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. James S.

    Amazingly, after being on SSI DI for the past 26 years after getting hit by a car in a crosswalk, I have had my benefits cut either through a scam, or a real caseworker, who is discriminating against old, disabled white males. I figure that will cause me not to get the EIP. It sure as hell looks like it will cost me my house, which would be paid for in 3.5 years. A woman called and said she was SSA, and wanted to talk to update my file. She asked me very few questions, that was on 02/02/21. I didn’t think a lot about, but I never got a letter scheduling an appointment for a call. 02/14/21, I received a letter, dated 02/05/21, stating that the document was a Redetermination for my SSI benefits. Everything in the document was false. The woman I had talked to falsified everything on almost every question. Why? Did she set up, so that she gets my check? I don’t know. I do know that 02/17/21, I received another letter dated 02/05/21 which stated that I had missed my appointment on 2/5/21, and that I had until 03/02/21 to respond to the same lady who falsified the report.

    I went to social security website and saw that there are tons of phone scams where people are trying to steal your payments. I became concerned that I was a victim. The letters sent, had red Pitney Bowes machine stamps, every letter I have ever gotten from SSA had envelopes with the preprinted information about bulk sending and SSA, not on these letters. The paper that the letters are always on, is printed on both sides. Not these letters. SSA has proof marks on this paper, a little square mark showing it is definitely from SSA, not these letters. SSA letters always show the same BNC code, and my id # has DI after it. Not these letters.

    So, I believed I had been a fraud victim, I am 70 years old, and disabled. I filed the information about the incident and the letters to Office of Inspector General Online Complaint. That was on February 28, or March 1. At the same time, I sent SSA Fraud a FAX of a letter explaining the whole ordeal. I received no response from anyone.

    My benefit checks are always direct deposit. My house payment is auto paid from that same account. I didn’t think a hell of a lot more about it, thinking I had been an attempted fraud victim, and believing that the Inspector General was investigating my complaint. Mid March, Bank of America contacted me because my balance was very low, and other issues with my account. I went to the bank’s online site and saw that no March payment had come into the account, no house payment had been made, and I have no way to pay the house payment.

    I called the Washington SSA, I don’t trust the one here
    anymore. I talked with a lady on 03/15/21, whose name I did not get, and explained it to her. She said that I had missed my appointment. They claimed that a letter scheduling the appointment/phone interview had been sent to me on Jan 27, 2021. The problem with that is, I received no letter, and the Rules state that they consider 5 days for mailing, and have to give 30 days notice for an appointment like that, in case of problems, you can reschedule. From 01/27/21 to 02/05/21 is less than the time figured for mailing, 5 days.

    I read to the lady on the phone the first page of the Redetermination Report, and she said Oh My God. She put me on hold for a long time. She came back and said that she had put in for an expedited emergency payment to come. I thanked her and we said goodbye. That was 3/15/21. I filed another complaint with the Office of Inspector General.

    By 3/22/21, there still had been no further communication, and no deposit into my account. I called SSA Washington again and this time talked with “Ivory”. When she first started talking to me she too said I had missed an appointment. I explained the whole thing to her, and she said oh, well Ms. Holten did not enter the Report until two days ago, and they have not yet made a determination on my continued eligibility.

    At this time, I have not received a notice that my benefits have been cut off, nothing I can appeal, and I have no benefit payments coming to me.

    What? Nothing in my life has changed or will change, except I am a lot older now. Then all of this talk about the Economic whatever payment, I figure that since I am not receiving benefits of SSI anymore, I will most likely not get a payment from the EIP either. I checked the IRS website, and it said the same thing it says to people that have not gotten their checks for the past payments. Something about needing more information.

