COVID-19, People Facing Barriers

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

  1. DS

    I would like to know since I just started receiving Disability am I entitled to receive a stimulus check

    • Vonda

      Hi DS, thanks for using our blog. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS), not Social Security, issues the Economic Income Payments. Social Security cannot answer EIP questions about your specific situation. Check out our Social Security and Coronavirus web page for more details. We hope this helps.

  2. GRAZYNA J.

    I am disabled had to have a lawyer go to court and I was made to understand that SSI is FEDERAL, you tell us to tell you right away when we move and I obeyed your rules, so why when I moved back home to IL, you cut off my payments, all of a sudden I found myself with no deposit on March 1st. My SSA worker told me I would be “safe” until my appointment in IL at the end of April comes up, but she cut my benefits and closed my case, so I am living in my tiny, freezing car, because I couldn’t pay my rent, heartless woman. Now because everyone is getting the impact payments and I always got mine through the SSA, I am probably going to miss out on THAT TOO, RIGHT? I am hoping to get that money so I can have a deposit on another room and first months rent, so I don’t have to live like a bum, I want to curse her for causing me so much pain and grief. I got so little but I was so grateful for that, because I found a cozy room that still left me enough to pay my car insurance, but you people do not care what you do to us, to you we are just CASE numbers, not human beings. You now told me while setting up my appointment, I don’t need an attorney, but I will never trust you again. You say one thing and you mean another, you do everything to make us lose. I am getting a disability lawyer.

  3. Angry a.

    Shame on you for making those of us on disability and/or social security, the most vulnerable population, wait and wonder when and why we had not received our stimulus checks. $1400 might be chump change to you but to most of us it is survival. Had the press and the House Ways and Means Committee not gotten involved would you have just let us suffer indefinitely?

  4. Zen N.

    I am 78 yo on SSi which is directly deposited to my bank account.I do not file ITR due to my lower than poverty level income. I have not received ANY stimulus check up to this time . Please help.

  5. Saul t.

    They just announced itl be two weeks from.now that’s bullshit it should be two days. Saul needs to be fired.the gov mostly republican like to abuse poor disabled people it’s sick but true the way it’s set up there Makin everybody rely on them and when shit gets crazy and it will they put everybody I’n camps shitty alotta. Crime they do this to to test civil disobedience level to plan for big one

  6. Liz

    Biden is really screwing up people on social security , disability and ca by not addressing why checks haven’t been received.. those who voted for him I guess you screwed up at least Trump got checks out lol

  7. David

    Doesn’t surprise me any, the people that needed the most get it last. Biden is a fool and so is the vice president. We need a leader that stands for all of us Americans especially ones suffering not paying billions of dollars to other countries, and bailing out Democratic states who way overspent themselves on foolishness.

    • John S.

      Yeah, screw Biden, he can’t even get off his ass and Fire this Saul maniac. Dude’s almost as bad as Trump.

  8. Jim G.

    This is all crap. Needs to be paid out now.

  9. Frank

    It’s not the fact that there was a screw up, it’s was the fact that we weren’t getting no in formation, that my payment tool is a bunch of crap

  10. Caroline C.

    I have only received the first stimulus check. What happened to what some folks received to the first check. i am on SSA and American Born Our government Needs to Help US First instead of giving away OUR MONEY TO THOSE THAT HAVE NEVER WORKED AND ARE JUST LAZY. US WIDOWS SHOULD BE TAKEN CARE OF SINCE OUR HUSBANDS COUNTED ON THEIR EARNINGS OF MANYS YEARS TO RECEIVE THEIR MONIES NOT TO SUPPORT A BUNCH OF LAZY PEOPLE. STOP GIVING OUR MONIES AWAY.

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