January 17, 2021
SSI, SSDI and stimulus checks: Important details to know about the first and second payments

SSDI, SSI and stimulus checks: Here’s everything you’ll need to know


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If a new bill passes and you’re part of the SSI or SSDI programs, you’ll likely be eligible for a second stimulus check.


Angela Lang/CNET

If you already receive benefits through the federal government’s Supplemental Security Income or Social Security Disability Insurance programs, you may also qualify for a second stimulus check, if Congress authorizes one as part of a larger economic rescue package.

And if you were eligible for the first economic impact payment, but didn’t receive it, the IRS deadline to file a claim has come and gone (it was Nov. 21). We’ll explain how you may still be able to receive it in 2021, as well as catch-up payments if the IRS didn’t send the full amount for you and your child dependents.

As of now, the final details of the next stimulus package are still up in the air. Negotiators are expected to begin talks again next week after Congress returns from the Thanksgiving recess. However, it isn’t guaranteed that a bill, if it passes, would include another stimulus check. That may have to wait until 2021. We can’t make promises, but incoming president Joe Biden has previously said he supports a second check.

Below, we’ll walk you through details that concern SSI and SSDI recipients.


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SSDI or SSI recipients: You could qualify for a second stimulus payment

Until Congress completes a bill, we won’t know exactly who will qualify for a second stimulus payment. But based on the proposed bills we’ve seen so far, we expect qualifications to largely remain the same as they were in the March CARES Act. That means if you’re part of the SSI or SSDI program you would qualify for a check, as you did in the first round, so long as you have a Social Security number and you are not claimed as a dependent on someone else’s tax return. Your household income must also not exceed the threshold (which is $75,000 single, $112,500 head of household and $150,000 married). 

Here are two reasons why a stimulus check might legally be taken away.

The deadline to file if you didn’t receive your first check was Nov. 21

If you receive SSI or SSDI but still haven’t gotten a stimulus check from the first round, the IRS may still need more information about your eligibility. To get your money this year, the IRS set a Nov. 21 deadline to provide your information to the IRS using its Non-Filers tool.

The IRS said if you missed the deadline you can request a payment next year:

For individuals who did not receive an Economic Impact Payment or the full amount that they believe they are entitled to, they will be able to claim the additional amount when they file a 2020 tax return in 2021. This will be called the Recovery Rebate Credit.

The IRS said it would provide more details on what action to take as we get closer to the filing deadline in 2021.

What it means if you didn’t file a tax return for 2018 or 2019

If you receive federal benefits including SSI and SSDI as your only form of income, you weren’t required to file a federal income tax return in 2018 or 2019. Under the CARES Act, you were still eligible to receive a stimulus check, and should have received one automatically (no need to file a simple tax return, as the IRS had originally said).

How you can receive your stimulus money

Most SSI and SSDI recipients didn’t receive their first payments via their Direct Express card, though this is usually what the government uses to distribute federal benefits. Instead, the payment arrived through a non-Direct Express bank account or as a paper check if you didn’t have your bank account information on file with the IRS. It’s likely that if a second check is approved it would arrive the same way the first one did, but possibly faster, as the IRS already has the payment system set up. 

How to know if your dependents qualified for the first check

Under the CARES Act, qualified people with dependents age 16 or younger were eligible for up to $500 per dependent. But not everyone with eligible dependents actually received that extra money. The last day to claim your missing payment and receive it this year was Nov. 21. The IRS said if you missed the deadline you can claim the missing payment when you file taxes in 2021.

(Find out who counts as a qualifying dependent in terms of stimulus payments and how old you have to be to count as an adult and receive your own stimulus check.)

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If you’re missing stimulus money for yourself or your dependents, use the online IRS Non-Filers tool to make sure you get it.


Angela Lang/CNET

When your missing stimulus check could arrive

If your payment didn’t come already and you registered with the Non-Filers tool by Nov. 21, the IRS says you’ll receive the payment by the end of 2020. If you missed the Nov. 21 cutoff, the IRS said you can receive your payment in 2021 when you file your federal tax returns.

To track the status of your payment, use the IRS Get My Payment tool

When you might get your catch-up money for dependents

If you used the Non-Filers tool from May 5 through Aug. 15, the IRS should have automatically issued the catch-up payment for your dependents in October. If you received your original stimulus money by direct deposit, you should have gotten the catch-up payment the same way. Others should have received it in the mail. 

If you file for your missing dependent money by Nov. 21, the payment should arrive by the end of 2020, in the same way that you received your first payment (likely direct deposit or by mail). If you miss the deadline, your check will be included on your 2020 tax return in 2021. 

To check the status of your or your dependent’s payment, use the IRS Get My Payment tool to track it. You should also get a notice in the mail letting you know that an additional $500 per qualifying child has been issued. 

SSI or SSDI recipients who live outside of the US: What it means for your money

If you are a Social Security beneficiary with a foreign address whose monthly benefit is deposited into a foreign bank account, you’ll receive your stimulus payment as a check in the mail (the IRS doesn’t deposit money into foreign banks). The IRS planned to start sending those checks at the end of July. If you live abroad but receive your monthly benefits through a US bank, you should have received your payment by direct deposit to that account by the end of July as well. Find out everything you need to know about stimulus checks, citizenship and living abroad here.

Again, you can use the Get My Payment tool to track your payment. 

For more information, find out if you’re qualified for a second stimulus check and when you could expect a second stimulus check. If you still haven’t gotten a first stimulus check, you can track the status of your stimulus check, learn how to report your missing check to the IRS and find possible reasons why your stimulus check still hasn’t arrived.



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