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SSD and SSI recipients can maximize their Economic Impact Payments

Both the Social Security Advisory Board and AARP have gotten behind Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients, recommending COVID-19 relief payments be sent to SSI beneficiaries without requiring them to file short-form tax returns. Additionally, beneficiaries who have dependents and meet the SSA’s requirements can get a larger check by going to www.irs.gov/coronavirus/economic-impact-payments.

To get maximum benefits through the SSA website you must:

  • Be receiving Social Security retirement, survivors, or disability insurance benefits;
  • Not have filed a tax return for 2018 or 2019;
  • Have qualifying children under age 17.

If you meet these criteria go to the webpage noted above and enter your information rather than waiting for your automatic $1,200 Economic Impact Payment. By taking these proactive steps you will receive an additional $500 per dependent child. If you are a Social Security beneficiary who qualifies for a dependent stimulus check and do not provide your information to the IRS soon, you will have to wait to receive this additional benefit.

“Typically, those on SSI do not have incomes high enough to be required to file tax returns,” said Kevin J. Bambury, attorney, Jeffrey Freedman Attorneys, PLLC. “The Social Security Administration (SSA) and the IRS already have income data for these folks—requiring them to do a tax return is unnecessary and would just slow down the relief payment process. Providing this web site link is a big help for those who also have dependent children.”

Congress intended the stimulus package to benefit all consumers because everyone is suffering the financial consequences of COVID-19. The majority of SSI recipients are too ill to leave their houses even in normal times, and with more people homebound, delivery services for groceries and medications have become overburdened and more expensive. The impact for those on SSI is significant, particularly since increases in other costs such as rent and food are not fully covered by COLA increases in benefits.

“SSI beneficiaries should receive their checks just as quickly and efficiently as everyone else,” Bambury said. “They should not be penalized for being ill or injured and unable to work, and it should be a simple matter for them to collect the extra $500 per dependent child.”

Economic impact payments will not be counted as income and will be excluded from resource calculations for 12 months for those who receive SSI benefits. Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin said SSD recipients who do not usually file a tax return, and do not have dependents under the age of 17 do not need to take any action. They will receive their payments of $1,200 directly to their bank accounts, based on the information the IRS has from Forms SSA-1099 and Forms RRB-1099.

Even these unprecedented times, the staff at Jeffrey Freedman Attorneys is available to answer questions about SSD and SSI. If you know someone who might qualify for SSD or SSI benefits, have them contact us for a free consultation at 716-856-7091 or 800-343-8537.