How Recipients of SSI Can Get Stimulus Checks

May 1, 2020

Recent changes affect how the 8.2 million seniors and people with disabilities who receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) can receive their own $1,200 stimulus payments and the $500 payments for child dependents. In particular, the IRS set a deadline of May 5th (next week) for SSI recipients to use the IRS’s non-filer online tool if they have a qualifying dependent child under age 17 and want to receive the $500 dependent payment at the same time as their individual $1,200 payment.

Here are three things to keep in mind:

SSI recipients who have filed their 2018 or 2019 taxes do not need to take any action and are not affected by the May 5th deadline. Their stimulus payment will be sent automatically to the same account where they received their tax refund. This automatic payment will include the $500 payment for each dependent child under age 17 listed on their tax return.

SSI recipients who have not filed returns for either the 2018 or 2019 tax years and who do not have a child dependent under age 17 also do not need to take any action and are not affected by the May 5th deadline. Their stimulus payment will be sent automatically to them in the same way as their monthly SSI payment.

SSI recipients who have not filed returns for the 2018 or 2019 tax years and who do have a child dependent under age 17 are affected by the May 5th deadline and need to take an additional action if they want to receive the $500 dependent payment this year. These individuals must go to the IRS’s non-filer online tool by Tuesday, May 5th and provide information about their child dependents. If they miss the deadline, they will need to wait until 2021 and claim the dependent payment when filing their 2020 tax return. Note that only the dependent payment is affected, as these individuals will still receive the $1,200 payment automatically even if they do not provide information on their dependents by May 5th.

This fact sheet from the Social Security Administration provides more information on how individuals who receive SSI and Social Security benefits will receive stimulus payments and any additional actions they need to take.