Identification Number:
EM 21020 REV
Intended Audience:All RCs/ARCs/ADs/FOs/
TSCs/WSUs/PSCs/OCO/OCO-CSTs/ODD/DPU/DPB
/CFDPS/OHO/DDS
Originating Office:DCBFM OFPO
Title:Economic Impact Payments (EIP) as part of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021- One Time Instruction
Type:EM - Emergency Messages
Program:All Programs
Link To Reference:See references at the end of this message
 
Retention Date: September 7, 2021

Revision Statement: EM 21020 REV replaces EM 21001 and EM 21020.

Updates:
EM 21001 and EM 21020s' contents are merged into this updated EM.
Subsection B includes information regarding representative payees and the Direct Express Debit Card.
Subsection C through H added to provide additional information for EIP inquiries.

A. Purpose

This message provides general information for employees to answer questions from the public about 2021 Economic Impact Payments (EIP) for beneficiaries, recipients, and representative payees. Beginning immediately, refer callers inquiring about the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) EIP to the IRS website, www.irs.gov/eip. For individuals who received an EIP and have questions about their payment, they may call TEL: 1-800-919-9835 where they may speak to an IRS live agent. SSA also has more information on SSA’s website.

B. Background

The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (Act) was enacted on March 11, 2021. Section 9601 of the Act includes the Department of the Treasury (Treasury) issuing economic recovery payments for most individuals. SSA is not directly involved in issuing of these payments. The recovery rebate will be a one-time payment of $1,400 per individual, or $2,800 for couples filing joint tax returns, plus $1,400 for any age qualified dependent as long as they meet IRS’ income eligibility requirements. As with previous EIPs, SSA will not count the EIP as income or as a resource for 12 months for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) purposes.

The full amount of the recovery rebate available is for individuals who reported $75,000 or less in adjusted gross income on their 2019 or 2020 tax return, heads of household who reported $112,500, and couples filing jointly who earned $150,000.

The Department of the Treasury (Treasury) will issue the recovery rebate using the address or electronic payment information from individual’s tax return for 2020 or 2019. If a person did not file a tax return for 2020 or 2019, SSA shared data with Treasury for Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance (OASDI) beneficiaries and SSI recipients to automatically issue an EIP, if eligible. Eligible individuals who did not receive a recovery rebate payment in 2019 and 2020 can receive the rebate in 2021 when they file a return for tax year 2020. Individuals have until October 15, 2021 to request IRS issue an EIP.

Individuals with a U.S. Address

Eligible OASDI beneficiaries and SSI recipients with a U.S. address, who receive their SSA or SSI payment by direct deposit and who did not file a 2019 or 2020 tax return, will automatically receive their $1,400 EIP electronically on or about April 7, 2021. This applies regardless if the individual has a representative payee. This electronic payment delivery also applies to individuals that receive their benefits on the Direct Express debit card. They will receive their EIP on the Direct Express card. Paper check EIPs, for beneficiaries who receive their monthly OASDI or SSI payment in the mail, will be mailed beginning April 9, 2021.

Individuals with a Foreign Address

Eligible OASDI beneficiaries and SSI recipients with a foreign address (not a U.S. address), who receive their SSA or SSI payment by direct deposit and who did not file a 2019 or 2020 tax return, will automatically receive their $1,400 EIP electronically on or about April 21, 2021. This applies regardless if the individual has representative payee. This electronic payment delivery also applies to individuals that receive their benefits on the Direct Express debit card. They will receive their EIP on the Direct Express debit card. Paper check EIPs will be mailed beginning April 23, 2021 for beneficiaries who receive their monthly OASDI or SSI payment in the mail. Per the Act, Treasury is required to issue EIPs as quickly as possible after enactment.

C. 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 www.irs.gov.
  • The person must 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.

D. Referring Callers to the IRS for EIP Help

We are encouraging callers with EIP questions to visit the IRS website, www.irs.gov/eip. More information is also available at www.irs.gov/coronavirus.

E. 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 www.irs.gov/eip.

F. What is a “Qualified Dependent”?

We are encouraging callers with EIP questions to visit the IRS website, www.irs.gov/eip.

G. 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 EIP must be used for the current and future needs of the beneficiary.
  • The representative payee may receive the EIP payment by direct deposit to the same account, Direct Express card, or check.
  • Representative payees are not required to account for the EIP when they complete their annual accounting form, because this is not an OASDI 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 OASDI 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 OASDI or SSI benefit payments. We may also determine the representative payee is no longer suitable and appoint a new representative payee.

For information regarding misuse of benefits, see GN 00604.001.

For information on determining the need for a successor representative payee, see GN 00504.100.

H. 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 https://oig.ssa.gov.


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.

References

GN 00604.001 Misuse of Benefits

GN 00504.100 Determining the Need for a Successor Payee

SSA’s EIP Updates

IRS.gov/eip

IRS.gov/GetMyPayment

IRS.gov/Coronavirus


EM 21020 REV - Economic Impact Payments (EIP) as part of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021- One Time Instruction - 4/8/2021