Personal Finance

What Social Security beneficiaries need to know about coronavirus stimulus payments

Key Points
  • Coronavirus stimulus payments are being sent to Social Security and Supplement Security Income beneficiaries.
  • How fast you receive your money will be determined by whether you have direct deposit information on file, among other factors.
  • Here's what you need to know if you want to check on the status of your payment or update the government on any children under 17 who also qualify for stimulus money.
Pascal Broze | Getty Images

 Millions of Social Security beneficiaries are eligible for coronavirus stimulus payments.

But even as the first checks have started to go out, many still have questions as to when and how they will receive their money.

Most individuals who receive Social Security or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits are eligible for full rebates, according to information issued by the House Ways and Means Committee last week.

That is up to $1,200 for individuals, $2,400 for married couples and $500 per child under age 17.

The amount you receive is based on your adjusted gross income. Individuals with up to $75,000 in income will receive the full rebate. That goes up to $150,000 for married couples who file jointly.

However, those payments are reduced for income above those levels. They fully phase out at $99,000 in income for individuals and $198,000 for couples.

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When payments are scheduled

Social Security and SSI beneficiaries who filed a tax return and included their direct deposit information were expected to get paid in the first round of checks that went out last week.

Meanwhile, beneficiaries who did not file taxes for either 2018 or 2019 should receive their money in late April, according to the Congressional timeline. That includes adult Social Security retirement, survivor, and disability insurance beneficiaries. That money will most likely come via direct deposit, because most people now receive their benefits that way.

Adult SSI beneficiaries will receive their  money by early May at the latest, according to the timeline. Those individuals will get the cash the same way they usually receive benefits.

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When to take action

Individuals who receive Social Security or Railroad Retirement benefits should receive their payments automatically based on the information the government has on file. So the bank account or mailing address through which you receive your monthly benefits should be the way you receive your stimulus money.

If you want to check on the status of your payment, you can use the Get My Payment web app. That site should show when you can expect your money once it has been processed.

In addition, you may want to use the non-filer portal for certain circumstances.

If you are an adult beneficiary with a child or children under 17, you will want to enter their information to make sure payments for them are included.

If you yourself do not receive Social Security or SSI benefits, but your children do, you also should enter their information in the non-filer portal.

On Monday, the IRS and Treasury Department urged individuals receiving Social Security and railroad retirement benefits who have eligible dependents to enter that information on the non-filer site by Wednesday, April 22.

"Social Security recipients and other federal benefit recipients will get their $1,200 automatically, but if they have dependents and did not file in 2018 or 2019, they need to use the IRS Non-Filers tool as soon as possible to input information to get their $500 per child," Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said in a statement.

"If the IRS does not receive this essential information by Wednesday, their payment will be $1,200 and the $500 per child will be paid to them with a return filing for tax year 2020," Mnuchin said.

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Those receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and veterans benefits will have until a later date to submit their information in the non-filer site.

If you just started receiving Social Security or SSI benefits in 2020, and you did not file tax returns in 2018 or 2019, you should also use the non-filer portal to make sure you get your payment, according to the Social Security Administration.

Admittedly, the government has scrambled to issue the payments and build web tools to help Americans along in recent weeks. That has led to difficulty accessing the websites and many questions about the payments.

However, the government has said it will issue payments until everyone who is eligible receives their money.

"Weekly direct deposits and paper checks will continue until all individuals receive their rebates," the House Ways and Means Committee timeline states.

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