For Immediate Release
April 21st, 2020
Contact: Linda Benesch, lbenesc[email protected]

Trump Admin Throws Up Yet Another Barrier for Social Security Beneficiaries to Get Their Full CARES Act Payments

(Washington, DC) — The following is a statement from Nancy Altman, President of Social Security Works, in response to yesterday’s announcement from the Treasury Department that Social Security beneficiaries who have dependent children under age 17 and didn’t file a 2018 or 2019 tax return will need to file a form by noon ET (9am PT) tomorrow in order to receive $500 CARES Act payments for those children:

“The just passed CARES Act is supposed to provide emergency payments as quickly as possible to the American people suffering from the pandemic and the resulting economic collapse. To ensure that they can get the payments automatically and quickly, Congress authorized the Social Security Administration to share data with Secretary Mnuchin’s Treasury Department, the agency in charge of the payments.

At first, the Trump administration informed the lowest-income Social Security beneficiaries, those who have too little income to file income tax returns, that, instead of getting their payments automatically, they would have to provide the government with information the government already has. After enormous pushback from Congress and Social Security advocates, the Trump administration reversed course.

Outrageously, the Trump administration has now created a new roadblock. It just announced that Social Security beneficiaries who did not file tax returns have only one day to prevent having a portion of those payments – the $500 payments for dependent children – delayed until 2021!

Adding insult to injury, the Trump administration is requiring that, to avoid that delay, they have to go online – notwithstanding that many of them do not have computers or internet service and are supposed to be sheltering in place – to provide the government with information that it already has.

While the extremely short deadline is a disgrace, just pushing it back isn’t good enough. Since the Trump administration already has the information it is seeking, it should pay these benefits automatically without putting additional burdens on Social Security beneficiaries.

It is impossible to tell from the outside if this latest outrage is the result of incompetence, mean-spiritedness or both.”

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