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Larson, Davis, Thompson, Pascrell, Doggett, Panetta Lead Letter to Urging IRS to Provide Automatic COVID-19 Relief Payments to Social Security and SSI Beneficiaries

April 1, 2020
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Today, – Today, House Ways and Means Social Security Subcommittee Chairman John B. Larson (CT-01),  Worker and Family Support Subcommittee Chairman Danny K. Davis (IL-07), and Select Revenues Subcommittee Chairman Mike Thompson (CA-05), and Health Subcommittee Chairman Lloyd Doggett (TX-35), and Ways and Means Members Reps. Bill Pascrell (NJ-09), and Jimmy Panetta (CA-20) led a letter to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Internal Revenue Services (IRS) Commissioner Charles Rettig, urging the IRS to provide automatic COVID-19 Relief Payments to Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) beneficiaries.

“Tens of millions of SSA beneficiaries, particularly SSI recipients and the 1 in 4 seniors who depend almost exclusively on Social Security to make ends meet, do not file returns.  These individuals include some of the most vulnerable who are unlikely to have the capability to file a return. This will cause substantial delay for those who need it most and may result in many never receiving assistance at all.

“We strongly urge you to reconsider the guidance requiring Social Security and Supplemental Security Income beneficiaries to complete an onerous and unnecessary process, and instead urge you to ensure that these beneficiaries receive their recovery rebate payments automatically,” wrote the members.

Additional Signers: Reps. John Lewis, Terri Sewell, Dan Kildee, Thomas R. Suozzi, Suzan DelBene, Brendan F. Boyle, Mike Thompson, Dwight Evans, Jimmy Gomez, Judy Chu, Linda T. Sánchez, Bradley S. Schneider, Ron Kind, Earl Blumenauer, Brian Higgins, Stephanie Murphy, Gwen Moore, Donald S. Beyer Jr., Sheila Jackson Lee, Jerrold Nadler, David N. Cicilline, Nydia M. Velázquez, Debbie Dingell, José E. Serrano, Ted Deutch, Daniel Lipinski, and Jan Schakowsky.

Full letter can be viewed below or here.

April 1, 2020

The Honorable Steven T. Mnuchin                                                   The Honorable Charles P. Rettig

Secretary of the Treasury                                                                  Commissioner

U.S. Department of the Treasury                                                     Internal Revenue Service

1500 Pennsylvania Ave. NW                                                              1111 Constitution Ave. NW

Washington, D.C. 20220                                                                    Washington, D.C. 20224

 

Secretary Mnuchin and Commissioner Rettig:

The bipartisan CARES Act provides direct payments (“recovery rebates”) to lower- and middle- income Americans, including Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) beneficiaries, to help them weather the storm during this pandemic.

We are extremely displeased to see the IRS guidance recently notifying the public that Social Security and Supplemental Security beneficiaries who did not file tax returns in 2018 or 2019 must file a return in order to get the rebate. This requirement presents substantial and unnecessary hardships for these beneficiaries and delays critical relief for our most vulnerable citizens.   Our understanding when this was agreed to by both sides of the aisle was that SSA beneficiaries would be paid directly.

Given that the Social Security Administration has contact and payment information for approximately 70 million beneficiaries that could expedite relief, the House Democratic bill would have paid Social Security and Supplemental Security Income beneficiaries immediately and required any overpayment to be made up on the individual’s tax return. The Social Security Administration would have sent the payments to the beneficiaries as they do regular benefits and could have done this very quickly.

Tens of millions of SSA beneficiaries, particularly SSI recipients and the 1 in 4 seniors who depend almost exclusively on Social Security to make ends meet[1], do not file returns.  These individuals include some of the most vulnerable who are unlikely to have the capability to file a return. This will cause substantial delay for those who need it most and may result in many never receiving assistance at all.

We strongly urge you to reconsider the guidance requiring Social Security and Supplemental Security Income beneficiaries to complete an onerous and unnecessary process, and instead urge you to ensure that these beneficiaries receive their recovery rebate payments automatically.

Sincerely,

 

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