Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is still letting banks seize people's coronavirus stimulus checks, but he has at least relented on forcing disabled people on Supplemental Security Income (SSI) from having to file with the IRS in order to receive the payments.
The department made the announcement Wednesday, saying that SSI recipients "will automatically receive their Economic Impact Payments directly to their bank accounts through direct deposit, Direct Express debit card, or by paper check, just as they would normally receive their SSI benefits. Treasury anticipates SSI recipients will receive these automatic payments no later than early May." However, that only applies to individuals with no qualifying children.
SSI recipients with children under age 17 will have to go to the page for non-filers and enter payment information on the IRS web site in order to get the $500 per child part of the payment. They will need to provide full names and Social Security numbers, including for spouse and dependents; a mailing address; and bank account type, account number, and routing number. For people who get their SSI benefits via Direct Express debit cards, information on receiving the $500 dependent payment hasn't been worked out yet. So that's some forward motion: SSI recipients can now join with Social Security enrollees to get the payments without jumping through hoops. Now Mnuchin has to do it for veterans' pensions, which could be easily provided through the Veterans Affairs system. As it stands now, those pensioners will have to file with the IRS, even if they don't have to file for tax purposes.
The advocacy group Social Security Works has been beating the drum on this for two weeks, and is largely responsible for making lawmakers aware of the problem. Nancy Altman, president of Social Security Works, said in a statement released by the group: "The seniors and people with disabilities who receive SSI are among the most vulnerable groups in America. The CARES Act was written to get SSI recipients their $1200 payments automatically, but Donald Trump and his political appointees—with characteristic disregard for the poor—initially refused to listen.
"After much pressure from advocates and members of Congress, the Treasury Department is finally following the law. Now, they need to work with the Department of Veterans Affairs to do the same for those receiving veterans' pensions."