Donald Trump absolutely cannot be just a not shitty, petty person. His administration is creating barriers to Social Security beneficiaries, disabled people who have Supplemental Security Income, and veterans with pensions trying to get their $1,200 payments under the CARES Act, the coronavirus stimulus bill passed last week.
These people don't normally file returns, they don't have income that requires it. But under IRS guidelines just released, they announced that these people will have to file to get the payments. "This is outrageous," Nancy Altman, President of Social Security Works said in an emailed statement. "The $1200 payments could easily be added automatically to the benefits these people already receive every month. The CARES Act specifically gives the Treasury Department the authority to do so."
Partial victory: Treasury relented and regular Social Security beneficiaries will NOT have to file income tax returns, but it appears that disabled people on SSI and veterans with pensions are left out.
According to Social Security Works, the 2008 stimulus payments also required everyone to file with the IRS in order to receive the benefit, and 3.5 million Social Security beneficiaries and veterans never got those payments. The IRS advises that "For those concerned about visiting a tax professional or local community organization in person to get help with a tax return, these economic impact payments will be available throughout the rest of 2020." EVERYBODY is concerned with getting in-person help filing a tax return because of course they are! We're supposed to be staying at home so we don't get the deadly virus that prompted this $1,200 payment in the first place!
"At best, the payments will be delayed—even though the federal government pays these people benefits right now, each and every month," Altman says. Treasury is already authorized in the bill just to send the payment along with regular monthly benefits. It would be that simple. This is also a group of people for whom filing taxes online could be extremely difficult if not impossible. It is so unnecessary and harmful.
Which is exactly how Trump wants it to be. Congress needs to step in and stand up to Trump and Treasury and convince Secretary Mnuchin to step back and change the policy.