Since the third round of stimulus checks, formally known as Economic Impact Payments, began arriving in people’s bank accounts in March 2021, many VERIFY viewers have asked if a fourth round of payments is on the way.
Those eligible for the third round of payments received up to $1,400, and married couples filing a joint return received up to $2,800. The checks were intended to help people pay their bills and boost the economy during the coronavirus pandemic.
Daphne reached out to the VERIFY team on Facebook to ask if people receiving Social Security benefits are receiving another $1,400 stimulus check now.
Are Social Security recipients getting new $1,400 stimulus checks?
- Internal Revenue Service (IRS)
- The Senior Citizens League (TSCL), a nonpartisan seniors group
- Mary Johnson, Social Security and Medicare policy analyst for TSCL
No, Social Security recipients aren’t getting new $1,400 stimulus checks.
WHAT WE FOUND
A spokesperson for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) told VERIFY “there are no further stimulus payments authorized by law.” Congress would need to enact legislation that would then be signed into law by President Joe Biden in order to authorize additional stimulus checks. This hasn’t happened for stimulus checks for Social Security recipients or any other Americans since March 2021.
That doesn’t mean additional stimulus hasn’t been proposed. Rick Delaney, chairman for The Senior Citizens League (TSCL), sent a letter to Congress in October 2021 proposing a one-time $1,400 Social Security stimulus payment for seniors, but Congress hasn’t yet acted on the request.
Social Security provides people with income when they retire or can’t work due to disability. Those who are retired can start receiving their Social Security benefits as early as age 62.
Delaney argued these types of stimulus checks could offset higher taxes caused by a Social Security cost-of-living increase.
“We believe that a special stimulus for Social Security recipients could help defray the higher costs some would face if next year’s [cost-of-living adjustment] bumps them into a higher tax bracket, causing higher tax rates on their income and surcharges to their Medicare Part B premiums,” Delaney wrote in part.
The Social Security Administration (SSA) raised Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits for about 70 million Americans by 5.9% in 2022 due to an increase in the cost of living, the agency said on its website. The cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for the majority of Social Security recipients began in January 2022, and the average payment for all retired workers is now $1,657.
The Social Security Act ties the annual COLA to the increase in the Consumer Price Index, the most widely used measure of inflation, which is determined by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The COLA increases the amount that Social Security recipients receive in their monthly payments and is not a separate payment.
TSCL is also collecting print and online petitions urging Congress to provide the $1,400 stimulus check to Social Security recipients.
In an email to VERIFY, TSCL Social Security and Medicare Policy analyst Mary Johnson wrote that while it is advocating for members of Congress to introduce legislation, the group isn’t aware of any bills that are on the table right now.
“However, our membership base strongly supports a one-time $1,400 check targeted to Social Security recipients, to help offset record levels of inflation over the past year,” Johnson said, adding that this is a legislative priority for TSCL in 2022.
Johnson said “May is still relatively early in the legislative cycle” even though 2022 is an election year, and TSCL is hopeful that “a provision will be included in relevant budget legislation later this fall.”