The Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service reversed their stance late Wednesday that Social Security beneficiaries would need to file tax returns in order to receive direct cash assistance payments under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
Treasury will now provide automatic coronavirus relief payments for Social Security beneficiaries.
“Social Security recipients who are not typically required to file a tax return do not to need take an action, and will receive their payment directly to their bank account,” said Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin in a statement.
The IRS will use the information on the Form SSA-1099 and Form RRB-1099 to generate $1,200 Economic Impact Payments to Social Security recipients who did not file tax returns in 2018 or 2019, Mnuchin said.
“Recipients will receive these payments as a direct deposit or by paper check, just as they would normally receive their benefits,” he explained.
In a letter sent early Wednesday to Mnuchin and Social Security Commissioner Andrew Saul, Sens. Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., and Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, along with 39 other senators, told the IRS that its guidance contradicted the CARES Act’s treatment of vulnerable individuals in receiving direct stimulus checks.
The IRS guidance indicated that the agency “may require recipients of Social Security retirement and disability benefits to file 2019 tax returns to receive stimulus payments,” the senators wrote.