U.S. Citizen With No Legs, And 30 Million Other Americans: Where’s Our $1,400?

29 03 2021

  By Timothy D. Naegele[1]

In an article entitled “Stimulus checks: Payment blockage resolved for nearly 30 million Social Security recipients,” Denitsa Tsekova has written at Yahoo!Money:

The blockage of nearly 30 million stimulus checks for Social Security and other federal benefits recipients has been resolved after the Social Security Administration sent relevant files to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) on Thursday morning, according to the House Ways and Means Committee.

“We are gratified that the SSA leadership finally recognized the urgency of the moment and acted swiftly on our ultimatum,” members of the committee said in a press release on Thursday. “Now the IRS needs to do its job and get these overdue payments out to suffering Americans.”

The delay affects Social Security recipients and other beneficiaries who did not file their 2019 or 2020 taxes or did not use the IRS ‘Non-Filer’ tool for direct payments. The IRS is now working on updating the information for the rest of the eligible federal benefit recipients. The IRS did not respond to a request by Yahoo Money on exact timing of the delayed payments.

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard E. Neal (D-MA) and other Democrats blamed Social Security Commissioner Andrew Saul, an appointee of former President Donald Trump, for the delay.

“The delays imposed by Commissioner Saul defied congressional intent and imposed needless anxiety and pain on taxpayers,” the lawmakers said.

A total of 127 million payments worth $325 billion — more than 70% of the $450 billion earmarked for stimulus payments — have been disbursed as part of the first two batches of the latest stimulus direct payments. More batches of payments will be issued in the coming weeks as direct deposits or as mailed checks and prepaid debit cards. The majority of the third round of stimulus checks will be directly deposited in Americans’ bank accounts.

This round is $1,400 per eligible individual plus a $1,400 bonus per dependent. Around 158.5 million households are expected to receive a payment under the new stimulus deal, according to the White House.

Here’s more of what you need to know about the third round of stimulus checks.

Who gets a stimulus check?

Under the latest amended bill, a single filer making up to $75,000 will receive the full payment, while those earning up to $80,000 will get a reduced amount. Joint filers making up to $150,000 will get the full $2,800, while those earning up to $160,000 will receive a smaller amount. Previously, the phase-out thresholds were $100,000 for single filers and $200,000 for joint filers in the House version.

Eligibility will be based on your most recent tax return and your adjusted gross income. For the third round of checks, the IRS will use your 2019 or 2020 tax return to determine if you qualify for the direct payment.

Social Security beneficiaries, Disability Insurance beneficiaries, Supplemental Security Income recipients, Railroad Retirement Board beneficiaries, and Veterans Administration beneficiaries all are eligible for the payment even if they didn’t file a 2019 or 2020 tax return.

Eligible taxpayers who used the IRS Non-Filer tool for the first round of checks will be treated as providing returns and will also receive payments.

Additionally, Americans who qualify for the stimulus payment and have dependents will get an additional $1,400 per dependent. The bonus can be claimed for college students, disabled adults, and other adults who are dependents. Previously, parents or guardians could only claim the bonus for child dependents under 17.

Deceased people may also receive a payment. Checks will go to all eligible taxpayers who were alive as of Jan. 1, 2021.

Who doesn’t get a check?

Those without a Social Security number and nonresident aliens — those who aren’t U.S. citizens or U.S. nationals and don’t have a green card or have not passed the substantial presence test — are not eligible for the direct payment.

Married taxpayers who file jointly where one spouse has a Social Security number and the other doesn’t will get one $1,400 payment, in addition to $1,400 for any child with a Social Security number.

Taxpayers with Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITIN) aren’t eligible for the payments.

How will the government send you the stimulus check?

The IRS will use the direct deposit information you provided from the taxes you’ve filed for 2019 or 2020.

You may be able to use the IRS’ Non-Filers tool to provide your information like the first round. But so far, the IRS has not announced whether that tool will be available if this stimulus bill is passed.

The tool was for eligible U.S. citizens or permanent residents who had gross income below $12,200 ($24,400 for married couples) for 2019 and weren’t required to file a 2019 federal tax return.

If you have no direct deposit information on file or if the account provided is now closed, the IRS will mail you a check or pre-paid debit card instead.

If you received no payment and you think you’re eligible or you got the wrong amount, you’ll be able to claim it on your 2021 tax return.

How can I track my payment?

Americans can now check the status of their third stimulus check using the IRS’s online tracking tool ‘Get My Payment.’

The tool allows Americans to follow the scheduled payment date for either a direct deposit or mailed payment. It’s an online app that works on desktops, phones, and tablets and doesn’t need to be downloaded from an app store. To use the tool, you need to provide basic information:

Social Security number or Individual Tax ID Number (ITIN)

Date of birth

Mailing address

The tracking tool will no longer show the status of the first or second round of stimulus checks — the $1,200 payment under the CARES Act and the $600 payments under the December $900 billion stimulus deal. To find the status of those previous rounds, you must create an account.

If your payment is delivered by direct deposit, the tool will show when the direct deposit is expected to be made or when it was delivered along with the bank account it went into.

If you receive the message “Payment Status Not Available,” the IRS may not have processed your payment yet or you may not be eligible for a payment.

Will I get the dependent bonus for a newborn?

If you had a baby in 2021 and meet the rest of the eligibility criteria, you can claim the additional $1,400 per child when you file your 2021 taxes.

