WASHINGTON — The Social Security Administration has now sent files to the Internal Revenue Service that could free up outstanding stimulus payments to nearly 30 million Americans, lawmakers said Thursday.
Earlier this week, a key House committee asked the IRS and Social Security Administration to explain why the $1,400 stimulus checks from the American Rescue Plan have been slow to get out to people on Social Security and other government programs. On Wednesday, the Democratic leaders on the House Ways and Means Committee demanded the Social Security Administration turn over payment files to the IRS within 24 hours.
In a statement, committee chair Richard Neal, D-Mass., said they were notified Thursday morning that the SSA "has transmitted the necessary payment files to the IRS that have been blocking the sending of stimulus payments to nearly 30,000,000 Americans."
Neal went on to blame SSA Commissioner Andrew Saul for the delay. In a post on the agency's website Thursday afternoon, Saul disputed the allegation and said employees have been working day and night with the IRS to get files of Social Security and SSI recipients ready.
Saul wrote that the files were delivered Thursday, more than a week sooner than a similar file was given to the IRS during the first round of stimulus checks in 2020.
"There is no one more committed to serving the public than the employees of this agency, and there should be no doubt whatsoever that they are striving each day to serve the vulnerable populations to whom they have committed their careers. I find any insinuation to the contrary to be unacceptable," Saul said.
He added that they worked to ensure the updated files sent to the IRS have accurate banking information for recipients and removed individuals who have died.
The Democratic lawmakers called for the IRS to quickly deliver the $1,400 stimulus checks to those receiving Social Security and other federal benefits.
"Now the IRS needs to do its job and get these overdue payments out to suffering Americans. Further delays will not be tolerated by this committee,” the statement said.
So far, an official date has yet to be set for when those receiving Social Security and other federal beneficiaries will get their money. Though the IRS has said those recipients will generally receive the third payment the same way as their regular benefits.
On Wednesday, the Treasury Department said another 37 million payments have gone out in its second batch, reaching a total of 127 million so far since the American Rescue Plan was signed. But this isn't the final group of deposits, so people need to also be prepared to possibly wait a little longer.
'Payment status not available'
If you are getting "Payment Status Not Available" from the IRS stimulus check tracker -- don't be alarmed.
According to the IRS, if you receive that message it can mean one of three things:
- You are not eligible for the payment.
- The payment has yet to be processed
- The IRS doesn't have enough information to issue the payment to you
The agency said it will continue to issue the 2021 Economic Impact Payments throughout 2021.
Am I eligible for the third stimulus check?
The American Rescue Plan provides households with $1,400 for each adult, child and adult dependent, such as college students or elderly relatives.
The payments start declining for an individual once adjusted gross income exceeds $75,000 and go to zero once income hits $80,000. The payment starts declining for married couples when income exceeds $150,000 and goes to zero at $160,000.
A qualifying family of four would receive $5,600.
Do college students, adult dependents get the third stimulus check?
Unlike the first and second rounds of checks, payments for dependents in the third round are not restricted to only children under 17.
According to the IRS website: "Eligible families will get a payment based on all of their qualifying dependents claimed on their return, including older relatives like college students, adults with disabilities, parents and grandparents."
Now it's important to note that if you're a dependent, the check won't go to you, it'll go to whoever claims you as a dependent.