After ato about 30 million Social Security and other government program recipients, the IRS said it has a date for when they'll at last receive their $1,400 stimulus payments: April 7.
On Thursday, the IRS said it will begin to issue the payments this weekend, with the "majority" of the checks sent electronically and received on Wednesday, April 7.
This round of checks will go to Social Security, Supplemental Security Income and Railroad Retirement Board beneficiaries who did not file taxes in 2020 or 2019 and did not use the agency's Non-Filers tool last year. Because the IRS has relied on tax returns to determine eligibility — as well as where to send the money — people who aren't required to file an income tax return have sometimes fallen through the cracks.
So far, the IRS has issued 130 million payments worth approximately $335 billion, the tax agency said Thursday. Most of those payments were issued just one week after President Joe Biden signed the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, which left some seniors and other government beneficiaries struggling to understand why they hadn't received a payment yet.
The holdup was due to the Social Security Administration, which only provided the payment data for 30 million beneficiaries to the IRS on Thursday — or two weeks after Mr. Biden signed the relief bill.
As of Tuesday, some Social Security recipients told CBS MoneyWatch they were still waiting for the payments, noting that the delay is causing them financial stress and problems. Some said they felt left out because others have received their payments within days — while they are still waiting.
Since getting the payment data from the Social Security Administration, the IRS said it has been reviewing, validating and testing the payment records. Most of the payments will be sent via direct deposit and will land in accounts on April 7, but others may be sent via paper check or pre-paid debit card, the agency said.
However, some people who receive benefits through Veterans Affairs and haven't yet gotten a check may be in for a longer wait. The IRS on Thursday said it is still reviewing data it received for VA benefit recipients and will provide a specific date for payment soon, but at this point it expects the money will be sent out by mid-April.
Why the delay?
Members of the House Ways & Means Committee wrote to IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig and Social Security Administration Commissioner Andrew M. Saul last week to express concern and demand an update on the delivery of checks to these groups.
The Social Security Administration responded by noting it had had to work out a "reimbursable agreement with IRS because we received no direct appropriation through" the American Rescue Act for work that's not directly related to its programs or mission.
Regardless of the reason, seniors and others awaiting the funds were frustrated by the slow response from the Social Security Administration — especially as some people had received their checks as early as March 12, the day after Mr. Biden signed the bill.
Some Social Security recipients have already received their payments, the IRS said. Those include beneficiaries who used the Non-Filers tool last year or have already filed their 2019 or 2020 tax returns, the agency said.
Some low-income people, such as single people over 65 who earn less than $14,050, aren't required to file taxes, which has made it more difficult for the IRS to determine where to send checks for those recipients. The IRS has generally relied on tax returns to determine eligibility as well as direct-deposit bank information.
"The update today applies to Social Security, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), and Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) beneficiaries who did not file a 2019 or 2020 tax return or did not use the Non-Filers tool," the IRS said on Tuesday.