Adult dependents have been left behind during the COVID crisis, don't leave them out of the next stimulus deal

  • In the last two stimulus packages, dependents over the age of 16 received nothing. 
  • This group includes college students, high school students over 16, and disabled adults who all have living expenses. 
  • The next stimulus package must include provisions for adult dependents. 
  • Bobbi Dempsey is a freelance writer and an economic justice fellow at Community Change. 
  • This is an opinion column. The thoughts expressed are those of the author. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

As many struggling Americans anxiously track the fate of President Biden’s proposal for the latest stimulus package, some people — including those who are among our most needy or vulnerable — are simply hoping they aren’t once again left out completely.

During the previous two rounds of stimulus payments, individuals 17 years and older who were claimed as a dependent on someone else’s tax return weren’t eligible to receive a check. This included college-aged children, disabled adults, and even high school students over 16 years old.

These individuals have as many basic living expenses as anyone else — and in the case of college students, are often already taking on considerable debt just to meet their obligations such as tuition bills and housing fees.

As any parent of a high-schooler or college student knows, these young adults can be expensive to feed, clothe, and otherwise support. Likewise elderly and disabled individuals frequently have considerable medical expenses including the cost of essential prescription medications.

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