November 29, 2020
SSI, SSDI and stimulus checks: Important details to know about the first and second payments

SSI, SSDI and stimulus checks: Important details to know 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

Now that the elections are over, members of Congress say they’re ready to get serious about negotiations to reach an agreement on the substance of a new economic relief package. Though not everyone will qualify to get a second stimulus payment, there’s a good chance people who receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) will be eligible to receive another check.

Details including when the IRS will process more stimulus money and the size of the payment different people could get, including young adultsolder adults and retirees, and SSI/SSDI recipients, will be solidified once a bipartisan agreement is in place.

Read more: Joe Biden is president-elect. Here’s his stimulus plan for the US

If you participate in the SSI or SSDI programs but didn’t receive the first payment, you can still file a claim for yourself or your child dependents by 12 p.m. PT/3 p.m. ET on Nov. 21. Below, we answer more questions about SSI/SSDI and stimulus checks. We updated this story recently.


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Could I be eligible for a new stimulus payment if I receive SSDI or SSI?

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 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.

What if I never filed a federal tax return for 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).

Would I get a check in the mail or a Direct Express payment?

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 do I do if my first stimulus check never came? 

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.)

What if my dependent wasn’t covered in my 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 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.)

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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

How does the IRS tool to claim a missing stimulus check work?

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.

How soon could I get my missing stimulus check?

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 might I expect to receive the missing money for my 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. 

What if I have SSI or SSDI but live outside 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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