Still missing your inflation relief money? You’re not the only one

The California state Capitol building in Sacramento.
The state has crossed the halfway point for its total payouts for the Middle Class Tax Refund program. Above, the Capitol building in Sacramento.
(Jason Armond / Los Angeles Times)

California has paid over $5 billion to 19 million eligible residents and their families as part of an inflation relief program meant to soften the blow of rising costs.

The latest figures represent more than half of the total payouts expected under the program, with the balance of the payments expected to reach eligible residents throughout the start of next year.

The Middle Class Tax Refund, or inflation relief program, aims to pay $9.5 billion to eligible Californians. Refund payments range from $200 to $1,050 depending on your filing status from your 2020 income tax returns and whether you claimed dependents.

The state has sent out 10.5 million payments, according to the latest information from the California Franchise Tax Board. Since early October, nearly 7 million people have received direct deposits and 3.5 million have been issued debit cards.

All direct deposits have been issued as of Nov. 14, according to the state, but millions of the debit cards still need to be mailed.

These one-time payments range from $400 to $1,050 for couples who filed jointly on their 2020 state income tax return and $200 to $700 for those who filed independently. Eligible residents will need to have filed their 2020 tax return by Oct. 15, 2021, and meet the state’s adjusted gross income limits.


Price increases moderated in the United States last month in the latest sign that the inflation pressures that have gripped the nation might be easing.

Nov. 10, 2022

Prices have consistently climbed over the last year, with a 7.7% increase in October over the same month in 2021 and a 0.4% increase from September to October, according to the latest available data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. While the year-over-year increase is the smallest since January, it follows several months of steep inflation, despite aggressive steps from the Federal Reserve and inflation relief programs at the state level.

California’s inflation relief program payments will continue to be sent out through January. You can check your eligibility and calculate your total payment amount with the Franchise Tax Board’s refund estimator.

1. Am I eligible to get money through the California Middle Class Tax Refund?

There are several important qualifications to keep in mind. You may already be eligible and not know it. According to the state Franchise Tax Board, requirements for eligible Californians include:

  • Having filed your 2020 tax return by Oct. 15, 2021.
  • Meeting California’s adjusted gross income limits of $500,000 or less. There are tiers for how much you will receive depending on your AGI.
  • Not having been claimed as a dependent in the 2020 tax year.
  • Having been a California resident for at least six months in the 2020 tax year and being a resident on the date the payment is issued.

2. How will I receive my payment?


This will all depend on how you filed your 2020 income tax return and whether you still have the same bank account. That can make the difference between a direct deposit or a physical debit card that will arrive in the mail. There are other qualifications that may affect how you will receive your payment, but here are a few:

  • Direct deposits will go out to you if you filed your 2020 income tax return electronically. Payments will be made to the same bank account where your 2020 income tax refund was deposited.
  • A physical debit card will go to you if you filed your 2020 income tax return with a paper form.
  • If you filed your 2020 income tax return electronically, but you have since changed your bank account number or bank altogether, then you will receive a debit card.

3. When should the money arrive?

  • Direct deposit payments started to between Oct. 7 and Oct. 25. All additional direct deposits were issued by Nov. 14.
  • If you changed your bank or bank account number from when you electronically filed your 2020 income tax returns, you will have to wait a little longer. Your payments should arrive in a debit card from Dec. 17 through Jan. 14.
  • If you received a Golden State Stimulus check — a program meant to assist families weather the economic impact from the COVID-19 pandemic — in the mail in 2021, you too can expect a physical debit card. Those are expected to arrive Oct. 24 through Dec. 10. Remaining cards will be sent out through Jan. 14.