Across the country, Americans are beginning to receive their payments resulting from the passage of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act on March 27, 2020. Many households can expect to receive up to $1,200 per adult and up to $500 per child, and the funds will be automatically transferred to recipients via direct deposit—but only if they filed a 2018 or 2019 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 2018 or 2019, rendering them unable to receive their Economic Impact Payment through direct deposit. Ever since the CARES Act was 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 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. So far, this tool has increased access to SSI beneficiaries, but many people are still waiting for their much-needed checks. On a positive note, the Social Security Administration recently confirmed that the Economic Impact Payments will not be considered income or otherwise impact an individual’s ability to continue receiving SSI benefits.