Evangelical Leaders Urge Congress to Rectify Marriage Penalty in COVID Relief Package

WASHINGTON, D.C. As Congress reportedly is considering inclusion of another round of direct payments to Americans as a part of a COVID relief bill, a broad coalition of evangelical leaders is urging them to rectify an element of the CARES Act that excluded more than a million U.S. citizens and lawful immigrants as a result of their marital status.

U.S. citizens and other lawful residents who would otherwise have qualified for a relief payment under the CARES Act were excluded if they jointly filed their tax returns with a spouse who has an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, a special number the IRS grants to individuals ineligible for a Social Security Number.

“No Americans should be penalized because they have gotten married,” these leaders wrote in a letter sent to congressional offices this afternoon, citing their Christian commitment to the institution of marriage. “Under the CARES Act, an estimated 1.4 million U.S. citizens and lawfully present immigrants were ineligible for this assistance because they jointly filed their taxes with a spouse. Had they chosen to cohabitate unmarried with or even divorce that partner, they would have qualified, which creates a penalty against marriage that should not be the public policy of the United States government.”


The Evangelical Immigration Table is a broad coalition of evangelical organizations and leaders advocating for immigration reform consistent with biblical values.

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