checks sent by the federal government during the CoVID-19 Pandemic. Under this new California plan, many residents who earn up to $75,000 per year will qualify for a one-time check. California expects two out of every three residents to receive economic relief from the state this year.

Do I qualify?
To qualify, you must be a resident of the State of California, you must have already filed your 2020 taxes, and you must earn between $30,000 and $75,000 per year. If you are married and file your taxes jointly with your spouse, you must make less than $75,000 combined to qualify. If you earn less than $30,000 per year, you will not be able to get this check because you qualified for the Golden State Stimulus check that was announced in February, and you can still claim that payment up until October 15, 2021. The $75,000 threshold is measured by “California Adjusted Gross Income,” which means you could make more than $75,000 per year, but if you make less than $75,000 after deductions, you will still qualify for the check.
Unlike the federal stimulus checks, undocumented immigrants and their families and non-resident and resident aliens who use an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) are eligible for the California stimulus check.

How much will I get?
Each Californian that qualifies for the stimulus check will get $600. If you are married and file jointly, you and your spouse will get $600 total. If you are eligible and you have dependents, you will receive an extra $500. This additional amount will be the same no matter how many dependents you have. For example, if you have one child, you will get an extra $500, and if you have five children, you will also get an additional $500. If you received the Golden State Stimulus earlier this year and you have dependents, you will not be getting the $600 check, but you will qualify for the extra $500 for your dependent.

When will I get it?
Although the e state has announced this payment plan, our legislature still needs to approve it, which may take some time. If the Golden State Stimulus earlier this year is a good indicator, you should expect the state to move quickly on processing these payments. Once a taxpayer is deemed eligible, it takes between two and six weeks to receive the check. Taxpayers who set up direct deposit for their taxes will get theirs faster than those waiting on a check to come in the mail. You can set up a direct deposit at

How can the state afford this?
In 1979 Californians voted to create a limit on the amount of money the state is legally allowed to spend every year. We pay high taxes in California, and this cap, called the Gann Limit, ensures that our state government is responsible for our tax money. When the state reaches the Gann Limit, the rest of the funds must be returned – half goes to our public schools, and half goes straight back to the taxpayers. The only time this has happened before was 1989, and we got a 15% cut on our taxes. This year, there was a ton of money left over, and it is coming back to many of our bank accounts.

Tribal Courts in the Time of Covid

Please join two of NCTCC’s esteemed judges, Hon. Abby Abinanti and Hon. Michelle Krieger, to learn about how their Tribal Courts have responded to COVID and how “virtual” sessions have become the new reality in the courts of Indian Country. This is the latest offering in NCTCC’S popular, free Zoom training series.

This training will contain information specific to Tribal courts in which Judge Abinanti and Judge Krieger hear cases: Yurok Tribe, Bear River Band of the Rohnerville Rancheria, Hoopa Valley Tribe, and Karuk Tribe. The Judges do not intend to speak for all Tribal courts in Indian Country. 

Please join us at 1:00 pm on January 15, 2021. After you register for the event you will receive Zoom login information.

This training is made possible by a generous grant from California Rural Indian Health Board.

January 12, 2021 DEADLINE for Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP)

To All Tribal Leaders;

On December 27, 2020, H.R. 133, the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplement Appropriations Act, was signed into law. One of the key provisions in H.R. 133 was funding for rental assistance through the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP). Of the $81.88 billion appropriated, $409.4 million was set aside specifically for tribal governments or their tribally designated housing entity (TDHE). The Treasury Department seeks to distribute the funds as quickly as possible and this has created a short window for enrolling in the program, with a deadline of Tuesday, January 12, 2021 at 11:59 P.M. (EDT).

The funds will be provided directly to tribal governments or TDHEs and the enrolled grantees may distribute the funds to eligible households through existing or newly created rental assistance programs. To receive ERAP funds, tribal governments or TDHEs must enroll through the ERAP web portal here, and must provide payment information and accept the award terms.

Tribal governments or TDHE must enroll by Tuesday, January 12, 2021 at 11:59 P.M. (EDT).

If tribal governments or TDHEs do not submit their information via the portal by the January 12th deadline, the Treasury department will redistribute the funds. We urge tribes or TDHEs to submit their information via the web portal before the deadline.

If you have any questions about this Alert or would like further information, please contact Mica Llerandi at Thank you.


Stay safe and healthy.

TRIBAL ALERT: Tribal Letters of Support for Federal Legislation to Extend Coronavirus Relief Funds Deadline

Hopefully, you have received the email sent out today from the Native American Financial Officers Association (NAFOA) urging you to send a letter of support for S. 4898. This new legislation will extend the period for all states, tribes, and territories to use the Coronavirus Relief Fund payments from December 30, 2020, to September 30, 2021. California Indian Legal Services strongly urges tribes to submit the letter of support for S. 4898 using the support letter template provided by NAFOA (download the letter here) or contact CILS for any assistance or questions you may have.

You can reach out to NAFOA’s Executive Director, Dante Desiderio, at or (202) 631-2003 or Mica Llerandi at Thank you.


Stay safe and healthy.