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

Commissioner of Social Security Administration

Comments

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  1. ROBERT WILSON

    I am on Social Security and still waiting for ANY notification of WHEN I will get my payment. It seems like everyone i know has received it already, and when i go to IRS.GOV for ‘When will i get my payment’ , it keeps saying ‘ no information!!!!

    Reply
  2. Leagons

    You held up people non SSA and SSI who really needed stimulus money for food and bills the lied when we called your administration

    Reply
  3. Terrilynn Smith

    So when does those of us on social security retirement benefits get the stimulus check ?

    Reply
  4. Stephanie A Baldwin

    So when should we receive our payment?

    Reply
  5. Marilyn Nolen

    I receive disability, widows pension, when will these be deposited

    Reply
  6. Rich Fralick

    Well, when do we get our money?????

    Reply
  7. Gary Lee Gomez

    I still do not understand the delay. I’ve checked and rechecked my direct deposit information. It is correct. There wasn’t any problem with the 2 previous economic deposits. Am I going to have to wait another 2 weeks?

    Reply
  8. Sheryl Cantrell

    Ok,so from what I’m reading we’re starting to play the blame game.I still see NO DATE for when we get our stimulus checks! I don’t care who did or didn’t do or say what! We need and DESERVE our checks NOW!

    Reply
  9. Erin Viren

    So disabled people on SSI will not get the check?

    Reply
  10. Janice Knight

    I hope the checks come soon because I am flat out broke I have about $80 left in my bank the other two checks I got came right on time this one is it eating me alive please keep me posted thank you

    Reply
    • Rich Fralick

      Same here. This has been a total disaster to my mind.

      Reply
    • Fire the Commissioner

      This man don’t care about our checks. He was more worried about finding loopholes than doing what’s moral and right for the American people.

      Reply

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