Why Rape Victims Are Being Denied Stimulus Checks
Their settlement money is being treated as a wage — as though being assaulted were a job.
“We aren’t gonna get a relief check bc the American govt counts my wife’s sexual assault settlement as income. Like it was her job.” I saw these words on Twitter yesterday, written by comedian Drew Morgan with his wife’s permission, and felt a little sick to the stomach. He went on to explain “We didn’t save the money bc we used it to pay down debt. I haven’t worked for a year. Everything is a nightmare … Lol every bit of our debt was medical or student loans. Guys — our shit is broken.”
The reason for this is that, unlike personal injury settlements, or those for physical sickness, settlements for sexual assault are not fully non-taxable, and count towards your income. The law states: “The more difficult situation, involving sexual abuse, occurs when there is no physical injury or sickness, but the abuse victim still suffers from severe emotional distress. Unfortunately, in that instance, where no physical injury or sickness occurred, the abuse victim cannot exclude the settlement proceeds from gross income because they do not meet the requirements of I.R.C §104(a)(2).”
Several women responded to the tweet, saying they had similar experiences. Honestly, how much is wrong with a country if a woman is denied a relief check in the middle of a pandemic, all because she was given settlement money as a laughable compensation after the violence and trauma of sexual assault?