Senate Democrats Urge Trump Administration to Hasten Relief Funds to Some Social Security Recipients

By Tom Ozimek
Tom Ozimek
Tom Ozimek
Tom Ozimek is a senior reporter for The Epoch Times. He has a broad background in journalism, deposit insurance, marketing and communications, and adult education.
April 23, 2020Updated: April 23, 2020

Senate Democrats have called on the Trump administration to ensure COVID-19 cash assistance is paid out quickly to eligible recipients with dependent children who may have missed a tight registration deadline that made it possible for them to get stimulus checks for their kids sooner than when they file a tax return next year.

On Monday, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced a 48-hour window for people like Social Security recipients and railroad retirement beneficiaries—groups that aren’t required to file yearly tax returns—to submit information about their dependent children via the agency’s “Non-Filers” payment info tool. If they submitted this info by an April 22 deadline, it meant that $500 per child would be added to their $1,200 economic impact payments, which are paid out automatically. People who didn’t meet the deadline could still get the payments for their children but would have to wait until they file a tax return in 2021.

“If you have qualifying children under 17, use the Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info Here tool to have $500 per child added to your $1,200 Economic Impact Payment. You must register by noon Eastern on Wednesday, April 22,” the IRS said.

Internal Revenue Service Headquarters Building in Washington on Sept. 19, 2018. (Samira Bouaou/The Epoch Times)

But Senate Democrats, and before them House Democrats, have urged the Trump administration to take steps to allow people who missed the IRS deadline to receive the extra $500 per child.

Forty members of the Senate Democratic Caucus sent a letter on Thursday to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Social Security Commissioner Andrew Saul, as cited by The Hill, which said that “to continue assisting struggling families during the COVID-19 crisis, we strongly urge your agencies to ensure that non-filers receive their stimulus payments—including additional payments for dependent children—as quickly as possible.”

The senators asked that the Treasury prolong access to the IRS non-filers tool “so that these economically vulnerable individuals can request and receive additional payments for dependent children prior to 2021.”

The urged the administration to “find another way forward that—without delaying any automatic $1,200 payments—ensures that these Social Security beneficiaries and their children quickly receive the full amount of cash assistance for which they are eligible.”

Citing computer system constraints, a Treasury spokesperson told The Hill that the deadline was necessary to prevent delays in sending out the automatic $1,200 economic impact payments to people who don’t normally file tax returns.

“More than 80 million Economic Impact Payments have already been delivered to the nation’s taxpayers,” the IRS said on April 18, adding, “More payments are on their way.”

In an earlier statement, the IRS said most people would be getting economic impact payments automatically.

“Eligible taxpayers who filed tax returns for 2019 or 2018 will receive the payments automatically. Automatic payments will also be sent in the near future to those people receiving Social Security retirement, survivors, disability (SDDI), or survivor benefits and Railroad Retirement benefits,” the agency said.

For people who need assistance, the IRS has a tax help service on that operates 24/7, though its live telephone assistance is currently down due to the outbreak of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, commonly known as the novel coronavirus.