Is the U.S. government using the 2020 Census to determine who will receive a possible stimulus check? No, that's not true: The U.S. Census Bureau Trust & Safety team is spreading the word that social media posts sharing this claim are entirely false.
The unfounded claim appeared in a post (archived here) published on Facebook by Jeannette Tarver on March 19, 2020. It opened:
IN ORDER TO RECEIVE ANY MONEYS FROM THE GOVERNMENT $1,000-ADULTS AND $500-CHILDREN, YOU'LL HAVE TO FILL OUT THE CENSUS FORM ONLINE, OR THE FORM THAT COMES IN THE MAIL, OR YOU CAN ALSO DO A PHONE INTERVIEW WITH A LIVE PERSON. TO LET THEM KNOW HOW MANY PEOPLE IN YOUR HOUSEHOLD. THE PHONE NUMBER IS 1-844-330-2020!
Users on social media only saw this:
The Census Bureau has refuted the suggestion that a potential stimulus package is tied to completion of the 2020 Census. It posted a link on its website about the online rumors. It said:
Your answers cannot be used to impact your eligibility for any government benefits, including any potential stimulus package.
Will filling out the 2020 Census impact whether you receive a stimulus check?
No. Your answers cannot be used to impact your eligibility for any government benefits, including any potential stimulus package. The Census Bureau is bound by Title 13 of the U.S. Code to keep your information confidential, and the answers you provide are used only to produce statistics.
As a reminder, it is easier than ever to complete the Census online, by phone, or by mail. Completing the 2020 Census helps determine how hundreds of billions of dollars in federal funding flow into communities every year for the next decade. The results of the count also determine the number of seats each state has in the House of Representatives and is used to draw congressional and state legislative districts.
The Census Bureau also created a graphic to try to respond to the misinformation spreading online:
On its page, the Census Bureau includes this denial of the posting:
There have been a lot of false rumors swirling all over social media ever since Congress and the White House began proposing a stimulus package to help address the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic, which has helped rile financial markets.
The original post has generated more than 2,200 shares as of March 21, 2020.
Lead Stories has debunked several of these claims (see links below).
According to The Wall Street Journal, Congressional talks over a stimulus package have hit a roadblock because Senate Republicans and Democrats cannot agree on the terms of the $1 trillion package.
Regardless, these proposals are not tied to completion of the 2020 Census, and rumors suggesting otherwise are wholly unfounded.
Here are some of the other claims related to possible stimulus checks or government handouts that Lead Stories has fact checked:
- Fact Check: Link Does NOT Take People To Application For FEMA Assistance And NO $1,000 Check
- Fact Check: NO, Trump Is NOT Promising To Send Americans Checks - Only After Checking People's Social Media History
- Fact Check: All U.S. Citizens Are NOT Entitled To $700 Per Week To Stay At Home To Avoid Spread Of Coronavirus
- Fact Check: Every Household In The U.S. Is NOT Getting $500 Emergency Food Stamps Or $1,000 Stimulus Check