IRS officials have touted the agency’s handover of recenthow to reach eligible Americans in “record time.” However, some Social Security recipients who urgently need financial assistance say they are still waiting for payment of emergency assistance.
“I have to postpone everything: utility bills, cable. I had to be late for my rent,” Mark Stevens, 65, of Pensacola, Florida, told CBS MoneyWatch.
Stevens found out when the Internal Revenue Service on March 12 said the payment date for Social Security recipients would be announced “shortly,” and he hoped his stimulus money would arrive quickly given the second aid payment. approved by legislators in late December had arrived within two days of the authorizing law. I was not so lucky.
“For me, ‘shortly’ is two or three days, not two weeks,” Stevens said, noting that he only has $ 600 in his bank account. “People in my situation feel cheated.”
The IRS has not specified when Social Security recipients and other federal aid recipients could receive their stimulus checks, which total $ 1,400 for each eligible adult and dependent. But since many get their federal payments through direct deposit to their bank account, they are perplexed as to why the tax agency is taking more time to deliver checks to them than to others. So far, the IRS has deposited more than 90 million payments into personal accounts or mailed checks and prepaid debit cards.
Lawmakers “alarmed” by the delay
The delay in the delivery of stimulus payments to Social Security recipients and others with government assistance has drawn the attention of lawmakers. On Monday, members of the House Ways and Means Committee wrote to IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig and Social Security Administration Commissioner Andrew M. Saul to express their concern and demand an update on theto these groups before Friday.
“We were alarmed to learn recently that most [Social Security, Supplemental Security Income, Railroad Retirement Board and Veterans] beneficiaries who are not required to file a tax return have not yet received their payments and the IRS cannot provide an expected schedule for these payments, “the lawmakers wrote in the letter.
They added: “Some of our most vulnerable seniors and people with disabilities, including veterans who served our country with honor, are unable to pay for their basic needs while waiting for their past due payments.”
The IRS said Monday that it will deliver another batch of checks on March 24, although many of them will be paper checks or prepaid debit cards that will be mailed to recipients. Some Social Security recipients may be part of that round or subsequent rounds of payment. The IRS did not respond to requests for comment on the delays for some recipients of Social Security and other programs.
The IRS has prioritized delivering checks to people who have filed their 2020 or 2019 tax returns, as well as those who used the “Non-Filers” website the agency operated last year.
Trouble getting answers
Part of the frustration Stevens and others feel is the difficulty they have in obtaining information from the IRS “Get My Payment” website. Stevens, who said he did not use the “Non-Filers” website last year, said he received a “Payment Status Not Available” message.
That can mean a couple of things. It may indicate that the tax agency has not processed an individual’s payment or that individuals are not eligible for a stimulus payment, the IRS noted.
Among those experiencing problems is Sydney Chandler of Los Angeles, who has been helping her disabled cousin track his stimulus check. So far, she said that he has not received it and that he is receiving the same “Payment Status Unavailable” response from the IRS website.
“What infuriated me and a lot of people was the fact that the IRS already had your direct deposit information,” said Chandler. “You can’t get a response from the IRS or the Social Security Administration.”