April 03, 2020

Takano, Neal, Davis Urge Treasury and IRS to Automatically Issue Economic Impact Payments to Supplemental Security Income and Veterans Affairs Recipients

Press Contact

Jenni Geurink (Takano) I 202-819-4684

Dylan Opalich (Neal)

Ira Cohen (Davis)

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Leaders from the House Veterans’ Affairs and Ways and Means Committees today called on U.S. Department of Treasury (Treasury) Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Commissioner Charles Rettig to automatically provide the economic impact payments authorized by the CARES Act to people who receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and to individuals who receive Veterans Affairs (VA) compensation and pensions. Veterans’ Affairs Chairman Mark Takano (D-CA) and Ways and Means Chairman Richard E. Neal (D-MA), along with Ways and Means Worker and Family Support Subcommittee Chairman Danny K. Davis (D-IL), signed the letter to the administration officials.

Earlier this week, following requests from Ways and Means Democrats, Treasury and IRS announced that Social Security beneficiaries will automatically receive CARES Act economic impact payments and will not have to file a simplified tax return to access those funds. However, the hurdle of filing a return to receive economic impact payments remains in place for other vulnerable groups. The Supplemental Security Income program supports very low income seniors and those with severe disabilities, who typically are not required to file a tax return.

“The federal government has the capacity to pay rebates automatically to SSI and VA recipients, and there is no excuse for not doing so,” the members wrote. “We call upon Treasury to immediately release guidance clarifying that it will use this existing data to pay rebates automatically to SSI and VA recipients, whether or not they have filed a recent tax return.”

The lawmakers continued: “Congress intended these rebate payments as immediate assistance to Americans during the current time of crisis. Requiring SSI and VA recipients to file tax returns in order to get the payments would create artificial and needless bureaucratic hurdles for millions of the most vulnerable individuals in our society, and would put them at risk of experiencing a delay or a complete inability to receive their payments. We strongly urge you to prevent this unacceptable outcome by paying rebates automatically to all SSI and VA recipients, whether or not they have filed a recent tax return.”

Full text of the letter is available HERE.