Stimulus Checks for Social Security, SSI Recipients Delayed Over IRS Paperwork

Stimulus payments for recipients of Social Security, Supplemental Security Income and other federal benefits have been delayed because the Internal Revenue Service has not received the required paperwork from the Social Security Administration.

According to a letter sent to the SSA on Wednesday by the House ways and means committee, nearly 30 million people are still waiting to receive stimulus payments because the SSA "has not sent the necessary payment files."

The committee demanded that the SSA provide the paperwork by Thursday, March 25. The IRS and SSA have not provided an update since the letter was sent.

The IRS has yet to announce a payment date for recipients of federal benefits. In its latest statement on Wednesday, it said more information would be provided "as soon as it becomes available."

Recipients of Social Security and other federal benefits would generally receive their stimulus funds in the "same way as their regular benefits," the IRS said on Monday.

Federal benefits are usually distributed via a Direct Express card account. Updates from the IRS on the timing of stimulus payments "are expected soon," Direct Express said on Tuesday.

Newsweek has contacted the IRS, SSA and the House ways and means committee for comment.

What the House committee says

The letter from the House committee on ways and means, signed by its chairman Rep. Richard Neal (D-MA), reads: "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. As of today [March 24], SSA still has not provided the IRS with the payment files that are needed to issue EIPs [Economic Stimulus Payments] to these struggling Americans.

"We demand that you immediately provide the IRS with this information by tomorrow, March 25, 2021."

What the IRS says

The IRS will "automatically send" third stimulus payments to those who didn't file a tax return but are recipients of Social Security retirement, survivor or disability benefits (Social Security Disability Insurance), railroad retirement benefits, SSI or veterans benefits.

It said on Wednesday: "For those who did not file a 2019 or 2020 tax return or did not use the Non-Filers tool, the IRS is working directly with the Social Security Administration, the Railroad Retirement Board and the Veterans Administration to obtain updated 2021 information to ensure that as many people as possible are sent fast, automatic payments.

"More information about when these payments will be made will be provided on IRS. gov as soon as it becomes available," it added.

The IRS said earlier this month that some benefit recipients might need to file a 2020 tax return even if they don't usually do so.

"If your third payment does not include a payment for your qualified dependent who did not receive a third payment, you must file a 2020 tax return to be considered for an additional third payment even if you don't normally file," the federal body said.

On Monday the IRS added: "People in this group should file a 2020 tax return to be considered for an additional payment for their dependent as quickly as possible."

What the Social Security Administration says

The SSA has yet to provide an update on the stimulus payment date.

On March 12, the SSA website stated: "The IRS is reviewing the tax provisions of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, signed into law on March 11, 2021. We will add helpful Q&As to this page soon, like we did for each of the first two rounds of EIPs.

"If you still subscribe to receive updates from us when we update our EIP1 and EIP2 pages, we will automatically add you to a subscription list for this new EIP page," the website said.

What Direct Express says

On Tuesday, Direct Express said updates on the payments "are expected soon" from the IRS. "This includes information for Direct Express cardholders who didn't file a tax return in 2019 or 2020."

The company added that updates would be posted at the IRS website "as soon as possible."

Only current Direct Express cardholders can receive their third stimulus payments on their cards. Those who don't have a card cannot sign up for one now to receive their stimulus payments, the company said on Tuesday.

Stimulus payments sent to Direct Express accounts that were recently closed or are no longer active "will be returned and the IRS will reissue the payment," it said.

To check the status of your stimulus payment, use the Get My Payment tool at the IRS website.

Social Security Administration logo California 2020
The logo of the U.S. Social Security Administration, seen outside an SSA building in Burbank, California, on November 5, 2020. Nearly 30 million recipients of federal benefits are still waiting for their stimulus funds. Valerie Macon/AFP via Getty Images

The graphic below, produced by Statista, shows what's in the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan.

Stimulus Package 1.9tn - Statista
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