Social Security delays sending stimulus to those on Social Security
Americans struggling to survive on federal benefits have waited weeks for word on their share of the $1.9 trillion stimulus.
Some of the country’s most vulnerable citizens have been waiting weeks for the next round of promised financial aid from President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion “American Rescue Plan” coronavirus relief package, with no indication of when it would come. Chief among those are the millions of elderly Americans who depend on federal assistance to survive.
As of March 24, nearly 30 million had yet to receive their portion, largely because the Social Security Administration had “not sent the necessary payment files” to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Despite a March 12 assurance the money would be delivered “shortly,” weeks passed before the IRS had access to the necessary information to follow through.
“To me, ‘shortly’ is two to three days, not two weeks,” 65-year-old Floridian retiree Mark Stevens said. “People in my situation are feeling lied to.” In a March 22 letter from the House Ways and Means Committee, they highlighted the dire position of veterans, seniors, and disabled Americans.
“Some of our most vulnerable seniors and persons with disabilities, including veterans who served our country with honor, are unable to pay for basic necessities while they wait for their overdue payments.”
The committee pressured the IRS and SSA for information as to the delay, according to a spokesperson. After a March 25 statement by SSA Commissioner Andrew Saul claiming the issue was a lack of staff funding, the committee publicly expressed their skepticism.
“On background from a Committee aide, funds could not be directly appropriated because of the reconciliation process,” the spokesperson said, “but they were appropriated to Treasury with the intent that they would be distributed to SSA in a timely manner, so this line of defense doesn’t hold.”
The spokesperson characterized the issue as a lack of leadership. “It inexplicably took two weeks for the transfer to happen after the American Rescue Plan was signed into law, which is a clear failure of leadership from SSA,” they said.
The administration is now shooting for April 7 to get the payments out. Are they saying that they cannot program their payment system to deliver the checks in addition to the ones they are already delivering? That sounds implausible.