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SSI and SSDI recipients: What to know about stimulus payments, the first and possible second check

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If a new bill passes and you’re part of the SSI or SSDI programs, you’ll likely be eligible for a second stimulus check.


Angela Lang/CNET

Communications between Congress and the White House about the next coronavirus relief package have stalled, but once they restart, those who qualify for Supplemental Security Income or Social Security Disability Insurance will likely be eligible for a second stimulus check.

The odds on the IRS distributing another economic impact check before the end of 2020 are growing slimmer. President-elect Joe Biden has a stimulus plan that would include a second check, but Inauguration Day is still over 60 days away. 

Read moreJoe Biden is president-elect. Here’s his stimulus plan for the US

If you do participate in the SSI or SSDI programs and didn’t get the first stimulus payment, you must file a claim for yourself or your child dependents in the next few days, by 12 p.m. PT (3 p.m. ET) on Nov. 21. Below, we’ll walk you through details that concern SSI and SSDI recipients. (Here are some of the groups of people who probably won’t be eligible for a second stimulus check.) This story is regularly updated.

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Am I eligible for a second stimulus payment if I receive SSDI or SSI?

Until Congress completes a bill, we won’t know exactly who will qualify for a second stimulus payment. But based on the proposed bills we’ve seen so far, we expect qualifications to largely remain the same as they were in the March CARES Act. That means if you’re part of the SSI or SSDI program you would qualify for a check, as you did in the first round, so long as you have a Social Security number and you are not claimed as a dependent on someone else’s tax return. Your household income must also not exceed the threshold (which is $75,000 single, $112,500 head of household and $150,000 married). 

Here are two reasons why a stimulus check might legally be taken away.

I didn’t file a federal tax return for 2018 or 2019. What do I do?

If you receive federal benefits including SSI and SSDI as your only form of income, you were not required to file a federal income tax return in 2018 or 2019. Under the CARES Act, you were still eligible to receive a stimulus check, and should have received one automatically (no need to file a simple tax return, as the IRS had originally said).

How will my check be issued to me?

Most SSI and SSDI recipients didn’t receive their first payments via their Direct Express card, though this is usually what the government uses to distribute federal benefits. Instead, the payment arrived through a non-Direct Express bank account, or as a paper check if you didn’t have your bank account information on file with the IRS. It’s likely that if a second check is approved it would arrive the same way the first one did, but possibly faster, as the IRS already has the payment system set up. 

I’m still waiting on my first stimulus check. What do I do?

If you’re on SSI or SSDI but still haven’t gotten a stimulus check from the first round, the IRS may still need more information about your eligibility. To get your money, you need to provide your information to the IRS using its Non-Filers tool by Nov. 21 at 12 p.m. PT (3 p.m. ET)

The agency will ask for your name, mailing address, date of birth, Society Security number, bank account number if you have one, identity protection personal identification number aka IP PIN and driver’s license or state-issued ID, if you have one. You can submit this information online using the Non-Filers tool. (Important caveat: If you did file a 2019 tax refund, even if you weren’t required to do so, don’t use this tool — it’ll just slow down the processing of your return and any refund.)

My dependent wasn’t covered in my first check. Will they be on the second?

Under the CARES Act, qualified people with dependents age 16 or younger were eligible for up to $500 per dependent. But not everyone with eligible dependents actually received that extra money. The last day to claim your missing payment and receive it this year has been extended to Nov. 21 at 12 p.m. PT (9 p.m. ET). 

(Find out who counts as a qualifying dependent in terms of stimulus payments and how old you have to be to count as an adult and receive your own stimulus check.)

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If you’re missing stimulus money for yourself or your dependents, use the online IRS Non-Filers tool to make sure you get it.


Angela Lang/CNET

How do I claim my missing stimulus check using the IRS tool?

Here’s what to expect when you use the IRS Non-Filers tool: Create an account with your email address and phone number, along with a user ID and password. You’ll be directed to a screen where you’ll input your filing status (single or married filing jointly) and personal information. There’s a box to check if someone else can claim you or your spouse as a dependent. Then you can enter your bank information (if you’d rather not or don’t have a bank, the IRS will send you a check in the mail). You’ll be taken to another screen to enter more personal information to verify your identity. 

After you fill out the forms, you’ll get an email from Customer Service at Free File Fillable Forms acknowledging that you’ve successfully submitted your information, or letting you know there’s a problem and how to correct it. The site uses your information to automatically complete a Form 1040 and send it to the IRS to compute and send you a payment.

When will my missing stimulus check arrive?

If your payment didn’t come in the first round but you register with the Non-Filers tool by Nov. 21 at 12 p.m. PT (9 p.m. ET), the IRS says you’ll receive the payment by the end of 2020. 

To track the status of your payment, use the IRS Get My Payment tool

When will the missing money for my dependents arrive?

If you used the Non-Filers tool from May 5 through Aug. 15, the IRS should have automatically issued the catch-up payment for your dependents in October. If you received your original stimulus money by direct deposit, you should have gotten the catch-up payment the same way. Others should have received it in the mail. 

If you file for your missing dependent money by Nov. 21, the payment should arrive by the end of 2020, in the same way that you received your first payment (likely direct deposit or by mail). If you miss the deadline, your check will be included on your 2020 tax return in 2021. 

To check the status of your or your dependent’s payment, use the IRS Get My Payment tool to track it. You should also get a notice in the mail letting you know that an additional $500 per qualifying child has been issued. 

I receive SSI or SSDI and live outside of the US. What does that mean for my money?

If you are a Social Security beneficiary with a foreign address whose monthly benefit is deposited into a foreign bank account, you’ll receive your stimulus payment as a check in the mail (the IRS doesn’t deposit money into foreign banks). The IRS planned to start sending those checks at the end of July. If you live abroad but receive your monthly benefits through a US bank, you should have received your payment by direct deposit to that account by the end of July as well. Find out everything you need to know about stimulus checks, citizenship and living abroad here.

Again, you can use the Get My Payment tool to track your payment. 

For more information, find out if you’re qualified for a second stimulus check and when you could expect a second stimulus check. If you still haven’t gotten a first stimulus check, you can track the status of your stimulus check, learn how to report your missing check to the IRS and find possible reasons why your stimulus check still hasn’t arrived.



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