Economic Stimulus Relief for Social Security Recipients

Published on: June 3, 2020

In the instability of the COVID-19 crisis, Social Security recipients may be worried about their benefits and the status of their economic stimulus relief check. Although the SSA has reassured approved social security beneficiaries that COVID-19 will not affect their benefits, what about your economic stimulus relief? 

The economic relief checks are part of the CARES Act to provide some financial relief through the $1,200 payments provided by the Internal Revenue Service. Not all Americans will receive stimulus checks; certain requirements include meeting the threshold of maximum income. If you’re on Social Security, though, will you receive an economic stimulus relief?

Will I Receive an Economic Stimulus Relief Check?

If you are an SSI beneficiary, then you will automatically be enrolled for an economic stimulus relief check.

The SSA announced that individuals who qualify for SSI benefits and do not have any qualifying children do not need to take any action to receive their economic stimulus relief money. If you do have any qualifying children (any children under 17 years of age), then you need to take extra action to receive the additional $500 per dependent child payment in addition to the $1,200 relief check. 

SSI recipients with qualifying children need to go to the IRS’s web page and provide the needed information in the Non-Filers: Enter Your Payment Info section to take the steps to receive the additional $500 per qualifying child on top of the $1,200 check.

How Will I Receive My Stimulus Check?

SSI benefit recipients will receive their stimulus checks through the Treasury Department, not Social Security. 

The Treasure Department will send out the stimulus relief check through autonomic payments just as recipients would normally receive SSI or their Social Security benefits. This may be in the form of direct deposit, Direct Express debit card, or by a paper check. 

Will I Need to Pay Back my Economic Stimulus Relief Money?

You will not need to pay back your economic stimulus relief money.

A common myth circulating is that you will eventually need to pay the government back the $1,200 check. This is not the case. The $1,200 checks are part of the CARES Act, the $2.2 trillion stimulus bill that was authorized by Congress on March 27, 2020, to send direct checks to help sustain millions of Americans during the economic crisis brought on by COVID-19.

How Will the COVID-19 Stimulus Affect my SSI Eligibility or Tax Filing?

The economic stimulus relief check will not affect the amount of money you receive through SSI benefits. 

Additionally, the stimulus check should not affect your taxes. The relief packages are supposed to offer relief to Americans struggling to make ends meet as a result of the economic downturn due to the coronavirus. Your tax liability won’t increase as a result of receiving a check, nor will your tax returns decrease.  

The money you receive from the stimulus package is not considered taxable income. Your stimulus check is calculated from either your 2018 or 2019 federal tax return; the maximum you can receive is $1,200. The check is also not an advance tax refund and will not affect your 2020 tax returns. 

How Should I Spend My Economic Stimulus Money?

The CARES Act was signed to help Americans pay for rent, groceries, and other necessities during the pandemic. If you are financially secure, you may be wondering what is the best way to spend this money? 

Here are a few smart ways to spend your $1,200 economic relief check:

  • Emergency Fund Accounts: It would be wise to deposit the check, or portions of it, into an emergency savings account. Ideally, a savings account should cover three to six months’ worth of expenses in case of an emergency. This includes gas, groceries, utilities, rent or mortgage, or any other monthly expenses. 
  • Paying Off Debt: If you have any outstanding debt to pay, the stimulus check could help pay it off. For many Americans, this may look like paying off credit card debt. If you’re considering using the stimulus check towards credit card debt, it’s recommended to start with the debts with the highest interest rates.
  • Invest your Check: If you’re experienced in investing, it may be wise to invest some of the money you receive. Of course, invest carefully and make sure to do careful research on risks before you invest any of your money. 

If you have any questions regarding your Social Security benefits during the coronavirus crisis, reach out to the team at Disability Experts of Florida! Contact us and let us know what you need help with.

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