Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients who did not file tax returns the past two years and who have dependent children under age 17 must take immediate action with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) if they wish to receive additional COVID-19 relief checks this year.
The deadline is Tuesday, May 5, according to an IRS news release. This is a change from an earlier deadline of April 22.
Under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, signed into law by President Trump on March 27, all people with incomes up to $75,000 ($150,000 for couples who filed joint taxes) are entitled to $1,200 relief checks ($2,400 for joint filers) from the IRS. People with incomes up to $99,000 ($198,000 for joint filers) are entitled to smaller checks. Those eligible for checks who have dependent children under age 17 are entitled to an additional $500 per child.
When determining eligibility for relief, the IRS is calculating incomes based on the individual’s, or household’s 2018 or 2019 tax return, depending on whether they have already filed this year. However, since many people do not file tax returns—typically because they earned minimal income or lacked sufficient employment history—questions quickly arose as to whether those individuals would still receive relief checks. In response, the IRS created a non-filer online tool so that non-filers can submit the necessary information to determine eligibility for relief checks.
After much confusion, the IRS clarified on April 15 that neither SSI nor Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) recipients are required to use the non-filer online tool. Rather, the IRS will send out relief checks automatically, just as they do with regular SSI or SSDI payments.
But for some SSI recipients, there is still another step.
As detailed in this Social Security Administration fact sheet, SSI recipients who did not file tax returns and who have dependent children under age 17 must still use the non-filer online tool to provide the IRS with information about their dependents in order to receive the additional $500 payment.
If the May 5 deadline is missed, SSI recipients may still be eligible for the $500 per dependent payment—but not until 2021, after they file their 2020 tax return.
Like SSI recipients, people receiving disability benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs must also use the non-filer online tool to obtain the additional $500 payments if they have dependent children under age 16.
Advocates are urging the IRS to allow SSI recipients who miss the May 5th deadline to file for the dependent payments on a rolling basis through 2020.
Click here to access the IRS’ non-filer online tool.