(Update: On April 17, 2020, the IRS confirmed that vets would also receive their checks automatically.)

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has confirmed that recipients of Supplemental Security Income (SSI) will automatically receive automatic Economic Impact Payments (that’s the official name, although most taxpayers refer to them as stimulus checks).

The move required coordination among the Social Security Administration (SSA), Department of the Treasury, IRS, and the Bureau of Fiscal Services (BFI).

“Since SSI recipients typically aren’t required to file tax returns, the IRS had to work extensively with these other government agencies to determine a way to quickly and accurately deliver Economic Impact Payments to this group,” said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig. “Additional programming work remains, but this step simplifies the process for SSI recipients to quickly and easily receive these $1,200 payments automatically. We appreciate the assistance of SSA and the Bureau of Fiscal Services in this effort.”

Here are a few more details: 

What do SSI recipients have to do? SSI recipients will receive checks without needing to take further action. 

When can SSI recipients expect a check? Payments should go out no later than early May.

Who is sending the checks to SSI recipients? IRS, not SSA.

How will I receive my payment? You should receive payments by direct deposit, Direct Express debit card, or by paper check, just as you usually receive your SSI benefits. Yep, I did say Direct Express (I’ve been asked about those a lot).

What about senior citizens who rely on Social Security retirement? Social Security recipients who are not typically required to file a tax return will have their checks deposited directly to their bank account.

What about SSDI benefits? According to the IRS, Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) recipients also don’t need to take additional action: your check will be direct-deposited (or you’ll get a paper check) just as you’d typically get your benefits.

What about Veterans Affairs benefits? No. No change. That’s right, nothing from Congress to help out vets – but I’ll keep you posted.

What about Social Security, Railroad retirees, and SSDI beneficiaries who have qualifying children? You can take an additional step to receive $500 per qualifying child. If you receive Social Security retirement or disability benefits (SSDI), Railroad Retirement benefits, or SSI and have a qualifying child, you can quickly register. If you enter your information now, you can receive the additional $500 per dependent child payment. If you don’t provide your information soon, you will have to wait until later to receive the $500 per qualifying child.

What if my children have Direct Express cards? According to the IRS, additional information will be available soon regarding the steps to take on the IRS web site when claiming children under 17 with Direct Express.

Is this payment taxable? It is NOT taxable and will not affect your 2020 refund. 

I’m still worried: will it affect my benefits? No, it will not affect your benefits.

Things are happening at a rapid-fire pace these days. As tax updates become available, we’ll keep you updated. Keep checking back for details.

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Kelly Erb is a tax attorney, tax writer and podcaster.

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