The money isn't yours - sorry...
There have been a number of international students (including previous J1 visa holders) who have received stimulus checks in error from the US Government's US$2 trillion stimulus bill. This was designed to help American workers, small businesses and industries affected by the COVID pandemic.
F1 and J1 visas do not qualify for this aid package and as such should not use this money!
The Internal Revenue Service has confirmed that some stimulus payments were sent by mistake and were largely based on 2018 and 2019 tax returns.
The IRS is now asking all recipients to return the payment if they have mistakenly received it.
You can see the guidance on how to do this on the IRS website page
While the present situation is unclear, it is certain that these payments were made in error. We stongly advise any participants who received any form of stimulus payment from the US Government to return this as soon as possible using the IRS website. Failure to do so may impact future access to visa programmes and long term prospects in the USA.
Please note IST Plus is unble to advise on this issue - for all questions please refer to the IRS via their website above.