The U.S. Department of the Treasury has already distributed more than 130 million payments worth approximately $335 billion to millions of Americans and more funds are on the way.
The Internal Revenue Service, the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the Bureau of the Fiscal Service announced that several million more payments in the third batch of Economic Impact Payments from the American Rescue Plan are being disbursed.
A large set of payments began this month going to social security and other federal beneficiaries who didn’t file a 2020 or 2019 tax return and didn’t use the non-filers tool last year.
“These payments will go to Social Security retirement, survivor or disability (SSDI), Supplemental Security Income (SSI), and Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) beneficiaries,” the IRS said.
The majority of these payments will be sent electronically and received by Wednesday, April 7.
The beneficiaries had to wait longer than millions of other Americans in part because the Social Security Administration did not forward all the necessary payment information to the IRS. The SSA said it was effectively barred from sending the IRS the payment files without a specific provision or agreement in Biden’s legislation.
Lawmakers on the House Ways and Means Committee, chaired by U.S. Rep. Richard Neal of Massachusetts, wrote to SSA to say the delay for some of the “most vulnerable” Americans was “inexplicable.”
Steve Richardson, SSA communications director for the New England region, noted that unlike last year’s Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the American Rescue Plan did not directly appropriate funds or establish “a reimbursable agreement with IRS to fund us for our work to support their issuance” of the payments.
Both before and after Biden’s relief bill became law, SSA discussed with Treasury and IRS that the agency “is unable by law to use our administrative appropriation to conduct work on any non-mission provision or program,” he said.
“We have been aggressively working with Treasury and IRS since passage and successfully signed the reimbursable agreement in less than one week after passage (on March 17th),” he added. “We sent test files to IRS a few days following the execution of this agreement.”
Others check recipients in this batch include some Americans who already received their third stimulus payment. Some Americans will receive a “plus-up” payment – an additional amount for individuals and households who received stimulus checks in March based on 2019 tax returns but are eligible for a new or larger payment due to a change in their income or household size.
“These ‘plus-up’ payments could include a situation where a person’s income dropped in 2020 compared to 2019, or a person had a new child or dependent on their 2020 tax return, and other situations,” the IRS said in a statement.
The direct payments are meant to send $1,400 to adults earning less than $75,000 and couples less than $150,000, as well as $1,400 for dependents. The checks phase out for Americans making more than $75,000, with a hard cut-off at $80,000 for individuals and $160,000 for married couples.
All three major stimulus packages since the pandemic hit the U.S. have made clear that those who do not earn enough to file taxes, including many of the beneficiaries the Democratic lawmakers pressed IRS and SSA about, are eligible for payments.