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

  1. Laura H.

    I got my social security check today direct deposit as always,no stimulus check! Where is it. Irs still says payment statues not available. Im totally confused,stressed out. Was hoping to dig myself out of a financial hole like most low income people. I lost hope.

    • Vonda

      Hi Laura, 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.

  2. Delorah F.

    So where is my stimulus money? I’ve been on SS for 5 year.. I have direct deposit to my Direct Express Card! My benefits have always been deposited there? What’s the issue? I’m retired and collect social security! You have my info why do I not have my stimulus deposit?

    • Vonda

      Hi Delorah, 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.

  3. Alice G.

    What about SSDI recipients? The IRS. Get my payment site keeps saying they dont have my information.. they are working on it..
    Ive been trying to call IRS all week. I when i do get a human, no one knows anything..
    I CALLED SSA they don’t know any thing
    I just want to know what address they have for me.
    I try to log in and they say its the wrong information..
    I feel frustrated and held hostage because i can’t get answers..

  4. Josefina O.

    I just hope I get mine as promised.. This is not the time to be pointing fingers and blaming who’s at fault..God bless us all.

  5. jean

    Why is Saul, from Trump’s administration, distributing the monies to SS recipients, which I have not received. Where is Biden’s head on this. Just passing this Plan, does Biden think a Trump guy will get the funds out to seniors that their only income is from SS. I’m still waiting for mine and it appears no funds are coming. Wake up Biden and the Dems, the Republicans are not the same as 30 or 40 years ago.

  6. Patty C.

    These comments are shocking, disturbing and some are downright nasty.
    Isn’t it common knowledge, if one changes residence you’re supposed to notify Social Security administration, with your new Address.?.?.
    I got mine right on time, it really helped me out, gave me dignity not to be a burden on my family.
    Thank you all at SSA. For your work.

  7. Efrain R.

    Well I am disability.SSDI, I am Denver. I have received my 3rd stimulus package yet! I need those 1,400.00

  8. Love a.

    When do we get our stimulus money

  9. Jessica H.

    I have read and reread Saul’s letter. Why wasn’t compensation for SSI workers included within the ARP? Why?

  10. Pamela G.

    I may be naive but I don’t believe the government’s account of why our EIP was delayed. They are always blaming other people, groups, departments…always someone else caused the problem. There is something else going on here, a hidden agenda. Phishing didn’t get started with the computer and/or the internet, the government has been doing it forever. Those of us who don’t complete a tax form each year were targeted this time, who will be next? Some “of the people” still have common sense.

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