If you are between the ages of 50 and 65 years and suffer from a disability that prevents you from working, you may be eligible for Social Security Disability benefits
Will I Get a Coronavirus Stimulus Check if I'm Collecting Disability Benefits?
If you are currently receiving Social Security Disability Insurance benefits, you may be wondering whether you qualify for the stimulus checks appropriated in the $900 billion legislation recently passed by Congress. This massive Coronavirus relief bill passed in both the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate on December 21, 2020. Though, as of the date of this post, the President has yet to officially sign the bill into law.
If the bill is officially enacted, many Americans should expect to receive a check from the federal government for $600 per person. The legislation stipulates that, in general, individuals currently receiving disability benefits are eligible for the Coronavirus relief checks. If you filed your federal taxes jointly, there is a chance you will receive a $1,200 check. In addition, if you have a child under the age of 17, you will likely receive an extra $600 check.
Impact of the Coronavirus Stimulus Check on Your Eligibility for Disability Benefits
If you are concerned that receiving a stimulus check will hurt your chances of receiving social security disability benefits, do not fret. The process of assessing eligibility for disability benefits is not dependent upon on your income or assets. Generally, to qualify for Social Security disability benefits, you need to have worked in an area of employment covered by Social Security and received a diagnosis for a medical condition that has left you disabled and unable to work.
Eligibility Requirements to Receive a Coronavirus Relief Stimulus Check
As mentioned earlier, recipients of disability benefits are not excluded from receiving the stimulus checks, but there are specific requirements that must be met in order to qualify for these funds. First, you must have a valid Social Security number. Second, you must not be claimed as a dependent on another individual’s tax return. Third, you cannot be incarcerated. Fourth, your income will dictate how much you receive. For example, only individuals making less than $75,000 are eligible to receive the full $600. The government typically uses recent tax filings to determine an individual’s income in most cases.
Change in Income Can Affect How Much Stimulus Money You Receive
Many Americans lost their jobs or had their hours reduced dramatically, which is likely going to impact their total income for tax year 2020. This is noteworthy because your 2019 tax return may not be reflective of your current income status. For example, someone may have made $125,000 during tax year 2019, but suddenly lost their job in early April 2020 causing their total income for 2020 to take a nosedive. Unfortunately, if the IRS uses the 2019 tax return, this individual might be disqualified from receiving a COVID-19 stimulus check or will receive a greatly reduced amount. If you find yourself in this situation, make sure to file your 2020 tax return and pursue a stimulus payment rebate in 2021.
Impact of Not Filing a Tax Return on Your Ability to Receive a Stimulus Check
If your only source of income is federal disability benefits, there is a good chance you did not file a personal income tax return in recent years. This is because individuals are not required to file typical tax returns when their income levels are below a specific threshold and/or rely exclusively on federal benefits. According to the CARES Act (i.e. the first Coronavirus relief package), individuals who relied exclusively on disability benefits would still be able to get a stimulus check, even if they did not file a tax return in recent years.
Recipients of Disability Benefits Who Have Other Sources of Income
If you receive social security disability benefits and other sources of income that bumps your total income over $75,000, expect a reduction in the amount you receive via a Coronavirus stimulus check. If you are married and filed a joint tax return, expect a similar reduction in the amount of the stimulus check if you and your spouse’s income exceed $150,000.
The stimulus payments are steadily reduced for individuals and married couples with incomes in excess of $75,000 (for individuals) or $150,000 (for married couples). In addition, the stimulus payments are phased out entirely for individuals earning in excess of $87,000 and married couples who earned in excess of $174,000.
The income thresholds in the new legislation are much stricter and less generous in comparison to the income thresholds used pursuant to the CARES Act. In the first Coronavirus relief legislation, individuals earning less than $99,000 remained eligible to receive a stimulus check and married couples earning less than $198,000 were able to get a stimulus check.
The Income That Matters to the IRS in Determining the Check Amount
The IRS generally utilizes the “adjusted gross income” of an individual or married couple to determine the amount to be disbursed via a new stimulus check.
How Stimulus Checks Will Be Distributed to Disability Benefit Recipients
Social Security disability benefit recipients who were not required to submit a federal income tax return in 2018 or 2019 will receive the stimulus check automatically based on data contained within a “1099” benefit statement. This means no additional documentation will be required for most disability benefit recipients in order to receive the stimulus payment. The payment could very well be directly deposited into your account.
The automatic disbursement was not the original plan for these stimulus checks. In fact, the IRS initially planned to require individuals, including those who rely exclusively on disability benefit income, to complete a form to receive a stimulus check. However, after public pressure, the IRS agreed to simply use the “1099” benefit statements to retrieve the information needed to send out the stimulus payments.
If you are curious about the status of your stimulus check, take a moment to visit the “Get My Payment” page maintained by the IRS.
Have Questions About Your Eligibility for Social Security Disability Benefits? Take Action Today
Properly assessing the impact of a COVID-19 stimulus check in your eligibility for social security disability benefits assumes you are receiving those benefits. If you have not yet applied for disability benefits, now is the time for action. Determine your eligibility for disability benefits by filling out our free evaluation form.