A new government tool to file for coronavirus stimulus checks is here, and that's good news for some Social Security recipients.
The government is urging certain individuals to apply using that tool now to make sure they receive timely payments and the full amounts for which they are eligible.
This week, the Treasury Department and IRS launched a web portal aimed at people who typically do not file tax returns, mostly because they have little to no taxable income.
The website asks individuals to submit some basic financial information to confirm that they are eligible to receive the government payments. It also should help speed up getting the money to eligible individuals by taking their bank account information, including bank account type, account and routing numbers.
The one-time government payments can be big sums for families who are struggling amid the coronavirus shutdown.
For single individuals, that amounts to up to $1,200 if they earn as much as $75,000 in adjusted gross income. For married couples who file jointly, it's $2,400, if they earn up to $150,000. Qualifying children are eligible for $500 each.
For most taxpayers, their payments will be based on their 2018 or 2019 tax returns. For Social Security recipients, the government plans to use their 1099 forms.
Among others, the new portal will help people who meet the following three criteria: recipients of Social Security retirement, survivors or disability benefits who did not file a 2018 or 2019 tax return and who have a dependent child under 17.
"By taking proactive steps to enter information on the IRS website about them and their qualifying children, they will also receive the $500 per dependent child payment in addition to their $1,200 individual payment," the Social Security Administration stated in an announcement.
"If Social Security beneficiaries in this group do not provide their information to the IRS soon, they will have to wait to receive their $500 per qualifying child."
Individuals who receive Supplemental Security Income, or SSI, benefits are also encouraged to use the portal to file on behalf of any qualifying children.
"For SSI recipients who do not have qualifying children under age 17, we continue to work closely with Treasury in our efforts to make these payments automatically," the SSA stated.
People who just started receiving either Social Security or SSI benefits in 2020, and who did not file tax returns for 2018 or 2019, should also use the web portal.
The announcement supplements earlier guidance that Social Security retirement, survivors or disability beneficiaries who received a SSA-1099 for 2019 and do not have qualifying children under age 17, will not have to do anything further.