November 28, 2020
SSDI, SSI and stimulus checks: Everything you should know

SSDI, SSI and stimulus checks: Important details about the first and second payments


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


Angela Lang/CNET

If the negotiations to pass a another coronavirus rescue package resume and deliver a bill that includes a second direct payment, the results of the election will affect when money will be sent to eligible people and how much money different groups of people — including young adultsolder adults and retirees and recipients of Supplemental Security Income and/or Social Security Disability Insurance — may receive. 

SSI and SSDI program members who don’t file federal taxes are likely to qualify for a second stimulus check as well as the first payment. If that describes your situation, but you didn’t get the first check, you must file a claim for yourself by 12 p.m. PT/3 p.m. ET on Nov. 21 — and here’s how to file a claim for a stimulus payment for eligible dependents. Read on to learn how to track a missing payment and other details that apply to recipients of SSI and SSDI.

Would I qualify for another stimulus check if I receive SSI or SSDI?

We won’t know exactly who will qualify for a second stimulus payment until Congress completes a bill. 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 those who are part of the SSI or SSDI program would qualify for a check, as they did in the first round, so long as you have a Social Security number, you are not claimed as a dependent on someone else’s tax return and your household income is not above the threshold (which is $75,000 single, $112,500 head of household and $150,000 married). 

What happens if I didn’t file a federal tax return in 2018 or 2019? 

If you receive federal benefits including SSI and SSDI as your only form of income, you were not 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 would my stimulus money arrive if I get SSI or SSDI?

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 don’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. 

What if I never got a first stimulus check for myself? 

If you’re on 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, you need to provide your information to the IRS using its Non-Filers tool by Nov. 21 at 12 p.m. PT (3 p.m. ET)

The agency will ask for your name, mailing address, date of birth, Society Security number, bank account number if you have one, identity protection personal identification number (IP PIN), and driver’s license or state-issued ID, if you have one. You can submit this information online using the Non-Filers tool. (Important caveat: If you did file a 2019 tax refund, even if you weren’t required to do so, don’t use this tool — it’ll just slow down the processing of your return and any refund.)


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What if I didn’t get a first payment for my dependent?

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 has been extended to Nov. 21 at 12 p.m. PT. 

(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.)

How do I use the Non-Filers tool to claim a missing stimulus check?

Here’s what to expect when you use the IRS Non-Filers tool: Create an account with your email address and phone number, along with a user ID and password. You’ll be directed to a screen where you’ll input your filing status (single or married filing jointly) and personal information. There’s a box to check if someone else can claim you or your spouse as a dependent. Then you can enter your bank information (if you’d rather not or don’t have a bank, the IRS will send you a check in the mail). You’ll be taken to another screen to enter more personal information to verify your identity. 

After you fill out the forms, you’ll get an email from Customer Service at Free File Fillable Forms acknowledging that you’ve successfully submitted your information, or letting you know there’s a problem and how to correct it. The site uses your information to automatically complete a Form 1040 and send it to the IRS to compute and send you a payment.

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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 could my missing stimulus payment arrive?

If your payment didn’t come in the first round but you register with the Non-Filers tool by Nov. 21 at 12 p.m. PT, the IRS says you’ll receive the payment by the end of 2020. 

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

When could I get the missing payment for my dependent? 

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. 

What if I’m in the SSI or SSDI program and don’t live in the US?

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 can 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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