Stimulus checks: Social Security recipients don’t need to file tax returns

The Treasury Department and the IRS have announced that Social Security recipients who do not typically file tax returns will not have to file a return to receive stimulus payments.

The announcement was made shortly after Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, and dozens other Democratic senators publicly raised concerns about a proposed filing requirement.

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The IRS and Treasury say stimulus payments will be automatically deposited into the bank accounts of Social Security beneficiaries or mailed out by paper check. This applies to people who receive benefits for retirement and disability.

But on Friday, Sen. Brown and other senators sent an additional letter to the Treasury and other agencies asking that stimulus payments automatically be sent to people who receive benefits from the Veterans Administration or the Supplemental Security Income program.

“These are two groups with significant numbers of non-filers for whom the federal government has the data necessary to deliver the payments automatically — and they deserve the same treatment as Social Security recipients,” the letter signed by Brown and others states.

The Supplemental Security Income program serves are aged, blind or disabled people who have little or no income.

The IRS and Treasury earlier this week said some seniors who normally do not file tax returns would need to file a simple return to receive payments, which will be up to $1,200 per person who qualify, based on income.

The agencies late Wednesday clarified this will not be needed for Social Security retirement and disability beneficiaries and “railroad retirees.”

The Treasury still plans to develop an Internet portal in coming weeks for people to provide their banking information to the IRS, which is intended to help stimulus recipients to get the money as soon as it is released, instead of having to wait for a check in the mail.

But on Friday, Brown and other senators in a letter urged administration officials with the VA, the Social Security Administration and the Treasury also not to require veterans, people with disabilities and low-income seniors to file simple tax forms to get a stimulus payment.

The lawmakers say the federal government has all the information it needs to ensure members of these groups can receive payments automatically, without needing to file any additional paperwork.

The IRS has continued to say that some taxpayers who do not typically file a tax return will need to submit a simple return to receive an economic impact payment.

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