Most people receiving benefits from the Social Security Disability Insurance Program (SSDI) or the Social Security Supplemental Income Program (SSI) are eligible to receive a COVID-19 stimulus check payment in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, also known as the CARES Act, is a $2.2 trillion economic stimulus bill passed by the 116th U.S. Congress and signed into law by President at the White House in response to the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States
The stimulus payments are $1,200 for single people who earn less than $75,000, while married couples who earn less than $150,000 will receive $2,400. Children under 17 are eligible to get $500. The payments are distributed by the Internal Revenue Service, not the Social Security Administration.
The economic impact payment stimulus payments are distributed to people receiving SSI or SSDI benefits in different ways depending on whether or not that beneficiary filed previous tax returns. Some received electronic payments while others will receive paper checks. Most individuals who qualified to receive the stimulus benefit electronically should have received their payment by now. For others who are receiving paper checks, they can expect those to be mailed out this week or next.
If you want to know more about the particulars of these payments, you can read Social Security’s 7-page guiding document.
If you are concerned about the status of your payment or if you aren’t sure if you were eligible for a payment, you can use the “Get My Payment” Tool from the IRS.
Will My Stimulus Check Payment Affect my Benefits?
Some people receiving disability benefits are concerned about how the stimulus package payment may impact their eligibility for existing federal programs, also known as the SSI or SSDI disability programs.
As always, it’s a good idea to review the difference between SSI and SSDI. Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is for disabled workers and certain dependents. Disabled workers include people with a medical condition who are unable to work. A person applying for SSDI benefits will have worked enough to obtain the number of work credits required to be eligible for benefits. If you are eligible for SSDI, income and assets don’t matter, so the stimulus check will have no effect.
On the other hand, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is need based. It is a public assistance program for the elderly, disabled and blind. SSI benefits are not related to an individual’s earnings.
To qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI), disabled individuals must not have more than $2,000 in qualifying assets. Couples are allowed $3,000. Certain assets are excluded from this by SSI rules but the assets or resources that are counted by SSI include money in the bank, investments of any kind, real estate other than a primary residence, and personal property and household goods over certain limits.
SSI also counts any money or property in which you have an interest, even if you are not the sole owner. If you have a joint bank account with someone, or hold any property with someone else, SSI will consider that you own the entire account or property.
So, if an individual receiving SSI also receives a stimulus payment or multiple stimulus payments, it is possible that their asset limit could temporarily exceed $2,000. Does that mean they will no longer be eligible for benefits?
Thankfully, the answer is NO. The IRS has issued specific guidance about the stimulus payments and have stated that these payments are not categorized as income. In addition, the stimulus money won’t count as an asset UNLESS you still have all or part of it 12 months after receiving it. The bottom line is that your stimulus payment should not affect your SSI or SSDI benefit eligibility.