If you had a child in 2020 and your return has been processed, you should automatically get the additional payment. If you haven’t yet filed your 2020 taxes or they haven’t been processed by the IRS by the time the payments are issued, you can claim the dependent bonus on your 2021 taxes

Do you have to pay back the stimulus check?

No, you don’t have to pay it back. It also doesn’t reduce any refund you would otherwise receive.

“No, there is no provision in the law requiring repayment of an Economic Impact Payment,” the IRS website said about the first round of checks.

If your income dropped in 2020 compared with 2019, you may now be eligible for the payment or a bigger payment if you have already filed your taxes and they have been processed by the IRS.

If your payment is too high based on your 2020 income and you still haven’t filed your 2020 taxes, you’re not responsible for paying back the difference.[2]

Despite the assertion made in this informative article, approximately 30 million Americans have not received their $1,400, and the blockage has not been resolved.  Many if not most of these Americans are senior citizens who barely exist on their Social Security retirement and other similar benefits.  They are suffering greatly, with some on the edge of giving up, if not committing suicide.  China’s deadly Coronavirus has devastated their lives: physically, psychologically and economically.[3]  They were hanging by a thread already, and now this.  Many don’t have money for food, shelter, medical care or the like.  Many are living day-by-day, hour-by-hour at best.

A few examples of the comments beneath the Yahoo!Money article tell the tale:

•   “I’m a US natural born citizen receiving the smallest possible amount of Social Security since I lost both legs in 1998.  I got married in 2003 and disability was no longer available to me.  Since becoming separated in September of 2019, do you think that money is available to me, now?  You would think it is.  Nope… and no I never received any stimulus check. Not the first second or third so far” (Jamye)

•  “‘The IRS did not respond to a request by Yahoo Money on exact timing of the delayed payments.’  Why not???? Are they mentally challenged???  In the mean while, the first two checks went out without a problem and ‘they’ obviously had the information needed.  What did they do with that information???  Lose it??  I am angry with this whole system.  Repubs, Dems, it doesn’t matter any more.  I am sick and tired of all of them.  My mere existence is at stake and they are playing games with each other” (chrisw)

•  “First one came relatively fast, the second even faster, but yet here I sit still waiting on 3/25/21 and no clue when.. Tho my landlord is seriously tired of waiting, and I’M HUNGRY..Having a fixed income does have its drawbacks, specially for food costs..” (Nobody)

•  “I remind you that we all could have gotten the 2000 dollars in december but Pelosi blocked it to get more pork in the system. 1.4 trillion extra” (Russell)

•  “If this had happened under Trump, Pelosi would be screaming her head off.” (Retired_LC)

•  “I think 2022 would be a great time to show this administration exactly how SS recipients feel about this obvious slight!!!!” (Hamster Fodder)

With all due respect to those who might blame the Trump administration, the fact is that the legislation was proposed and enacted by the Biden administration and the Democrats, which is where the buck stops.  Having spent most of my professional career working in and with the U.S. Congress, I have seen many administrations come and go, and transitions take place.  Even before presidential elections, staff members of the challenging candidate are assigned to the major federal agencies to coordinate such transitions and make sure they run smoothly.  Certainly after the 2020 elections, this took place; and it surely took place when the Biden administration took office and fashioned the new legislation that included the $1,400 payments.  Thus, there is no excuse for “glitches,” and for the nonpayment of those who arguably need the money most—just to survive.

Some of the readers of this article might argue: “Why is this important or relevant to me?  The $1,400 payments are peanuts, and do not affect me at all.”  The answer is that the Biden administration is fashioning follow-on legislation[4]; and if the $1,400 payments can be denied, or postponed, so can the benefits of their future legislation.



© 2021, Timothy D. Naegele



[1]  Timothy D. Naegele was counsel to the United States Senate’s Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, and chief of staff to Presidential Medal of Freedom and Congressional Gold Medal recipient and former U.S. Senator Edward W. Brooke (R-Mass). He and his firm, Timothy D. Naegele & Associates, specialize in Banking and Financial Institutions Law, Internet Law, Litigation and other matters (see, e.g., Timothy D. Naegele Resume-20-6-30). He has an undergraduate degree in economics from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), as well as two law degrees from the School of Law (Boalt Hall), University of California, Berkeley, and from Georgetown University. He served as a Captain in the U.S. Army, assigned to the Defense Intelligence Agency at the Pentagon, where he received the Joint Service Commendation Medal (see, e.g., https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Commendation_Medal#Joint_Service). Mr. Naegele is an Independent politically; and he is listed in Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in American Law, and Who’s Who in Finance and Business. He has written extensively over the years (see, e.g., www.naegele.com/whats_new.html#articles and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/articles/), and can be contacted directly at tdnaegele.associates@gmail.com

[2]  See https://money.yahoo.com/stimulus-checks-payment-blockage-resolved-for-nearly-30-million-social-security-recipients-183112988.html (“Stimulus checks: Payment blockage resolved for nearly 30 million Social Security recipients”)

[3]  See Timothy D. Naegele, The Coronavirus and Similar Global Issues: How to Address Them, 137 BANKING L. J. 285 (June 2020) (Naegele June 2020) (Timothy D. Naegele) [NOTE: To download The Banking Law Journal article, please click on the link to the left of this note] 

[4]  See https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9411849/Biden-roll-COVID-relief-April-separate-4-trillion-infrastructure-package.html (“Biden will roll out another COVID relief plan in April on top of $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, Jen Psaki reveals”)

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