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

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

Comments

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  1. js

    where’s my payment

    Reply
  2. Harshad P.

    I am retired from civil service. Am I entitled to receive payment?

    EIP is based on tax filing year 2020?

    Reply
  3. Rose L.

    It is 3/25/2021, and I didn’t receive my $1,400- stimulus payment, even though I received, the 2 other stimulus checks, by direct deposit, and my banking information, is still the same

    Reply
  4. Michael h.

    Want my stimulas money !!

    Reply
  5. Pat G.

    Thank you for clearing that up. S/S was getting the blame for the problem.

    Reply
  6. DESIREE

    How is it legal to allow tax payers to fund title 4e which on its face , violates all established and understood rights ?
    Bet no one know this is why they want these kids at the border. They’ve ran out of inventory. Social services is socialist. Jane Adams was a lesbian communist.
    How are economic payments stolen by this agency round 1 and 3 but not 2? Why do you think aan appeal through the accusatory agency is just?

    Reply
  7. Tara

    As someone who gets SSDI and is still waiting for my stimulus check, I just wanted to thank you for going above and beyond to ensure that the irs had everything it needs to get people who are still waiting for their stimulus payment to come hopefully this will all get sorted out soon
    Thank you again and everyone at SSA for going the extra mile

    Reply
  8. Steve S.

    I appreciate your efforts. Thank you. But there are still those of us, retired, that haven’t gotten help yet this time around, and we desperately need it.
    We thought 3/24 we’d be helped and we needed it two weeks before that. I’m at the hand to mouth stage, so relief is needed quickly. Thanks again for your attention and assistance.

    Reply
  9. Julia R.

    Well my husband and I both are on SSDI qithe direct deposit via Direct Express and we dont even have a pending dor our 3rd stimulus

    Reply
  10. John S.

    Thank you Commissioner Saul for all of the efforts of SSA!

    Reply
    • George

      Yeah right, you obviously are a plant.

      Reply

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