BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - With lawmakers stalled over whether American taxpayers should get a stimulus check due to the coronavirus, there is a new message going around warning folks may not even get those payments unless they participate in the 2020 Census.
Many folks may have seen the messages floating around on social media news feeds or in text messages but the 9News Investigators have learned the warning is false.
“The census isn’t even scheduled to be completed anytime for the next few months so there would be no reason for that to have any implications,” Rep. Garret Graves said.
Those direct payments, which right now could be around $1,000 or more per taxpayer, are something members of congress are still trying to iron out. Graves says those checks have nothing to do with the census.
“There are all sorts of internet rumors about people first having to register with the census before they’re eligible for those payments but that’s not true,” Graves said. “There’s no plan at this point to use that as the data point for how folks are identified to get checks.”
Chances are, many folks have already gotten their census paperwork in the mail but despite the claims in those messages making the rounds, filling it out will not let the government know where to send potential stimulus checks if they are approved.
By being counted, the census lets the federal government know how much money each state should receive for things like healthcare, education, and infrastructure. Graves says not being counted could greatly hurt Louisiana.
"It could happen to where we could even lose a congressional seat or lose hundreds of millions of dollars in federal funding coming to the state of Louisiana if we don't have people registered and ensure that the census counts them and their families," said Graves.
While folks are likely more concerned about those potential direct payments, Graves says the economic package may have gotten delayed as lawmakers work to reach a deal but he believes they are going to make it happen.
“I think as long as we stay focused on impacted people we can get to the endzone where we need to get and get this third piece of legislation done,” Graves said.
Graves suggests that people take advantage of their time at home over the next few weeks to go ahead and complete the 2020 Census online.
Click here for more information about the 2020 Census.
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