Identification Number:
Originating Office:DCO OPSOS
Title:COVID-19 Second Round of Economic Impact Payments (EIP) - One Time Instruction
Type:EM - Emergency Messages
Program:All Programs
Link To Reference:See References at the end of this EM.
Retention Date: July 14, 2021

A. Purpose

This message provides general information for employees to answer questions from the public about the second round of Economic Impact Payments (EIP) for beneficiaries, recipients, and representative payees. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) began issuing payments on December 29, 2020.

B. Background

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act (P.L. 116-136), enacted in April 2020, provided for emergency relief in response to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, including special tax rebates called Economic Impact Payments (EIPs) to eligible individuals. A subsequent law, the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (P.L. 116-260), enacted in December 2020, authorized a second EIP. The amount of the first EIPs was up to $1,200 per adult, and an additional amount up to $500 for each qualifying child. The amount of the EIPs in the second round is up to $600 per adult and up to $600 per qualifying child.

C. Action

Employees should not attempt to answer specific questions about EIPs. Refer callers inquiring about the EIP to the IRS website,

D. EIP Information

1. General Information

      • The IRS began issuing EIPs electronically on December 29, 2020 to qualifying individuals based on the most recent data in the IRS systems.
      • SSA will not count the EIP as income or as a resource for 12 months for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) purposes.
      • For most individuals, there is no action required to receive this EIP. Payments are automatic for most eligible taxpayers who filed a 2019 tax return, those who receive Social Security Retirement, Survivor or Disability benefits (SSDI), Railroad Retirement benefits, and SSI, as well as Veterans Affairs beneficiaries that do not normally file a tax return. Payments are also automatic for most individuals that successfully registered for the first payment online at using the agency’s Non-Filers tool by November 21, 2020, or who submitted a simplified tax return that has been processed by the IRS.
      • Unless there has been a change made in the IRS systems, the second EIP payment may be made in the same manner as the first payment.
      • Some EIPs will be paid on a prepaid debit card. This EIP debit card is not the same as the Direct Express debit card to which many beneficiaries receive their monthly Social Security or SSI benefit.
      • If the caller received their first EIP on an EIP debit card, they may receive either a new debit card or a check. IRS will not add funds to the same EIP debit card that was sent to distribute the first payments.
      • Social Security beneficiaries who received the first payment via Direct Express, may receive this second payment the same way.
      • Those who are eligible but do not receive the payment, or receive less than expected, may claim it by filing a 2020 tax return in 2021.

Checking Status of an EIP
      • Callers can check the status of his or her EIP by visiting the IRS’s Get My Payment tool, available at
      • The person will need to input their SSN or Tax ID Number, Date of Birth, Street Address, and Zip Code.
      • This information is required to check the status of the payment.

Referring Callers to the IRS for EIP Help
      • We are encouraging callers with EIP questions to visit the IRS website, More information is also available at
      • Individuals that received a payment should receive a letter approximately 15 days after receipt of their EIP. This letter provides a number for individuals to call with questions regarding their EIP.
      • The IRS is not offering online chat or click to chat options.

4. Receiving EIPs in Foreign Countries

      • Living abroad does not disqualify a person from receiving an EIP if they are otherwise entitled to receive an EIP under the law. Refer the caller to

5. What is a “Qualifying Child”?

    The IRS lists rules for the qualifying child applicable to the Child Tax Credit. The IRS guidance says a qualifying child is someone who:
      • Is your son, daughter, stepchild, eligible foster child, brother, sister, stepbrother, stepsister, half-brother, half-sister, or a descendant of any of them (e.g., your grandchild, niece, or nephew).
      • Was under age 17 at the end of 2019.
      • Did not provide over half of his or her own support for 2019.
      • Lived with you for more than half of 2019.
      • Is claimed as a dependent on your return.
      • Does not file a joint return for the year (or files it only to claim a refund of withheld income tax or estimated tax paid).
      • Was a U.S. citizen, U.S. national, or U.S. resident alien.
      • Has a valid Social Security Number or an Adoption Taxpayer Identification Number (ATIN).

6. Handling Inquiries from Individuals with a Representative Payee
      • In certain situations, the IRS may deposit a beneficiary’s EIP into an account managed by the representative payee.
      • If a representative payee receives the EIP for a beneficiary, the EIP belongs to the beneficiary. The round two EIP must be used for the current and future needs of the beneficiary (whereas a representative payee could either provide a round one EIP to the beneficiary or use it for the beneficiary’s current and future needs).
      • The representative payee may receive the second EIP payment in the same way as the first payment, by direct deposit to the same account, Direct Express card, EIP card, or check.
      • Representative payees are not required to account for the EIP when they complete their annual accounting form, because this is not a Social Security benefit.
      • If the representative payee reports the EIP by writing the amount on the Representative Payee Report form, in either REMARKS or elsewhere, an exception will generate because of the extraneous marks on the form. Reviewers may disregard this exception and are not required to re-contact the representative payee as long as no other exception conditions exist.
      • The IRS can impose civil monetary penalties on representative payees who misuse a beneficiary’s EIP. However, because EIPs are not Social Security benefits, our procedures for misuse of benefits do not apply to the EIP, and SSA does not investigate EIP misuse. Nonetheless, if we receive an allegation that the EIP was not used on behalf of the beneficiary, we may decide to investigate for possible misuse of the beneficiary’s Social Security or SSI benefit payments. We may also determine the representative payee is no longer suitable and appoint a new representative payee.
            § See GN 00604.001 for information regarding misuse of benefits. See GN 00504.100 for information on determining the need for a successor representative payee.

7. Caller Reports Suspicious Letter, Text, Call or Email

    • Remind callers that if they receive a letter, text, call or email they believe to be suspicious, about an alleged problem with their Social Security number, account, or payments, to hang up or not respond. Encourage them to report Social Security scams using our dedicated online form, at

Direct all program-related and technical questions to your RO support staff or PC OA staff. RO support staff or PC OA staff may refer questions or problems to their Central Office contacts.


EM-20010 SEN REV 6 - Disaster Procedures – Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Pandemic – One Time Instruction

PolicyNet Hot Topics - COVID-19 Instructions

GN 00604.001 Misuse of Benefits

GN 00504.100 Determining the Need for a Successor Payee - SSA Information about 1st EIP - SSA Information about 2nd EIP

IRS News Release December 29, 2020

EM-21001 - COVID-19 Second Round of Economic Impact Payments (EIP) - One Time Instruction - 01/14/2021