  2. Lana R.

    We had a direct express card since the card came out.And The 1200 we got 2 weeks after others.A person we know just went an got a debit. Visa. Prepaid at Wal-Mart..Enter routing and checking President sighed
    03/11/2021.The person above got her 1400 ON THE 03/12/2021????The 600 payment. Persons got there in Dec 2020 . we didn’t get ours till Jan 2021,This seems like it’s a pattern !!- You Mr Saul should know this???.By the way this is my second comment, and. Thanks for putting dates 3rd or 4th check get my payment.And it should say receiving on 7th April. With ending in. The company’s last 4 digits.Being on 2 with SSI and1 Ssdi,we are in the system first!!Maybe it’s just to easy ,to press the ones ON THE GOVERNMENT CARD AND YOU GOT THE HARDEST OUT FIRST .MR SAUL AND COMPANION S HEARD YOU WERE INFORMED .BEIND DISMISSED THATS GOOD .Look back at things ,that were all said and left persons hanging.Finally ,date.SHOULD. SHOW. ON GET MYPAYMENT ON THE 3RD. OR 4TH PAYMENT SHOULD BE ON THE 7TH.Lana,Tammy,Angela Radosh.

  3. Sherry J.

    I’m very disappointed with the way the third stimulus money is being handled. Like everyone has said SSI is the lowest income ever. If you don’t have other savings to get you thru, you’re just SOL. This $1400 would help so many of us fix things we’ve had to put off. It’s sad the older you are the less society cares. We have all worked hard to get where we are. Everyone’s posts are so right on. Just wait til you’re in our shoes. Get us out money that’s deserved. Quit lying to us! WE WEREN’T BORN YESTERDAY!!
    I also received a letter stating my money would be on my Direct Express account within 7 days call SS 800#. Yeah…..nobody at SS knew what I was talking about. I’m old and I don’t need your runaround. Just get our money and let’s move on. We’re tired of stories. How hard is to put the money on our accounts like the first two! HELLO?!

  4. Barbara B.

    I’ve only received the first $600; never did receive the second $600, let alone $1400 or whatever the amount is.

    • Kathy Z.

      Same here. Still waiting for both payments. Tired of calling SSA just to be put on hold for an hour or 2 and still no response.

  5. Ray R.

    So SSDI will be waiting along side The disabled veterans to get our stimulus check sometime in the middle of April orh boy G thank you.

  6. donald c.

    thiis is not right i got my first stimuos checks on time i dont understand whats going on how come we not getting this check on time somebody needs to do something to help i voted for joe biden because i thought he cares about the poor working people he needs to think about the next election if he hinks people will forget he got another thing comming

  7. Joan

    This process was supposed to be an easy go the third time around. They said they would have all the information & checks would go out as fast as the first 2. My husband & I draw Soc. Sec. & R under the poverty level. We barely get by. We have had xtra expense since this corona virus. Would like to know a date we are going to get our stimulus check.

    • Vonda

      Hi Joan, thanks for using our blog. The IRS announced on March 30 that it will begin to issue economic impact payments (EIP) this weekend to Social Security and SSI recipients who do not normally file a tax return. The majority of EIPs will be paid through direct deposit and to existing Direct Express cards, and should be received on April 7. We are waiting for information from the IRS about timing for people who will receive their EIP by mail. Check out our Social Security and Coronavirus web page for more details. We hope this helps.

      • Laura H.

        Ugh people are getting paper checks who have direct deposit who are on social security. Whats up with that?

  8. R A.

    Lies Lies Lies an nothing but more lies by all parties. Even SSA is a joke as I got a paper letter saying I could get SSI due to low income. Since I have my SSA account set to paperless I questioned it as a scam as that is just about all I see in the blogs/news/etc on the SSA website. Ran the telephone number through Google and nothing came back as to if the 800 number was a bonifide SSA number, one site reported the number as a scam, so… I call the number and ask the person for some way of a verification that this number was a real SSA office. He came back at me with this boiler room attitude with “What you don’t want free money” said it was some special program run only out of the Kansas SSA office. I said I’ll call my regional office to see if this is real and he hung up.
    Better yet I called the Kansas listed SSA number to verify that this letter/number was real and the woman I talked to could care less and was clueless/useless about this letter/program and felt that I was wasting her time as she had a backlog of local residents to deal with and just left me with “Call your local office”. Is this the new budget cutting SSA with work from home sub-contracted workers? Sheeeech….

