CORONAVIRUS STIMULUS CHECKS

Who are included as social security recipients for third stimulus check?

30 million Americans who receive Social Security and other federal benefits may finally see their $1,400 stimulus payment coming their way. Who are they?

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Who are included as social security recipients for third stimulus check?
CHRISTOPHE ARCHAMBAULT AFP

The Social Security Administration (SSA) sent the Internal Revenue Service missing payment files that have been delaying Economic Impact Payments (EIP) for 30 million Americans on Thursday. It will now be up to the IRS to send out the $1,400 payments per Social Security recipient and their dependents.

On Wednesday, the House Ways and Means Committee sent a letter to SSA Commissioner Andrew Saul giving him 24 hours to send the files to free up the stimulus payments. The following day the agency released the files to the IRS and in a statement Saul said “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.”

When will Social Security recipients receive their $1,400 payments?

There still hasn’t been word from the IRS or the US Treasury on when the payments will be sent. The IRS has said that the vast majority of payments would be made through direct deposit but to be aware that you may receive your money in a different form of payment this time than with the second check.

Besides direct deposit people may receive payments as a physical check or a preloaded debit card called an EIP Card (Economic Impact Payment Card). The second batch of payments was sent out on 24 March, with the intention of sending out weekly batches throughout 2021.

Who are Social Security recipients?

Affected by the delay in payments were individuals who receive Social Security retirement pension, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Veterans benefits. This last group do not necessarily receive their benefits from the Social Security Administration.

As of June 2020 about 65 million people received monthly Social Security benefits according to the agency. Social Security helps older Americans, workers who become disabled, and families in which a spouse or parent dies.

Social Security retirement beneficiaries:

Most of the beneficiaries are retirees and their families. There were roughly 49 million in June 2020. Social Security replaces a percentage of a worker’s pre-retirement income based on your lifetime earnings. The amount of your average wages that Social Security retirement benefits replaces varies depending on your earnings and when you choose to start benefits.

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) beneficiaries:

The SSI program is a "means-tested program," meaning it is not based on work history, but strictly on financial need. You must have less than $2,000 in assets (or $3,000 for a couple) and a very limited income in order to meet SSI income requirements.

There is a five-month waiting period for benefits, which means the SSA won't pay benefits for the first five months after an individual becomes disabled. The amount of the monthly benefit after the waiting period is over depends on the person’s earnings record, much like the Social Security retirement benefit.

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) beneficiaries:

A person receives SSDI if they can't work due to a severe medical condition that has lasted, or is expected to last, at least one year or result in death. The person's medical condition(s) must prevent them from doing work that they did in the past, and it must prevent them from adjusting to other work.

Since the SSDI program is funded through payroll taxes recipients must be over 18 and under 65 years old and have earned a certain number of "work credits". As with SSI, there is a five-month waiting period for benefits.

Third stimulus check: latest updates

You can get the latest information on the third stimulus check, and updates on the possibility of a fourth direct payment, by following our dedicated live blog.

You'll also find news on other provisions in Biden’s economic-aid package, such as an enhanced child tax credit that offers qualifying families up to $3,000 per child aged six to 17, and $3,600 per child below six.