Finance

Democrats urge Treasury to ensure Social Security recipients quickly receive full coronavirus rebates

A group of Democratic senators are urging the Trump administration to ensure that Social Security recipients quickly receive the full amount of their coronavirus rebate, after an IRS deadline passed for beneficiaries to act in order to promptly receive the payments for their children.

“To continue assisting struggling families during the COVID-19 crisis, we strongly urge your agencies to ensure that non-filers receive their stimulus payments – including additional payments for dependent children – as quickly as possible,” the senators wrote in a letter sent Thursday to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Social Security Commissioner Andrew Saul.

Under legislation President Trump signed late last month, most households are eligible to receive direct payments of up to $1,200 per adult and $500 per child under 17. The IRS plans to issue automatic payments of $1,200 to people who aren’t required to file tax returns and receive Social Security, railroad retirement benefits, Supplemental Security Income and veterans benefits.

On Monday, the IRS instructed recipients of those benefits who have children to use an online tool to submit information about their dependents in order to have the $500 per child added to their automatic payments. The IRS gave Social Security and railroad retirement beneficiaries less than 48 hours to act after the announcement, setting a deadline of April 22 at noon, EDT.

The IRS said that by law, people who didn’t use the tool by the deadline will receive the payment for their children when they file 2020 tax returns next year.

The Democratic senators said they are concerned that many families may not receive the full amount of cash assistance that they are entitled to until 2021.

“Many eligible families will not have been able to meet this short, 48-hour deadline,” they wrote.

The senators asked for Treasury to “find another way forward that – without delaying any automatic $1,200 payments – ensures that these Social Security beneficiaries and their children quickly receive the full amount of cash assistance for which they are eligible.” 

“We urge your agencies to continue providing access to the Non-Filers tool after non-filers have received their initial automatic stimulus payments, so that these economically vulnerable individuals can request and receive additional payments for dependent children prior to 2021,” they wrote. “We do not believe that the IRS needs to delay – nor would we support delaying – any automatic $1,200 payments to non-filers in order to achieve this goal.”

Forty members of the Senate Democratic Caucus signed the letter, including Sens. Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.) and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.).

House Democrats sent similar letters to Treasury earlier this week.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) also wants Treasury to examine whether it can get Social Security recipients who missed Wednesday’s deadline the rebates for their dependents before next year.

“We appreciate Treasury’s work to get payments out to as many Americans as quickly as possible and not delay payments for a relatively small number of Social Security recipients who have dependents,” a spokesman for Grassley said. “We are also urging Treasury to consider options to get those individuals the extra dependent amount sooner than next year when they would be able to claim it on their 2020 tax return.”

A Treasury spokeswoman said the deadline was needed in order to promptly get payments to as many Social Security recipients as possible. She said that because of constraints on the IRS computer systems, payments to all Social Security recipients would need to be delayed in order to give those with children more time to provide dependent information.

The spokeswoman said that non-filers who receive Social Security benefits should receive their rebates in their bank accounts by April 29, and non-filers who receive Supplemental Security Income and veterans benefits should start to get their payments in early May. 

– updated at 3:30 p.m.

Tags Charles Schumer Chuck Grassley Coronavirus Donald Trump Maggie Hassan Sherrod Brown Social Security Steven Mnuchin stimulus checks
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