Many Americans have received or are receiving their next COVID-19 stimulus checks resulting from the American Rescue Plan Act’s passage earlier this month. Many households can expect to receive up to $1,400 per adult, additional funds per child, and ongoing unemployment benefits in the largest stimulus bill in American history. Funds are automatically transferred to recipients via direct deposit—but only if they filed a 2019 or 2020 tax return. However, those receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) are experiencing difficulties receiving their Economic Impact Payments. Let’s take a look at how being on SSI may impact how quickly and through what means you can obtain your payment.
Many people on SSI did not file tax returns in 2019 or 2020, rendering them unable to receive their Economic Impact Payment through direct deposit. Ever since the Rescue Act and prior relief bills were announced, disability advocacy groups have stated that the U.S. Department of Treasury should collaborate with the Social Security Administration and the Department of Veterans Affairs to find a workaround to the tax return filing requirement.
In a joint letter last year to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Social Security Commissioner Andrew Saul, and Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert Wilkie, disability advocates wrote, “Forcing millions of low-income senior citizens and people with disabilities, many of them veterans, to file tax returns when they are not otherwise required to do so will delay access to their recovery rebates and place a huge burden on the providers of disability and low-income tax preparation services.”
The IRS Responds
On April 10, 2020, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) implemented a new tool on its website that enables SSI recipients to register for the Economic Impact Payments without having to file a tax return. https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus/get-my-payment So far, this tool has increased access to SSI beneficiaries, but many people are still waiting for their much-needed checks. Many of these issues were supposed to be worked out before the third bill was passed. On a positive note, Economic Impact Payments are not considered income, so they do not impact an individual’s ability to continue receiving SSI benefits.
Other Tax Considerations
Many low-income individuals do not file tax returns annually, which complicated their ability to receive the Impact Payment. This article explains some of the ways that low-income earners can access this payment or a credit against future tax payments.
During this unprecedented time, Drew L. Johnson, P.C. remains committed to helping Eugene and Albany residents resolve their SSI and SSDI issues. Call (541) 434-6466 to schedule a free initial consultation with an experienced Social Security disability benefits attorney.