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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Commissioner of Social Security Administration (June 17, 2019 - July 9, 2021)

Comments

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  1. Amelia Jones

    I recommend take your online classes that you deduct government spending from the other three segments of the GDP instead of add it. Government doesn’t acquire anything so it ought to be deducted from different parts of the GDP and not added. Then, at that point you will have a genuine image of financial development.

    Reply
  2. Rita A

    I am attempting to assist my cousin. He receives SSI and SSB. Upon receiving the EIP3 of $1400, his SSI was reduced to $0.00 and he was advices that he was overpaid SSI in the amount of $604 that would be paid back by taking $37.00 a month for over 16 months to pay it back reducing his SSB benefits to $333.00 per month to live on. I didn’t think receipt of the EIP was supposed to impact the participants benefits. Want actions are required or who can I contact to resolve this issue?

    Reply
    • Ann C., Public Affairs Specialist

      Hi, Rita. We ask that members in our Blog community work with our offices with specific questions. Your cousin can call us at 1-800-772-1213, Monday through Friday, between 8:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m., for assistance. Generally, he will have a shorter wait if he calls later in the day. He can also contact his local Social Security office. We hope this helps.

      Reply
  3. Laurette Linnell

    continued:
    I failed to mention the fact that when they lose their cash benefits, they also lose their Medicaid. This is a threat to their health & their well being. Anything you could do to correct this issue would very much be appreciated.

    Reply
  4. Laurette Linnell

    What is the criteria for taking away someone’s cash benefits when they have a terminal illness? I happen to have two people with this issue.
    One I don’t think will last another month from lifelong kidney disease & they are basically just keeping him alive at this point. Social Security dropped him 3 months ago by saying he can work with no evidence proving this.
    The other has congestive heart failure. He has an attorney fighting it now but he was dropped almost a year ago. SSA stated he was better now, again. no proof.
    We need answers! This is URGENT! Please respond ASAP. Thank you.

    Reply
    • Vonda

      For your security, Laurette, we do not have access to private information in this venue. We ask that members in our Blog community work with our offices with specific questions. You can call us at 1-800-772-1213 for assistance or you can call your local Social Security office. Please look for the general inquiry telephone number at the Social Security Office Locator. The number may appear under Show Additional Office Information. Please be aware that our call wait times are longer than normal. We hope this information helps.

      Reply
  5. Elaine Smith

    Hi am on disability and my husband is disease I tried to get his Social Security ,Social security telling me that I can’t get his because I used to work for the school board which they call that pension what’s that have to do with his Social security? He never worked for the school board I don’t think this is fare for them to keep something that doesn’t belong to them. Am am snuggling Social Security supposed to help the elderly and disabled people all it do is keep you in poverty. We have to live once a month on this check you can’t even save or go on vacation like normal people because you can’t afford it. I barely have enough to pay bills and buy food they won’tgive me any food stamps. Someone needs to change this rule I asked Social security where does my disease hudbsnd money goes? They tells me that the money just sit there. Why are money just sitting in a dead my account? Make no sense I could use this money for food and bills. Can the commissioner or whoever deals with this matter please help. Thanks

    Reply
    • Vonda

      Hi Elaine, thanks for using our blog. If you receive a pension from a government job in which you did not pay Social Security taxes, some or all of your Social Security widow’s benefit may be offset due to receipt of that pension. This offset is referred to as the Government Pension Offset, or GPO. For additional details, check out our Government Pension Offset factsheet.

      Reply
      • Elaine Smith

        Hi Vonda, I read the GOP it says they will reduce your spouse, Widow or Widower benefit by two third of the amount of your government pension. The offset is known as the GOP than why am I not getting my deceased husband
        two third social security? I really don’t understand this.

        Reply
        • Vonda

          Hi Elaine. If two thirds of your non-covered pension is more than what your Social Security widow’s benefit would be, then there is no Social Security widow’s benefit payable. Check out the Government Pension Offset calculator for more details.

          Reply
  6. Kenneth M. Samec

    Being abuse by SSA local office. Being Disabled person. I been abuse of all my benefits, that was signed in by Federal Judge Order. The office forces me to work, to get my benefits. The office keeps cutting off benefits at 3 to 4 months at a time. On going Abuse by SSA staff. Why is it that OIG can not investigate abuse by SSA workers. It was told to me The Commissioner will not ok it.

    Reply
  7. Ricardo Moreno

    Just need some help

    Reply
  8. James W Spivey

    Hi I am asking bout ssi deduction from .my wife income I just got approved for ssi and I know u deem your wife income do u take off cost of living from child for deduction 397 each I got three kids so that should knock.my wife wages down some so I can get the full amount

    Reply
    • Ann C., Public Affairs Specialist

      Hi, James. Unfortunately, your question is a bit more complex than we can answer in this forum. For your security, we do not have access to private information in this venue. Please contact your local Social Security office for assistance. Thanks!

      Reply
  9. April A.

    I’m a single, disabled mom of 3 children and my SSI check is one and only source of income. As you can imagine, we are barely making it, and I still haven’t received a penny of stimulus money on behalf of my children.
    Does anyone happen to know if those in similar situations qualify for the child tax credit? I understand we don’t qualify for the earned income credit, as our only income is SSI, but isn’t the child tax credit for low income families to help lift children out of poverty? From the information I have found so far, it doesn’t seem like we qualify…:(

    Reply

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