The $2 trillion economic stimulus package enacted (CARES Act) on March 27, 2020 will provide most Americans with an amount up to $1,200 to help manage the devastating economic outcome of the COVID-19 pandemic. This legislation will give a one-time check for $1,200 for single adults who reported adjusted gross income of $75,000 or less on their 2019 tax returns. Married couples filing jointly will receive $2,400, and families will receive an extra $500 for each child under 17. Social security recipients and railroad retirees who were not required to file federal tax returns for 2018 or 2019 will receive the stimulus payments automatically on the basis of information provided in their 1099 benefit statements. According to the IRS, no additional paperwork is needed. SSDI (Social Security Disability Insurance) recipients who were not required to file tax returns for 2018 or 2019 will also automatically receive the stimulus payments. As a company providing medical review service for social security disability attorneys, we understand that the IRS will use the SSA-1099 benefits statements to send the payments to SSDI recipients also.
SSI and VA Beneficiaries Also Eligible for the Stimulus Check
SSI (Supplemental Security Income) recipients without dependent children are eligible for their stimulus payments; no additional forms need to be filled. The payment will be made in the same way as they receive their normal benefits – via direct deposit, Direct Express debit card, or paper check. VA (Veterans Affairs) beneficiaries will also receive the stimulus package automatically irrespective of whether they have filed tax returns for 2018 or 2019. However, to receive the additional $500 per dependent child payments, one has to complete the IRS online form for non-filers. In case this is not done at the IRS website, beneficiaries will have to wait until later to receive the additional five hundred dollars.
The IRS Has Started Sending Stimulus Checks
More than 80 million Americans have already received their check payment of $1200 from the IRS. According to the IRS,
- Direct Express account holders can use the IRS’ Non-filer tool, but they cannot receive their and their children’s payment on their Direct Express card. They may enter only non-Direct Express bank account details for direct deposit, or leave the bank information field empty so as to receive a paper check by mail.
- All others who were not required to file 2018 or 2019 tax returns, and who are not social security recipients, SSDI recipients, VA beneficiaries, or railroad retirees can use the free online tool created by the IRS to register in order to receive their stimulus payment. This category includes some low-income workers. This free tool is available only on the IRS website. People who access this tool will be asked to provide basic information such as name, address, social security number, and dependents. Once the IRS verifies the applicant’s eligibility, they will calculate the amount to be paid and send the check either to the applicant’s bank account, or if no bank account information is provided the check will be mailed to the given address.
- The status of an applicant’s stimulus payment can be checked on the IRS website.
Role of Representative Payees
Some SSDI/SSI recipients have representative payees and, in their case, the IRS has deposited the stimulus money into the representative payee’s bank account or sent the payee a check.
- The representative payee is not responsible for managing the stimulus money because it isn’t a social security or SSI benefit.
- SSDI/SSI recipients who want to use the money on their own can ask their representative payee for it.
- Those who want support in managing or saving the stimulus money can request the representative payee to help them. This will be outside the normal role of the payee, and they will not have to include the stimulus payment in their annual accounting to Social Security.
When the Stimulus Amount May Be Reduced
The stimulus amount will be reduced for people who draw income in addition to their disability benefits and earns more than $75,000. Married couples filing a joint return and whose combined income is over $150,000 will also receive a reduced payment. The stimulus payment, including payments for children below 17, will be reduced by 5% of the amount over those thresholds. To decide whether a person’s payment should be reduced,
- The IRS will use the applicant’s “adjusted gross income” from his/her 2019 tax return (line 8b of the 2019 Form 1040), if the applicant has already filed the 2019 tax return.
- For those who have not filed the tax return, the IRS will use the applicant’s adjusted gross income from the 2018 tax return (line 8b of the 2018 Form 1040)
It is important to note that.
- The stimulus money will not count as income for SSI and Veterans pension eligibility purposes. These beneficiaries need not report the stimulus money as income to the Social Security Administration (SSA). The stimulus money is non-taxable as well.
- For SSI, the stimulus money will not count as asset unless the beneficiary still has all or part of it 12 months after receiving it.
- For SSDI eligibility purposes, income and assets do not count, so the stimulus check also will have no effect.
- The stimulus money is not subject to garnishment by the government even for student loan defaults or back taxes. But if a person owes past-due child support payments that have been reported to the Treasury Department, the stimulus money will be reduced to pay the past due amount. The stimulus money can be garnished or levied by private debt collectors.
As a medical review company assisting social security disability attorneys, we understand how valuable any kind of financial assistance is for disabled people who cannot work and earn a good income. So, it is very unfortunate that scammers are exploiting this opportunity to trick disability recipients into disclosing sensitive personal information. SSDI recipients must be guarded against scammers who claim to be from the IRS or Treasury Department. These scammers call, text, or email disability recipients requesting personal financial information or a fee to speed up the stimulus payment. Social security disability attorneys strongly advise disability recipients not to respond to such requests because the IRS will not contact them for any such information; nor do they have to pay a fee to receive their stimulus check.