On Friday, April 3, House Ways and Means Worker and Family Support Subcommittee Chairman Danny K. Davis (IL-07), Social Security Subcommittee Chairman John B. Larson (CT-01), Trade Subcommittee Chairman Earl Blumenauer (OR-03), and Ways and Means Members Reps. Bradley S. Schneider (IL-10) and Brian Higgins (NY-26) led a letter to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Internal Revenue Services Commissioner Charles Rettig urging the IRS to provide automatic COVID-19 relief payments to vulnerable elderly and disabled individuals receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
“There are approximately 8 million SSI recipients,” Davis said. “They all have extremely limited financial means. Given that they experience substantial physical health, mental health, and access barriers, requiring these individuals to file even a simplified tax return in effect acts as a denial of economic impact relief. I applaud the secretary’s and commissioner’s decision to send CARES Act economic impact payments automatically to Social Security beneficiaries, and I hope they will do the same for the very vulnerable and poor elderly and disabled SSI recipients.”
“Supplemental Security Income beneficiaries are some of our most vulnerable neighbors. They shouldn’t have to wait to receive their economic impact payments, just because they don’t file tax returns. The IRS has promised to pay Social Security beneficiaries automatically, they should do the same for SSI beneficiaries,” Larson said.
Blumenauer said, “People in our communities are hurting now. Our committee ensured that Social Security beneficiaries receive their checks without the obstacle of filing a tax return, but we can’t stop there. Supplemental Security Income beneficiaries, including older Americans and people with disabilities, should have that same access. We are in this together.”
“The CARES Act was intended to get assistance to Americans who need our help as quickly as possible,” Schneider said. “Requiring vulnerable elderly and disabled Americans dependent on Supplemental Security Income to file a new tax return is an unnecessary barrier to needed economic relief. I join my colleagues urging Secretary Mnuchin to issue new guidance, as he did for Social Security recipients, to ensure these Americans automatically receive this aid.”
Higgins said, “Life is complicated enough during this public health emergency with limited access to the people and technology that would be needed to complete additional, burdensome steps. The administration should immediately remove these hurdles and allow for low-income seniors and disabled individuals to receive relief automatically.”
Additional signers include: John Lewis, Lloyd Doggett, Mike Thompson, Ron Kind, Bill Pascrell Jr., Linda T. Sánchez, Terri A. Sewell, Suzan K. DelBene, Judy Chu, Gwen S. Moore, Daniel T. Kildee, Brendan F. Boyle, Donald S. Beyer Jr., Dwight Evans, Thomas R. Suozzi, Jimmy Panetta, Stephanie Murphy, Jimmy Gomez and Steven Horsford.
The full letter can be viewed here.