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.