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Stimulus checks: Lawmakers demand prompt payments to Social Security recipients

Many Social Security recipients and other beneficiaries still haven’t received the third round of stimulus payments, according to a letter from lawmakers calling for quick distribution, even though millions of payments have already been made.

“We were alarmed to learn recently that most Social Security, SSI, RRB, and VA beneficiaries who are not required to file a tax return have not yet received their payments and the IRS is unable to provide an expected timeline for these payments,” the chairs of the House Ways and Means Committee wrote in a letter on Monday. “Some of our most vulnerable seniors and persons with disabilities, including veterans who served our country with honor, are unable to pay for basic necessities while they wait for their overdue payments.”

The Internal Revenue Service hasn’t announced when federal benefits recipients who don’t file taxes will get their payments, promised a timeline would be provided “as soon as it becomes available,” the agency said on Monday in a press release.

The IRS didn’t respond to Yahoo Money’s requests for an updated timeline. The Social Security Administration also did not respond to Yahoo Money’s request about when those payments will be available.

El nombre del presidente Donald Trump en un cheque de estímulo emitido por el IRS para ayudar a combatir los efectos económicos adversos del brote de COVID-19. (Archivo)

Photo: Getty

Recipients of those benefits should get the third payment the same way as their regular benefits, according to the IRS. Those who don’t file taxes but receive benefits would also automatically receive the stimulus payment. Some recipients may need to file their 2020 taxes to get a payment for qualifying dependents.

“People in this group should file a 2020 tax return to be considered for an additional payment for their dependent as quickly as possible,” the IRS said.

The latest round is $1,400 per eligible individual plus a $1,400 bonus per dependent. Around 158.5 million households are expected to receive a payment under the new stimulus deal, according to the White House.

The first batch of 90 million payments — worth approximately $242 billion, or more than half of the $450 billion earmarked for stimulus payments — went out last week to taxpayers who have direct deposit information on file at the IRS.

A second batch of payments is expected to hit bank accounts via direct deposit as late as Wednesday, followed by mailed checks and prepaid debit cards in the coming weeks.

Who gets a stimulus check?

Under the latest amended bill, a single filer making up to $75,000 will receive the full payment, while those earning up to $80,000 will get a reduced amount. Joint filers making up to $150,000 will get the full $2,800, while those earning up to $160,000 will receive a smaller amount. Previously, the phase-out thresholds were $100,000 for single filers and $200,000 for joint filers in the House version.

Eligibility will be based on your most recent tax return and your adjusted gross income. For the third round of checks, the Internal Revenue Service will use your 2019 or 2020 tax return to determine if you qualify for the direct payment.

Social Security beneficiaries, Disability Insurance beneficiaries, Supplemental Security Income recipients, Railroad Retirement Board beneficiaries, and Veterans Administration beneficiaries all are eligible for the payment even if they didn’t file a 2019 or 2020 tax return.

Read more: Here’s what’s in Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion ‘rescue plan’ that could help your wallet

Eligible taxpayers who used the IRS Non-Filer tool for the first round of checks will be treated as providing returns and will also receive payments.

Additionally, Americans who qualify for the stimulus payment and have dependents will get an additional $1,400 per dependent. Now the bonus can be claimed for college students, disabled adults, and other adults who are dependents. Previously, parents or guardians could only claim the bonus for child dependents under 17.

Deceased people may also receive a payment. Checks will go to all eligible taxpayers who were alive as of Jan. 1, 2021.

Who doesn’t get a check?

Those without a Social Security number and nonresident aliens — those who aren’t U.S. citizens or U.S. nationals and don’t have a green card or have not passed the substantial presence test — are not eligible for the direct payment.

Married taxpayers who file jointly where one spouse has a Social Security number and the other doesn’t will get one $1,400 payment, in addition to $1,400 for any child with a Social Security number.

Taxpayers with Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITIN) aren’t eligible for the payments.

US President Joe Biden, with Vice President Kamala Harris, prepares to sign the American Rescue Plan on March 11, 2021, in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC. - Biden signed the $1.9 trillion economic stimulus bill and will give a national address urging

US President Joe Biden, with Vice President Kamala Harris, prepares to sign the American Rescue Plan on March 11, 2021, in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC.(Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)

How will the government send you the stimulus check?

The IRS will use the direct deposit information you provided from the taxes you’ve filed for 2019 or 2020.

You may be able to use the IRS’ Non-Filers tool to provide your information like the first round. But so far, the IRS has not announced whether that tool will be available if this stimulus bill is passed.

The tool was for eligible U.S. citizens or permanent residents who had gross income below $12,200 ($24,400 for married couples) for 2019 and weren’t required to file a 2019 federal tax return.

If you have no direct deposit information on file or if the account provided is now closed, the IRS will mail you a check or pre-paid debit card instead.

If you received no payment and you think you’re eligible or you got the wrong amount, you’ll be able to claim it on your 2021 tax return.

How can I track my payment?

Americans can now check the status of their third stimulus check using the Internal Revenue Service’s online tracking tool ‘Get My Payment.’

The tool allows Americans to follow the scheduled payment date for either a direct deposit or mailed payment. It’s an online app that works on desktops, phones, or tablets and doesn’t need to be downloaded from an app store. To use the tool, you need to provide basic information:

  • Social Security number or Individual Tax ID Number (ITIN)

  • Date of birth

  • Mailing address

The tracking tool will no longer show the status of the first or second round of stimulus checks — the $1,200 payment under the CARES Act and the $600 payments under the December $900 billion stimulus deal. To find the status of those previous rounds, you must create an account.

Read more: Here’s how you should use your tax refund in 2021

If your payment is delivered by direct deposit, the tool will show when the direct deposit is expected to be made or when it was delivered along with the bank account it went into.

If you receive the message “Payment Status Not Available,” the IRS may not have processed your payment yet or you may not be eligible for a payment.

Yahoo Money sister site Cashay has a weekly newsletter.

Yahoo Money sister site Cashay has a weekly newsletter.

Will I get the dependent bonus for a newborn?

If you had a baby in 2021 and meet the rest of the eligibility criteria, you can claim the additional $1,400 per child when you file your 2021 taxes.

If you had a child in 2020 and your return has been processed, you should automatically get the additional payment. If you haven’t yet filed your 2020 taxes or they haven’t been processed by the IRS by the time the payments are issued, you can claim the dependent bonus on your 2021 taxes

Do you have to pay back the stimulus check?

No, you don’t have to pay it back. It also doesn’t reduce any refund you would otherwise receive.

“No, there is no provision in the law requiring repayment of an Economic Impact Payment,” the IRS website said about the first round of checks.

If your income dropped in 2020 compared with 2019, you may now be eligible for the payment or a bigger payment if you have already filed your taxes and they have been processed by the IRS.

If your payment is too high based on your 2020 income and you still haven’t filed your 2020 taxes, you’re not responsible for paying back the difference.

Denitsa is a writer for Yahoo Finance and Cashay, a new personal finance website. Follow her on Twitter @denitsa_tsekova

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