COVID-19 Stimulus Checks: Do People on SSI & SSDI Qualify?

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As Americans begin receiving their COVID-19 stimulus checks, a lot of people are wondering whether they qualify. Among them: People who receive SSI or SSDI checks may wonder if they qualify for the stimulus money.

The answer is yes: people on SSI, SSDI, and disability do qualify for economic stimulus checks. In fact, to get the check, if you’re receiving Supplemental Security Income, or SSI, you won’t need to take any action. The same is true of Social Security Disability Insurance, or SSDI. You will automatically receive the coronavirus payments.

In an April 15 news release, the IRS announced:

The Internal Revenue Service, working in partnership with the Treasury Department and the Social Security Administration, announced today that recipients of Supplemental Security Income (SSI) will automatically receive automatic Economic Impact Payments. SSI recipients will receive a $1,200 Economic Impact Payment with no further action needed on their part. The IRS projects the payments for this group will go out no later than early May.

“Since SSI recipients typically aren’t required to file tax returns, the IRS had to work extensively with these other government agencies to determine a way to quickly and accurately deliver Economic Impact Payments to this group,” said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig in a news release. “Additional programming work remains, but this step simplifies the process for SSI recipients to quickly and easily receive these $1,200 payments automatically. We appreciate the assistance of SSA and the Bureau of Fiscal Services in this effort.”

The IRS statement continued:

Earlier this month, the IRS took a similar action to ensure those receiving Social Security retirement or disability benefits and Railroad Retirement benefits can receive automatic payments of $1,200. While these groups receive Forms 1099, many in this group don’t typically file tax returns. People in these groups are expected to see the automatic $1,200 payments later this month. Eligible taxpayers who filed tax returns for 2019 or 2018 will also receive the payments automatically. About 80 million payments are hitting bank accounts this week.

The IRS website confirms this. “Individuals who receive Social Security retirement, disability (SSDI), or survivor benefits” will “receive the Economic Impact Payment automatically without taking additional steps.”

You do need to meet other requirements: you must have a valid Social Security number, cannot be claimed as a dependent of another taxpayer, and have an adjusted gross income under certain limits, according to the IRS. The check will be sent however you normally get your SSI or SSDI checks. “The Treasury Department, not the Social Security Administration, will make these automatic payments to SSI recipients. Recipients will generally receive the automatic payments by direct deposit, Direct Express debit card, or by paper check, just as they would normally receive their SSI benefits,” reveals the IRS.

AARP says SSI recipients who “weren’t required to file federal tax returns for 2018 or 2019” won’t need to submit extra paperwork to get the likely $1,200 check. AARP noted: “Stimulus payments will also go out automatically to Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) recipients who were not required to file tax returns for 2018 or 2019. Like Social Security beneficiaries, SSDI beneficiaries also receive SSA-1099 benefits statements every January, which the IRS will use to send the payments.”

“AARP fought hard to ensure these payments would go to people who rely on Social Security and aren’t required to file taxes,” said Bill Sweeney, AARP’s senior vice president for government affairs. “It was just wrong to ask them to fill out extra paperwork, especially in the middle of this crisis, to get the benefits they need. We are very thankful the IRS reversed course and agreed to work with Social Security to get these checks out automatically without extra paperwork or red tape.”

Here’s what you need to know:


What If You’re on SSI But Have Children Who Are Dependents?

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If you have dependents and are on SSI or SSDI, you may qualify for another $500 each if they are under 17. To get that money, you should fill out the IRS online form for non-filers, AARP says. You can find it here.

The law “provides eligible taxpayers with qualifying children under age 17 to receive an extra $500. For taxpayers who filed tax returns in 2018 or 2019, the child payments will be automatic,” says the IRS.

“However, many benefit recipients typically aren’t required to file tax returns. If they have children who qualify, an extra step is needed to add $500 per child onto their automatic payment of $1,200 if they didn’t file a tax return in 2018 or 2019.”

The IRS has set up a special tool to help.

For those who receive Social Security retirement or disability benefits (SSDI), Railroad Retirement benefits or SSI and have a qualifying child, they can quickly register by visiting special tool available only on IRS.gov and provide their information in the Non-Filers section. By quickly taking steps to enter information on the IRS website about them and their qualifying children, they can receive the $500 per dependent child payment in addition to their $1,200 individual payment. If beneficiaries in these groups do not provide their information to the IRS soon, they will have to wait until later to receive their $500 per qualifying child.


Who Is Getting a Stimulus Check?

Not everyone qualifies for the money due to income limits.

“The IRS is committed to helping you get your Economic Impact Payment as soon as possible,” the IRS explains. “The payments, also referred to by some as stimulus payments, are automatic for most taxpayers. No further action is needed by taxpayers who filed tax returns in 2018 and 2019 and most seniors and retirees.”

Who is eligible? According to the IRS:

U.S. residents will receive the Economic Impact Payment of $1,200 for individual or head of household filers, and $2,400 for married filing jointly if they are not a dependent of another taxpayer and have a work eligible Social Security number with adjusted gross income up to:

$75,000 for individuals
$112,500 for head of household filers and
$150,000 for married couples filing joint returns

Taxpayers will receive a reduced payment if their AGI is between:

$75,000 and $99,000 if their filing status was single or married filing separately
112,500 and $136,500 for head of household
$150,000 and $198,000 if their filing status was married filing jointly

The amount of the reduced payment will be based upon the taxpayers specific adjusted gross income.

Eligible retirees and recipients of Social Security, Railroad Retirement, disability or veterans’ benefits as well as taxpayers who do not make enough money to normally have to file a tax return will receive a payment. This also includes those who have no income, as well as those whose income comes entirely from certain benefit programs, such as Supplemental Security Income benefits.

Retirees who receive either Social Security retirement or Railroad Retirement benefits will also receive payments automatically.

Who likely won’t get a check? People whose adjusted gross income is greater than:

$99,000 if your filing status was single or married filing separately
$136,500 for head of household
$198,000 if your filing status was married filing jointly

Dependents, people without valid Social Security numbers, and “nonresident aliens” don’t qualify, the IRS says.

Find the IRS page on stimulus check eligibility here.

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