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Democrats urge Treasury to assist Social Security recipients who miss key coronavirus payment deadline

Democrats urge Treasury to assist Social Security recipients who miss key coronavirus payment deadline
© Greg Nash

Two key Democrats are urging the Treasury Department to provide an "additional accommodation" for Social Security recipients who are unable to meet Wednesday's deadline to provide information to the IRS in order to quickly receive coronavirus rebates for their children.

"Given the importance of these payments at this critical time, we urge Treasury to consider all available options for paying these beneficiaries additional amounts owed this year," Reps. John Larson John Barry LarsonCOVID-19 damage to Social Security to extend beyond pandemic It's time for a grand agreement on Social Security What we need to do next to defeat COVID and unify the country MORE (D-Conn.) and Danny K. Davis (D-Ill.), senior Democrats on the House Ways and Means Committee, wrote in a letter Tuesday to Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven MnuchinPence delivers coronavirus task force report to Biden Treasury imposes additional sanctions on Cuba over allegations of 'serious human rights abuse' Treasury Department sanctions inner circle of Russian agent Derkach for election interference MORE.

Under legislation President TrumpDonald TrumpIran's leader vows 'revenge,' posting an image resembling Trump Former Sanders spokesperson: Biden 'backing away' from 'populist offerings' Justice Dept. to probe sudden departure of US attorney in Atlanta after Trump criticism MORE signed late last month, most Americans are entitled to receive one-time payments of up to $1,200 per adult and $500 per child under age 17. The IRS has announced that it will automatically send payments of $1,200 to people who aren't typically required to file tax returns and receive Social Security, railroad retirement, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or veterans benefits.

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On Monday afternoon, the Treasury Department and IRS announced that if Social Security and railroad retirement beneficiaries want to get the payments for their children added to their automatic payments, they need to use an IRS web tool to provide the agency with their information by noon EDT on Wednesday. Recipients of SSI and veterans benefits have a little more time to submit their dependent information.

The recipients of federal benefits who don't promptly provide the IRS with information about their children will receive a payment in the near future of $1,200 and won't be able to receive the additional amounts for their children until they file their 2020 tax returns next year, the IRS said. The agency said that it would have to wait to issue the additional payments until a 2020 return is filed "by law."

Larson and Davis, who both are chairmen of Ways and Means subcommittees, said they appreciated that Treasury wants to quickly make payments to Social Security and railroad retirement recipients but expressed concerns about the fact that the IRS announced the deadline less than 48 hours before it occurs. 

"Our concerns over this deadline are particularly acute because many of these beneficiaries are seniors with limited or no internet access," the lawmakers wrote.

Larson and Davis urged Treasury to allow recipients of federal benefits who provide the IRS with their dependent information after the deadline to promptly receive their addition payment amount soon after they submit their information. 

They also asked Treasury to "consider an alternative option for Americans who may have limited or no internet access, so that they too can receive payment for their dependents as soon as possible."