“Jessica Bartholow, policy advocate at the Western Center on Law & Poverty, said she’s glad of the governor’s order – “to think this money was going to go to the pockets of some of the largest corporations in our country was nauseating,” she said.
Already, she’s had people calling her saying they are unable to access their stimulus checks. It’s not always been clear why banks freeze people’s accounts, she said. Debt collector levies could be one explanation, but so could overdraft fees, or because the check represents far more money than the individual has ever had in their account before. She said one woman had called in tears the night before. The woman had just moved out of a shelter with her daughter and needed the money from her stimulus check to pay for food and a microwave. The bank had frozen it, and she didn’t know why.
“Now we can let them know there are protections for them and their stimulus check will not be taken,” she said. “For those low-income people who do have a bank account, this is a lifesaver.”