COVID-19, Supporting Our Most Vulnerable

Commissioner Statement on Economic Impact Payments

March 25, 2021 • By

Last Updated: March 25, 2021

A photo headshot of SSA Commissioner Andrew SaulI want to provide an important update about the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) processing of Economic Impact Payments (EIPs) under the American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act.

At each turn over the last 12 months, immediate delivery of EIPs has been, and remains, a top priority for this agency. SSA’s public service mission is squarely focused on many of those who are most economically-vulnerable in our society and we owe it to our beneficiaries to ensure they receive their EIPs right away. In fact, it was the substantial efforts of SSA that successfully overcame the fact that the IRS did not have a mechanism to automatically identify Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients, some of the most financially insecure people in America. It was SSA that pushed the prior Administration and Congress to allow us to send to IRS a file of those individuals, who do not receive forms SSA-1099, so that IRS could automatically issue EIPs to them.

Since the time that discussions began regarding issuance of EIPs in the ARP 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. Despite the fact that Congress did not directly provide SSA funding to support our work on EIPs, we have provided countless hours of assistance to IRS consistent with the laws that establish how we may use the Trust Funds that every American counts on us to protect.

SSA discussed with Treasury and IRS, both before passage and after enactment of the ARP Act, that the Social Security Act does not allow the agency to use our administrative appropriation to conduct work on any non-mission provision or program. Accordingly, we were not authorized to substantively engage Treasury or IRS prior to the ARP’s passage. Instead, upon passage, we were required to pursue a reimbursable agreement with IRS because we received no direct appropriation through the ARP Act. From the outset of discussions, we kept congressional staff apprised of the hurdles this approach would create for SSA, and we have continued to update them on our progress with IRS as we completed the required interagency agreements.

Once we were free to move forward, we aggressively worked with Treasury and IRS to issue payments. As a result of our efforts, we successfully signed the reimbursable agreement and a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) less than one week after passage, on March 17. That process often takes weeks or months to complete, but we got the job done in a matter of days. A few days later, on Monday, March 22, SSA sent initial test files to IRS. IRS confirmed testing success on Wednesday, March 24. Production files were delivered to IRS before 9 AM on Thursday, March 25 – more than a week sooner than we were able to provide a similar file to IRS during the first round of EIPs.

While we were working through the agreements with IRS that would fund our efforts to support issuance of EIPs, we were also protecting the integrity of the EIP program by updating the files that IRS will use to issue payments to our beneficiaries. Those updates to our files ensure that payments go to correct bank accounts and addresses, and, that those who are deceased are removed from the files. In short, Social Security employees have literally worked day and night with IRS staff to ensure that the electronic files of Social Security and SSI recipients are complete, accurate, and ready to be used to issue payments. There is no one more committed to serving the public than the employees of this agency, and there should be no doubt whatsoever that they are striving each day to serve the vulnerable populations to whom they have committed their careers. I find any insinuation to the contrary to be unacceptable.

I assure you that we will continue to do all we can to support implementation of the ARP Act.

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About the Author

Andrew Saul, Commissioner, Social Security Administration

Andrew Saul, Commissioner, Social Security Administration

Commissioner of Social Security Administration


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  1. Amy D

    Glad to know I am not the only one who is missing their direct express stimulus check. Can’t call the IRS so no answers anywhere ! Who is going to fix this ?

    • Mary Dye Matthews

      The social security office is always worked very hard to get anything I needed done and it’s very important to me to be able to receive my stimulus check because I’m on a very fixed income

  2. Robin R Lara

    Please no one will help me figure out why me 3rd stimulas payment was not directly deposited on the 7th when it was supposed to

    • Ann C., Public Affairs Specialist

      Hi, Robin. The IRS, not Social Security, sends all economic impact payments. Unfortunately, our telephone representatives and social media team cannot answer your specific situation about payments. You can find the latest information available from the IRS website. If you don’t see the answer to your question, you can call the IRS’ payment hotline at 1-800-919-9835. Thanks!

      • Robin lara

        I tryed no one will help me…and still no check…

  3. Gloria J Tarpley

    I know what you mean I haven’t got mind neither what is going on with it.

  4. Eleanor H

    You are talking about the 3rd economic stimulus check. That is great but what about those of us who still have not received the first check. I only have SSA to live on and one check would really be helpful but since I am 86years old I guess that no one cares

    • Ann C., Public Affairs Specialist

      Hi, Eleanor. We are sorry to hear about your situation. The IRS, not Social Security, sends all economic impact payments. Unfortunately, our telephone representatives and social media team cannot assist with payments. You can find the latest information available from the IRS. If you don’t see the answer to your question, you can call the IRS’ payment hotline at 1-800-919-9835. Thanks!

      • Ordia Gilbert

        Don’t feel isolated or focused on as I retired from the government and have not seen a penny from the first check of May 2020. I did get a $600 check in January 2021 and was told by letter I should see a second one in 60 days. 90 days later & haven’t seen diddly!! Didn’t expect as nothing EIP has worked for me yet. Thankful to get my social security check and a little retirement annuity from Uncle Sam to pay the bills and meds. Hope I stay healthy & nothing breaks down

  5. Natour F.

    Wonder if SSA provided IRS with wrong account number for my 3rd EIP? The Get My Payment tool has been showing a scheduled (3.24th) payment to an account number I do not recognize. That is it no new updates same report since March 24th and no deposit.
    IRS hotline is only a recording that explains what is already stated on I tried several times to speak to an agent instead of the recording.

  6. Gale S.G.D.

    I cannot understand why my 3rd stimulus payment has not been direct deposited into my banking account, like the preceding two payments last year. There is virtually no reason (having checked on IRS site countless times) why I wasn’t paid on April 7th, along with other SS retirees.

    Regarding the first stimulus payment, I did receive it direct deposited into my account 6 weeks later. Clueless why it took so long. Doesn’t the IRS already have my bank account info? Did the new administration have to start from scratch?? Or did I slip between the cracks? Answers???


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