What is the economic impact payment?
In March 2020 Congress passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which provides economic impact payments, or stimulus payments to individuals and families in the United States of America.
I receive Social Security Administration (SSA) benefits; will I receive a stimulus payment?
Yes. Individuals who receive Social Security benefits, including SSI and SSDI, are eligible to receive stimulus payments under the CARES Act.
How will I receive my stimulus payment?
You will receive your stimulus payment the same way you receive your monthly SSA benefits.
- If your regular monthly SSA Funds are directly deposited into a bank account, your stimulus payment will be deposited into that same account.
- If SSA funds are deposited into a representative payee account, the stimulus payment will be deposited into that same account.
- If you receive a paper check for your monthly SSA benefit, you will receive your stimulus payment in a paper check payment.
I am a rep payee and I received a stimulus payment on someone's behalf. How should this money be used?
The stimulus payment belongs to the Social Security or SSI beneficiary. It is not a Social Security or SSI benefit. The Social Security Administration published guidance about economic impact payments (EIP), writing “A representative payee should discuss the EIP with the beneficiary. If the beneficiary wants to use the EIP independently, the representative payee should provide the EIP to the beneficiary. If the beneficiary asks the representative payee for assistance in using the EIP in a specific manner or saving it, the representative payee can provide that assistance outside the role of a representative payee”.
The stimulus payment is not a Social Security benefit. If you have a representative payee, they cannot limit or restrict your access to your stimulus payment. According to the SSA, “There are limits to what a Social Security payee is authorized to do. We (SSA) appoint a payee to manage social security and SSI benefits only. Being a representative payee does NOT give you authority to manage a beneficiary’s non-social security income”. For more information: https://www.ssa.gov/payee/NewGuide/toc.htm#Limits_Payee
The document COVID-19 Stimulus Payment Ledger (PDF) is a resource that payees may find helpful in verifying that stimulus funds are disbursed to each resident per their request. This is not an SSA rep payee requirement, nor is this an SSA document, only a resource for consideration. For more information, please visit https://www.ssa.gov/coronavirus/
How will the stimulus payment affect my monthly SSDI benefits?
The stimulus payment does not count as income; therefore, it will not impact the amount of monthly benefits you receive.
How will the stimulus payment affect my SSI benefits?
The stimulus payment does not count as income and therefore it will not impact your monthly SSI benefit amount. However, the funds will be counted toward resource limits 12 months after is has been received.
Will the stimulus payment affect my MaineCare or the cost of my Room & Board?
No. Stimulus checks are not counted in MaineCare eligibility determinations, including the calculation of cost of care for residential and nursing facilities. Receiving a stimulus check should not prompt an increase in room and board cost as the funds are intended to directly benefit the individual who receive the payments. For more information: https://www.maine.gov/dhhs/oads/docs/covid-19/Guidance-on-Protecting-Peoples-Economic-Impact-Payments.pdf
Where can I find additional information and guidance?
- Social Security Administration - Q&A on Economic Impact Payments: https://www.ssa.gov/coronavirus/
- Maine Dept. of Health of Human Services – “Guidance on Protecting People’s Economic Impact Payments: https://www.maine.gov/dhhs/oads/docs/covid-19/Guidance-on-Protecting-Peoples-Economic-Impact-Payments.pdf
- IRS Information on Economic Impact Payments: https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus-tax-relief-and-economic-impact-payments
- Additional guidance for Representative Payees can be found from the SSA at https://www.ssa.gov/payee/NewGuide/toc.htm#Role_Payee