04.24.20

Peters, Stabenow Call on Trump Administration to Ensure Families Receive Promised Stimulus Checks for Their Children Quickly

Senators Effort Follows Treasury Announcement Giving Families Less than 48 Hours to Enter Additional Information to Receive $500 COVID-19 Payment Per Child This Year

DETROIT, MI – U.S. Senators Gary Peters (MI) and Debbie Stabenow (MI) called on the Trump Administration to ensure that families in Michigan and across the country, who are not required to file taxes will automatically receive their COVID-19 stimulus payment they were promised and do not need to wait until next year to receive an additional $500 stimulus payment per dependent child.

“We write to express our concern that without additional action from your agencies, many families who receive Social Security benefits and have young children may not receive the full cash assistance that Congress provided in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act until 2021,” the Senators wrote in a letter to Treasury Secretary Mnuchin and Social Security Administration Commissioner Saul. “We request that Treasury find another way forward—that without delaying any automatic $1,200 payments—ensures that Social Security beneficiaries and their children quickly receive the full amount of cash assistance for which they are eligible.”

The Senators continued: “We urge your agencies to continue providing access to the Non-Filers tool after non-filers have received their initial automatic stimulus payments, so that these economically vulnerable individuals can request and receive additional payments for dependent children prior to 2021.”

This effort comes after the Treasury Department announced Monday that families on Social Security who do not file tax returns needed to enter additional information on the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) website within 48 hours in order to receive a $500 payment per dependent child that they are entitled to. If these families missed the deadline, they would not receive this additional payment until 2021. The Treasury’s announcement also indicated that they will soon set a similar deadline for recipients of Supplemental Security Income and certain Department of Veterans Affairs beneficiaries who do not usually file taxes. 

Peters and Stabenow have led several successful efforts to ensure that Michiganders in need receive automatic financial assistance. Last week, the Senators were successful in their efforts to convince the Trump Administration to automatically send stimulus checks to veterans currently receiving benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Peters and Stabenow also successfully called on the White House to automatically provide stimulus checks to Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients and to automatically send Social Security recipients direct assistance included in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act without having to file tax returns.

The full text of the letter can be found below, or by clicking here:

Dear Secretary Mnuchin and Commissioner Saul:

We write to express our concern that without additional action from your agencies, many families who receive Social Security benefits and have young children may not receive the full cash assistance that Congress provided in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act until 2021. Based on Internal Revenue Service (IRS) guidance from Monday afternoon, it appears that many Social Security beneficiaries will need to have submitted information about their dependents by yesterday at noon in order to receive their $500 additional stimulus payment per child before next year. Many eligible families will not have been able to meet this short, 48-hour deadline. We urge your agencies to ensure that economically vulnerable non-filers receiving Social Security retirement, Social Security disability, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), and Veterans Affairs (VA) benefits receive stimulus payments for themselves and their dependent children as quickly as possible – before next year.

The bipartisan CARES Act recently signed by the President provides direct cash assistance to individuals amidst the COVID-19 public health and economic crisis. The Act provides $1,200 per eligible adult and an additional $500 in cash assistance per dependent child. Three weeks ago, Treasury indicated that Social Security recipients who do not typically file taxes would have to file this year in order to receive these cash payments. The Treasury then reversed course two days later, after we urged the Department to do so, with Secretary Mnuchin saying that “Social Security recipients who are not typically required to file a tax return do not need to take an action,” and would receive direct deposits to their bank accounts.

However, on Monday, April 20, the Treasury announced that many Social Security beneficiaries would need to fill out a simplified tax form within 48 hours in order to receive their families’ full stimulus payments this year. The special alert published by the IRS indicated that Social Security beneficiaries who will automatically receive stimulus payments because they do not typically file tax returns would be required to submit information through the IRS Non-Filers online tool in order to claim $500 payments for their dependent children. According to the IRS, Social Security beneficiaries who failed to claim these dependent payments by noon yesterday, April 22, will no longer be able to use the Non-Filers tool to claim payments for their dependents. The IRS also indicated that recipients of SSI and certain VA benefits who do not usually file taxes will face a similar deadline soon. Any of these non-filers who miss these deadlines to claim their dependents will not be able to receive any payments for dependent children until filing a 2020 tax return in 2021. Estimates indicate this could impact the families of about 1 million child dependents.

We request that Treasury find another way forward that – without delaying any automatic $1,200 payments – ensures that these Social Security beneficiaries and their children quickly receive the full amount of cash assistance for which they are eligible. We urge your agencies to continue providing access to the Non-Filers tool after non-filers have received their initial automatic stimulus payments, so that these economically vulnerable individuals can request and receive additional payments for dependent children prior to 2021. We do not believe that the IRS needs to delay – nor would we support delaying – any automatic $1,200 payments to non-filers in order to achieve this goal.

We greatly appreciate your agencies’ efforts to automatically provide stimulus payments to Social Security retirement, Social Security disability, SSI, and VA beneficiaries who do not file tax returns. We also appreciate Treasury’s efforts to assist non-filers with claiming stimulus payments through the Non-Filers tool. Without these efforts, many non-filers would have missed out on their stimulus payments altogether because they were unable to file a tax return or were unaware they needed to. To continue assisting struggling families during the COVID-19 crisis, we strongly urge your agencies to ensure that non-filers receive their stimulus payments – including additional payments for dependent children – as quickly as possible.

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