Social Security recipients can get $1,200 COVID-19 payments even if they didn’t file taxes: Treasury lifts roadblock to stimulus funds


The Treasury Department, in a switch, lifted a roadblock on Wednesday night, clearing the way for individuals who live off of Social Security — and do not file federal income tax returns — to be eligible for the $1,200 payments being disbursed to the COVID-19 rescue legislation.

“Social Security recipients who are not typically required to file a tax return need to take no action, and will receive their payment directly to their bank account,” Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement.

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The payments were included in the $2.2 trillion legislation signed into law last week, designed to rescue an economy wrecked by the coronavirus pandemic.

Under the stimulus bill, payments of up to $1,200 would go to eligible U.S. taxpayers who filed 2018 and 2019 tax returns

However, there are those who live off their Social Security or railroad retirement payments – many senior citizens with no outside income – who are not required to file a federal income tax return.

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The IRS earlier this week said non-filers would have to file a basic income tax form to trigger the stimulus benefits.

Enough concerns were raised that the IRS by Wednesday reversed itself.

A spokesman for Rep. Brad Schneider, D-Ill., a member of the House Ways and Means Committee Social Security subcommittee, said he had been working “to push back on this unnecessary bureaucratic hurdle.”

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The Treasury department said in the statement that “recipients will receive these payments as a direct deposit or by paper check, just as they would normally receive their benefits.”