Checks for Retirees Will Be Mailed in May

My inbox is crowded with queries from retirees asking me when the $250 economic recovery payments (some folks also refer to them as additional “stimulus checks”) will be mailed out. Well, I finally have an answer. Vice President Joe Biden and Michael Astrue (the Social Security Commish) have announced that checks will be mailed in May.

But wait. Don’t get too excited. Not everyone gets one. This is a one-time payment of $250 to adults who are receiving Social Security benefits, including SSI recipients, but not including those receiving Medicaid in care facilities such as nursing homes. Disabled children who are receiving SSI benefits are also eligible.

To be eligible, you have to live in one of the fifty states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, American Samoa, or the Northern Mariana Islands.

You don’t have to do anything to get your check. You must simply be eligible for Social Security or SSI during November 2008, December 2008 or January 2009 and otherwise meet the residential and other criteria.

Of course, I keep saying “check” but you might not be receiving a check. Your payment will be delivered the same way that you currently get a benefit. If you normally get a check, you’ll get a check. If you receive your benefits via direct deposit or debit card, you will receive your one-time payment the same way.

Veterans Affairs (VA) and Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) beneficiaries will also receive a check. However, if you receive Social Security and SSI, as well as VA or RRB benefits, you’re only going to get one check. There’s no double dipping.

While the checks are expected to be distributed beginning in May, you’ll need to be a little patient. About 50 million folks will be getting the checks – and you know that’s going to take some time. The Social Security Administration has asked that retirees not call them unless a payment is not received by June 4, 2009. June 4. Put it in your calendar. And please don’t bother the poor folks before then – they’re not going to be able to help you.

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19 thoughts on “Checks for Retirees Will Be Mailed in May

  1. In one place you say the checks will go “to adults who are receiving Social Security benefits” but in another you say “You must simply be eligible for Social Security”.

    Must I actually be receiving SS or just be eligible and not taking it or even, as in my case, previously taking it but stopped because the government was taking too much of it back?

    Will I get a check?

  2. JG – I think you must be actually receiving SS to qualify (but I can’t prove it!)

    Kelly — here’s another aspect of this to wrestle with: Those of us who are receiving both SS and wages. We have both had our withholding adjusted due to new tax tables for the work opportunity credit. I think there will be an “up to” tax credit on our 2009 tax return for $400 each, but I also think the $250 SS payment will be deducted from the credit. My pension withholding has also been reduced. What all that says to me is I’ll be in deep doo doo tax-wise unless I increase my withholding or make estimated pmts to compensate for the “gift” from the government. We are both receiving full SS benefits, age 69, and still working. Whaddya think?

  3. I have 2 children that receive SSI benefits from their disabled father will they both get $250?


  4. everyone that is receiving the payment should have gotten a paper from the ssa office but yes if your kids receive ssi they will both get a check

  5. The above info is incorrect. The kids on ssi will not get a check. Only those people currently receiving SS or disability will receive these checks. Kids on SSi will not.

  6. Disabled children on SSI will get a check but minor children who receive SS otherwise will not. Adult children who receive disability benefits on a parent’s record will receive a payment.

    For more, see

  7. JG –

    I don’t know. SSA clearly uses the word “eligible.” Your case is unusual – most folks who are eligible to collect, do.

  8. According to the website, the first cycle will be issued on the 7th of May. Click on more info and then scroll down to weekly reports. It is under 05-01-2009 weekly reports, major activities. You will need Excel reader to view.

  9. So, if I live abroad (as in the Philippines) I cannot receive the stimulus pay for retirees despite the fact that I am a retired American who can barely make both ends meet? I do not see the justice nor the logic here. I guess I have to wait and see till June. Thanks.

  10. What happen to the promise that seniors making under 50,000 a year would not be paying Federal tax.

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