The Social Security Administration is defending itself after lawmakers called out the agency for delays in sharing beneficiary information that the IRS needed to send stimulus payments. (Disability Scoop)
Stimulus checks for people with disabilities who receive Social Security and Supplemental Security Income benefits could start flowing after the payments were held up.
The Social Security Administration said late last week that it sent the IRS information needed to issue the $1,400 economic stimulus payments to beneficiaries who qualify.
The move came after a group of lawmakers pressured Social Security officials to act. U.S. Reps. Richard E. Neal, D-Mass., John B. Larson, D-Conn., Bill Pascrell, Jr., D-N.J., and Danny K. Davis, D-Ill., said that the IRS had requested the files two weeks before the American Rescue Plan was signed into law on March 11 green-lighting the payments.
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Nonetheless, the lawmakers said that the Social Security Administration was still dragging its feet more than a week after the IRS started issuing payments.
The lawmakers, who sit on the House Ways and Means Committee, said the delays left nearly 30 million Social Security and SSI beneficiaries waiting and “defied congressional intent and imposed needless anxiety and pain on taxpayers.”
“Now the IRS needs to do its job and get these overdue payments out to suffering Americans. Further delays will not be tolerated by this committee,” the congressmen said.
The IRS indicated that it has already sent 127 million stimulus checks. But the agency was waiting on the Social Security Administration in order to proceed with payments to beneficiaries who have not recently filed tax returns or used the agency’s non-filers tool.
“More information about when these payments will be made will be provided on IRS.gov as soon as it becomes available,” the agency said.
Social Security Commissioner Andrew Saul blamed funding issues for the delay, but said his agency has done all they could to get the needed files to the IRS.
“Since the time that discussions began regarding issuance of (economic impact payments) in the (American Rescue Plan) Act, weeks before passage, we have worked tirelessly with our counterparts at IRS to provide to them the information they need to issue payments to our beneficiaries,” Saul said.
Individuals who earn less than $75,000 annually qualify for the $1,400 payments, with phased amounts for those making up to $80,000.
The payments are automatic in most cases and generally will be paid to beneficiaries the same way they receive their regular benefits, the IRS said.
Unlike previous rounds of economic stimulus payments during the pandemic, this time adults with disabilities who are considered dependents for tax purposes are eligible. The payments go to the taxpayer who claims the dependent.
Stimulus payments will not be considered income for SSI recipients, the Social Security Administration said, and the funds will be excluded from resources for 12 months.