Stimulus update: Democrats ask Social Security head why SSI recipients, veterans are still waiting for checks

A leading House Democrat is asking the Social Security Administration why the agency has not turned over payment information to the Internal Revenue Service that’s needed to send COVID-19 stimulus checks to millions of people who get monthly retirement or disability benefits.

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In a letter sent Wednesday, House Ways and Means Committee Chair Richard Neal, D-Massachusetts, asked Social Security Commissioner Andrew Saul to explain why the information needed by the IRS to pay millions of Social Security recipients, veterans and those who have retired from railroads had not been released almost two weeks after the American Rescue Plan was signed into law and check distribution began.

“We understand that these beneficiaries are waiting because the Social Security Administration has not sent the necessary payment files to the Internal Revenue Service,” Neal wrote in a letter to Saul.

The third COVID-19 relief payment, which is included in a bill that President Joe Biden signed into law on March 11, is meant to send $1,400 to adults earning less than $75,000 (adjusted gross income) and $2,800 to couples earning less than $150,000 AGI. In addition, $1,400 will also be sent for each dependent in the household.

According to the IRS, the agency has sent out 127 million stimulus checks as of Wednesday.

Those who get Social Security retirement and disability benefits, along with railroad retirees and veterans, have not seen the $1,400 American Rescue Plan checks deposited into their bank accounts and have not been able to get an answer as to when they will.

A Social Security spokesperson told the Huffington Post in an email Wednesday that the agency intends to send the payment file to the IRS on Thursday. The spokesman said the agency was not allowed to work on the payment information earlier because it did not receive the same kind of appropriation it did for the first round of payments last year.

“Social Security staff is working day and night with Treasury and IRS representatives to ensure that the electronic file of Social Security and SSI recipients is complete, accurate, and ready to be used to issue payments,” the spokesperson said.

Neither the Social Security Administration website nor the IRS website has posted an anticipated date for the checks to be sent out.

The IRS said in a news release that it would provide more information about payments to people on Social Security “as soon as it becomes available.”

According to a statement from the Treasury Department, “the IRS is working directly with the Social Security Administration, the Railroad Retirement Board, and the Veterans Administration to obtain updated 2021 information to ensure that as many people as possible are sent fast, automatic payments.”