  9. Ronald I.

    Still waiting, being disabled is bad enough but when I really need it, there is a problem. Had no problems getting first 2 stimulus but all of a sudden it’s harder to get. Try living off 1000 a month in Denver.

  10. Anthony E.

    I’m basing what I’m writing here on fact. The fact is, you guys figured out by obfuscating what SSI and SSDI recipients should expect for the third EIP, you would be able to push a large number of those third EIP payments to America’s disabled into a beureacratic never never land. By doing that, you will force a large number of us to wait another year to try and locate our payments. It’s cruel, it’s evil and I hope you all have to answer for you actions on Judgement Day.

    The Proof:. I received both of the first two payments as direct payments to my Direct Express card – just like millions of other Disability claimants. You notified me and millions of others through Direct Express that we didn’t need to do anything as our payments were forthcoming now that the proper files have been sent. The problem is, THAT’S A BALD FACE LIE!!!

    What you did was mailed a paper check to our previous addresses knowing full well that we had likely moved and that those paper checks would be returned or destroyed or forged by the current addressee. Doing this automatically ties up payment for these folks who have been waiting for a Direct Express payment unaware that a paper check has already been issued.

    I know this to be true because the same day I received a notice from Direct Express and read this SSA blog telling me my Direct Express payment would be processed soon, I GOT A PHONE CALL FROM THE PERSON WHO NOW RESIDES AT MY OLD ADDRESS SAYING, “HEY, YOU JUST GOT A CHECK DELIVERED HERE FROM THE IRS”.

    SURE ENOUGH, IT WAS MY THIRD EIP,, ON A PAPER CHECK THAT I NEVER WOULD HAVE SEEN HAD I NOT KEPT IN TOUCH WITH THE PEOPLE WHO NOW LIVE AT MY OLD ADDRESS.

    I’M ONE OF THE LUCKY ONES. I WAS ABLE TO TRACK DOWN MY “NO MAN’S LAND” PAYMENT THAT YOU ASSHOLES TRIED TO HIDE FROM ME. I WONDER HOW MANY MILLIONS OF SSI/SSDI recipients ARE GOING TO BE SCREWED OUT OF THERE PAYMENTS BECAUSE OF THIS LITTLE SCHEME YOU GUYS PLANNED TO PREVENT US FROM GETTING OUR EIP??

    I’M BEGGING EVERY SSI/SSDI RECIPIENT TO CHECK YOUR OLD ADDRESSES AND PLUG IN EVERY SINGLE OLD ADDRESS YOU’VE EVER HAD INTO THE “GET MY PAYMENT” WEBSITE. IF YOU DON’T, YOU’LL PROBABLY END UP LOSING TRACK OF YOUR EIP. SOMETHING TELLS ME THEY ARE NEVER GOING TO DEPOSIT THEM TO THE DIRECT EXPRESS CARDS!

    • Maurice A.

      I have been getting my stimulus check in paper both times, But when I checked get my payment they said and gave me a card number saying that they deposited my money on a rip card,I never changed or have any bank info.or change of address for delivery so what am I to do now.

      • Vonda

        Hi Maurice. You can find the latest information available from the IRS at https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus-tax-relief-and-economic-impact-payments. If you don’t see the answer to your question, you can call the IRS’ payment hotline at 1-800-919-9835.

        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.

        • Alice G.

          Call the IRS. Thats a joke.. have you personally called these numbers?

    • Larry A.

      • Alice G.

        April fools! I am the fool! I would like to know the info they have on file for me. Their site keeps saying they dont have enough info on me. But i cant get ahold of anyone to give my info to..

Comments are closed.