The Social Security Administration on Thursday announced that it had sent the IRS information on federal beneficiary recipients, a move that should help accelerate delivery of the latest round of stimulus checks to the millions who get such benefits.
As of Wednesday, the U.S. Treasury Department had disbursed more than 127 million economic impact payments, totaling $325 billion, in two separate batches. The relief checks of up to $1,400 are part of the American Rescue Plan, which was signed two weeks ago by President Joe Biden.
To date, the payments have gone out primarily to those who qualified based on their 2019 or 2020 tax returns, as well as people who don’t usually file taxes but submitted their data through the non-filers tool last year, according to the IRS.
Those eligible for the stimulus checks include individual filers earning up to $80,000, with the full $1,400 amount going to those who earn less than $75,000, and married couples filing jointly who make under $160,000, with the full amount capped out at $150,000.
One group that hasn’t seen any money from the latest coronavirus relief package are people who receive some type of federal benefits but didn’t file taxes in 2019 or 2020, and didn’t use the non-filers tool at IRS.gov.
The IRS has said it was coordinating with various federal agencies such as SSA to obtain the latest 2021 information in order to get those payments out as quickly as possible.
Social Security Commissioner Andrew Saul confirmed the data was sent over Thursday morning, noting the files were delivered to the tax agency “more than a week sooner than we were able to provide a similar file to IRS during the first round of EIPs (economic impact payments).”
The file transfer comes less than a day after Democratic leaders in the House Ways and Means Committee demanded SSA immediately turn over the information, criticizing the agency for delays impacting nearly 30 million people.
“We are gratified that the SSA leadership finally recognized the urgency of the moment and acted swiftly on our ultimatum,” a committee news release stated. “The delays imposed by Commissioner Saul defied congressional intent and imposed needless anxiety and pain on taxpayers.”
In a statement, Saul explained that SSA was hindered by terms outlined in the latest coronavirus relief package, but that the agency worked around the clock to deliver the files as soon as it was cleared to move forward.
“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,” Saul wrote. “I find any insinuation to the contrary to be unacceptable.”
It’s still not known exactly when the payments will be distributed, however, but the IRS said it will provide more information through its website once that becomes available.
More batches of stimulus payments will be sent out in the coming weeks through direct deposit and by mail. For most, no additional action will be needed in order to receive the funds.
Federal beneficiaries can expect to receive the payment as they would their normal benefits, officials said.