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When Should SSI Recipients Receive Stimulus Checks?

A rare positive consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic came in the form of stimulus payments sent to people 2020 and 2021 from the federal government. If you had income that did not exceed $75,000 for an individual and $150,000 for couples filing joint income tax returns, you would have been eligible for the payments.

As the recipient of Supplemental Security Income benefits, you would have easily met the income limits for the stimulus payments. The last of the government payments were processed and sent out in April 2021, so you should have received it by now.

If you did not receive a stimulus check when SSI benefits, the following information explains how to receive a Recovery Rebate Credit equivalent on your tax return equivalent to the amount of the check SSI recipients should have received in 2021. Also included in this article is an important change to the original rules about how stimulus payments affect your SSI eligibility.

Stimulus payments in 2020 and 2021

Legislation passed by Congress authorized three payments to help people get through the early stages of the pandemic. The following payments were authorized:

  • $1,200 per person and an additional $500 for each dependent child who was younger than age 17.
  • $600 per person and an additional $600 for each dependent child who was younger than age 17.
  • $1,400 per person and an additional $1,400 for each qualifying dependent regardless of age.

You need to file a federal income tax return for 2021 and claim a Recovery Rebate Credit equivalent to a payment that you did not receive. If you filed a tax return for 2021 without including in it a claim for the credit, you need to file an amended return.

In addition to knowing what to do about a missed stimulus check, you also should be aware that the effect of stimulus payments on Supplemental Security income benefits has undergone a dramatic change. If you were denied benefits or had your benefits reduced because of a pandemic-related payment that you received, you need to speak with a Supplemental Security Income lawyer at London Disability in light of the new stimulus payment rules.

How to benefit from new stimulus payment rules for SSI?

Supplemental Security Income is a need-based program offering monthly payments to blind or disabled adults and children, and to nondisabled older people who are at least 65 years old. Eligibility rules include strict limits on the amount of income and the value of resources that you may have when applying for and receiving SSI benefits. For example, an individual may not have resources or assets with a total value that exceeds $2,000. The value cap is $3,000 for couples.

The Social Security Administration reacted to both stimulus laws enacted by the federal government, the CARES Act in 2020 and the American Rescue Plan Act in 2021, by announcing that the payments under each program would not count as income under the SSI eligibility guidelines. However, any portion of the payments remaining in an SSI recipient’s bank account after 12 months would count toward the resource limit, which could affect a person’s eligibility for SSI benefits.

The SSA reconsidered its position on the effect of stimulus payments on SSI benefits by no longer counting them as income or resources regardless of how long you have them in your account. They are now on the list of excluded resources and income that claims examiners use when reviewing applications for benefits or when reviewing claims of individuals already receiving SSI benefits.

The new exclusions from income and resources also apply to other types of pandemic-related payments that you may have received, including the following:

  • Emergency assistance to children and families through the Pandemic Emergency Assistance Fund
  • Emergency rental assistance
  • State and tribal stimulus payments
  • State and federal unemployment assistance

The key to determining whether a payment is excluded as countable income or as a resource is whether or not it was pandemic related. An SSI lawyer at London Disability will assist you in determining whether the money you received during the pandemic is excluded as a resource or not countable as income.

If you were denied benefits after submitting an application for SSI or had your benefits reduced or terminated because of payments that you received during the pandemic, you may be entitled to have the decision reviewed and corrected. Although Social Security claims to be automatically reviewing adverse actions that were taken against claimants, it is important to discuss your situation with an SSI lawyer instead of waiting for Social Security to act.

Contact an SSI lawyer at London Disability

If you did not receive a stimulus payment or had Supplemental Security Income benefits denied, reduced, or terminated because of pandemic-related payments that you received, contact an SSI lawyer at London Disability for help. Contact us today for a free consultation.


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