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Lawyer: Stimulus check should not count as resource for NAP recipients

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MICRONESIAN Legal Services Corporation attorney Chris Heeb said the Covid-19 stimulus checks from the federal government should not be counted as income.

He was asked to comment about the local Nutrition Assistance Program notice, which stated that a stimulus payment received by a NAP household is considered a resource and must be reported to the NAP office.

But according to Heeb, “Covid-19 stimulus payments are advance payments of a 2020 refundable tax credit.  Pursuant to 26 U.S.C. Section 6409, these payments shall not be taken into account as income and shall not be taken into account as resources for a period of 12 months from receipt for the purposes of determining eligibility for benefits or assistance under any federal program or under any state or local program financed in whole or part with federal funds.  This includes [Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or] SNAP benefits.  The [U.S. Department of Agriculture] released guidance on this specific question in a published April 11, 2020 Covid-19 Question and Answer publication.  That publication can be accessed at https://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/covid-19/snap-questions-and-answers-covid-19-set-1

He said even though the CNMI is under the NAP program and not the SNAP program, the result should be the same. The CNMI NAP program is financed in whole or in part with federal funds and thus 26 U.S.C section 6409 still applies, Heeb added.

As of press time Thursday evening, Variety had yet to receive a comment from the Office of the Attorney General.

 

 

 

 

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