How Coronavirus Stimulus Payments Affect Your Household Income

The federal government’s new economic impact payments may have you wondering how to calculate your household income, whether you want to apply for health insurance during special enrollment or report a change to your income.

There are two kinds of stimulus payments: stimulus payments and Pandemic Unemployment Compensation. It’s important to understand which payments you need to include in your household income because determines which programs you qualify for and how much financial help you get.

How do I calculate my annual income when applying for health coverage through Covered California?

In short, you don’t need to include stimulus payments (the $1,200 per eligible individual payments) when you calculate your household income, but you do need to include the $600 per week Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (except when it comes to Medi-Cal eligibility).

Covered California with Financial Help Medi-Cal
CARES Act Tax Credits or Stimulus Payments No No
Extra $600 per week PUC Payment Yes No
Traditional Unemployment Benefits Yes Yes

Stimulus Payments

In April, people who met certain requirements began receiving stimulus payments of $1,200 per individual, $2,400 per individual filing a joint return, and $500 per each dependent child.

Does Covered California consider the stimulus payments to be part of my household income?

No. While using the Shop and Compare Tool, you don’t need to add this as part of your household income. The stimulus payments aren’t included in your taxable gross income and MAGI for purposes of determining whether you’re eligible for any financial help available through Covered California. The same goes for determining your eligibility for Medi-Cal and CHIP.

Pandemic Unemployment Compensation

Eligible individuals receiving unemployment benefits can receive additional unemployment compensation of $600 under the federal government’s CARES Act. You’ll have to include these payments when you use the Shop and Compare Tool to find out if you qualify for financial help with a health plan through Covered California.

Because Pandemic Unemployment Compensation payments end July 25 of this year, you should be careful to not count this income for the rest of the year in your annual income estimate while using the Shop and Compare Tool, or you could lose out on financial help. (You can also enter your monthly income.) People who have a health plan through Covered California currently will have to report a change within 30 days if they start getting these additional unemployment benefits.

Is the extra $600 per week Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (PUC) considered by Covered California to be part of my household income?

Yes. All unemployment benefits (including the extra $600 per week PUC payment) are included in your taxable gross income and MAGI for purposes of eligibility for financial help available through Covered California. Include these in your household income while using the Shop and Compare Tool.

Is the extra $600 per week Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (PUC) considered taxable income for purposes of determining my eligibility for Medi-Cal and CHIP?

No. They are excluded from your income for purposes of determining your eligibility for MediCal and CHIP (C-CHIP and MCAP). However, traditional federal and state unemployment benefits would still be considered income for Medi-Cal and CHIP purposes.