On Monday, the IRS quietly released this urgent "special alert," informing some of the lowest-income Social Security beneficiaries, those who have too little income to file income tax returns, that they will have less than 48 hours to register their eligible children for the additional $500 coronavirus supplemental cash payment. The lowest-income beneficiaries, people receiving Social Security retirement, survivor or disability benefits (SSDI), Railroad Retirement benefits, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Veterans Affairs payments, have just one day to prevent having a portion of those payments—the $500 payments for dependent children—delayed until 2021!
These emergency payments were supposed to go out quickly to every American, including the more than 60 million Social Security beneficiaries whose age or disabilities put them most at risk of COVID-19 infection. Making it even worse, the Trump administration is requiring that they provide this information online—never mind that many of them do not have computers or internet service and are supposed to be sheltering in place. They're supposed to go enter the information on this special, non-filers website, the information that the government already has.
Whether it's incompetence on the part of the Trump administration or its typical malignancy, or a combination of both, it's all too typical Trump. Those who will suffer the delayed payments are the lowest income and most vulnerable among us. They include children whose parents have died or become permanently disabled, as well as grandchildren who are under the care of their grandparents because their parents were not able to care for them.
The Social Security Administration was authorized to share data with Secretary Mnuchin's Treasury Department to help get those payments the CARES Act authorized out to everyone. You remember what happened next—they created a roadblock forcing these people to have to jump through potentially insurmountable hoops to get their checks. After immense public pressure (thank you for taking action) they relented for retirees and some disabled people. But here we go again, with an immediate deadline—noon Eastern, Wednesday, April 22—in order go get those payments this year. Otherwise, they would have to file a tax return next year to get the payment, not seeing this urgent emergency money for another year.