In response to the mounting economic challenges caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the Coronavirus, Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES ACT) was signed into law on March 27, 2020. One of the most discussed aspects of the CARES ACT involves the one-time economic stimulus checks which the federal government will pay to many qualified Americans based largely on the adjusted gross income of an individual or a family (joint filers). Eligible individuals will be entitled to a $1,200 payment while families will receive $2,400. Each qualifying child will receive up to $500.
Of particular concern to most disability recipients is whether the CARES ACT applies to them and whether tax returns are required to have been filed in 2018 or 2019. The answer is that any qualified individual who receives Social Security disability (SSDI) benefits, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or even Social Security retirement benefits are all eligible to receive the stimulus payment regardless of whether a tax return was filed in 2018 or 2019. The stimulus income received will not impact the individual’s receipt of SSDI benefits since income never affects such benefits.
With SSI benefits, which are tied to an individual’s income, assets and overall financial circumstances, the stimulus payments will not be considered as “income” and will also not have any impact on an individual’s SSI eligibility. In other words, neither SSDI or SSI benefits will be terminated or reduced if the individual receives a stimulus payment.
SSDI and SSI recipients will also not have to do anything to receive their payments. The IRS will use information on file with the Social Security Administration (SSA) to determine where to send the payments. If the individual receives their disability benefits through direct deposit into their own bank account then the stimulus payments will also be deposited directly. Otherwise, individuals will receive a check in the mail but this may take longer to receive.
SSDI and SSI recipients should be aware that the stimulus money is not subject to garnishment (e.g., back taxes; student loan defaults). However, if the individual has past-due child support payments that have been reported to the U.S. Treasury Department, the individual’s stimulus check will be withheld to pay the child support. In short, individuals receiving SSDI and/or SSI benefits need to be aware of what they may be entitled to through the recently passed economic stimulus/CARES ACT.
Disability recipients need to ignore any misinformation suggesting that the receipt of stimulus checks is directly tied to whether the individual filed tax returns in 2018 or 2019. For additional information on the CARES ACT and its impact on disability claims, please contact Henson Fuerst at 919-781-1107 today.