COVID-19 Federal Relief Payments: What People on Social Security Need to Know

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The recent federal COVID-19 relief stimulus package guaranteed a one time Economic Impact Payment of $1,200 to most Americans. It has been unclear if these payments will reach people who rely on Social Security for their income. A lot of advocacy work is going on to make sure that they will. Currently there are many rumors going around about this issue. This article will help you understand where we are right now.

What is the Problem?

The IRS will be issuing these payments as though they are tax returns. The problem stems from the fact that many people who rely on Social Security for their income do not file taxes. This flaw has been addressed for retired people, yet they receive a different form of Social Security from many people with disabilities. The confusion comes from the fact that it is unclear whether or not last week’s solution that works for retired people applies to people who receive SSI or certain Veterans Affairs benefits. As recently as last week it appeared that people with disabilities relying on Social Security would need to file simple tax returns to receive payment.

Where are We Now?

The IRS has been updating both their Coronavirus Tax Relief page and their Economic impact payments: What you need to know page frequently as this process is refined. As of late last Friday the language on the IRS website has been changed to suggest that filing taxes may not be necessary. At the same time, Senators Susan Collins and Kyrsten Sinema sent this letter to the IRS, the Social Security Administration, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and the Department of the Treasury, and 45 additional Senators sent this letter asking that people on SSI and veterans not be required to file taxes to receive their Economic Impact Payment.

What to Do?

We will update this story as soon as we have confirmation one way or the other so please continue to check the Monday Morning Memo for updates.

If you are concerned and want to fill your taxes just in case you can do it on the IRS website at the Free File: Do Your Federal Taxes for Free page.

We will continue to closely monitor this situation and share further information as it develops.

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