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When can Social Security recipients expect stimulus checks?

Social Security COLA
Posted at 7:42 PM, Mar 25, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-25 20:11:19-04

The IRS has distributed millions of direct payments as part of the $1.9 trillion signed by President Joe Biden. But many recipients of Social Security have complained that they have not been among the first to receive the $1,400 stimulus checks.

On Wednesday, the IRS said the majority of Social Security recipients and other federal beneficiaries who do not normally file tax returns should receive their payments on April 7.

Last Wednesday, Democrats on the House Ways and Means Committee Chairman demanded that the Social Security Administration transfer to the IRS the information needed to administer the payments.

“We are aware that the IRS asked SSA to start sending payment files two weeks before the American Rescue Plan became law on March 11, 2021,” wrote the representatives. “As of today, SSA still has not provided the IRS with the payment files that are needed to issue EIPs to these struggling Americans. We demand that you immediately provide the IRS this information by tomorrow, March 25, 2021.”

Last Thursday, Social Security Commissioner Andrew Saul explained that there were some bureaucratic hang-ups that caused the payments to take longer than for those who file a tax return with the IRS.

The Social Security Administration said it has been working with the IRS in the last week to arrange a “reimbursable agreement” in order to administer payments to those on Social Security. Saul said that the Social Security Administration completed sending the IRS files of recipients on Thursday.

“(Social Security) SSA’s public service mission is squarely focused on many of those who are most economically-vulnerable in our society and we owe it to our beneficiaries to ensure they receive their (Economic Impact Payments) EIPs right away,” Saul said. “In fact, it was the substantial efforts of SSA that successfully overcame the fact that the IRS did not have a mechanism to automatically identify Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients, some of the most financially insecure people in America. It was SSA that pushed the prior Administration and Congress to allow us to send to IRS a file of those individuals, who do not receive forms SSA-1099, so that IRS could automatically issue EIPs to them.”

But this process meant payments could take a few weeks longer than when most Americans received the checks.

“Those updates to our files ensure that payments go to correct bank accounts and addresses, and, that those who are deceased are removed from the files,” Saul said. “In short, Social Security employees have literally worked day and night with IRS staff to ensure that the electronic files of Social Security and SSI recipients are complete, accurate, and ready to be used to issue payments. There is no one more committed to serving the public than the employees of this agency, and there should be no doubt whatsoever that they are striving each day to serve the vulnerable populations to whom they have committed their careers. I find any insinuation to the contrary to be unacceptable.”

The IRS began administering stimulus checks on March 12. By March 17, 90 million Americans received stimulus checks.

Many government beneficiaries, such as those receiving Social Security retirement, Survivor or disability benefits (SSDI), Railroad Retirement benefits, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Veterans Affairs benefits are eligible for a stimulus check without being required to file a tax return.

Americans can check the status of their stimulus payment by going to the "Get My Payment" site on the IRS' website.

Americans making up to $75,000 a year will get a direct payment of $1,400 (couples making up to $150,000 a year will get $2,800). Heads of households making up to $112,500 annually also will receive the full $1,400.

Those making $75,000 to $80,000 ($150,000 to $160,000 for couples) will get a prorated check. Those making over $80,000 ($160,000 for couples) will not receive a check.

The IRS will use “adjusted gross income” to determine income eligibility for payments. If you have not filed a 2020 tax return, the IRS will use 2019 tax information to determine eligibility.

Contact Justin Boggs on Twitter @jjboggs or on Facebook.