If you’re like a lot of people, you might be feeling overwhelmed by all of the confusing and often contradictory information about coronavirus.
Do you have to wear a mask? Disinfect food from the grocery store? Can you still talk to neighbors and family members?
Being on Social Security or SSDI/SSI just adds another layer of complexity. What does that mean for your stimulus check? Your regular payments? Who can you talk to about it?
Here at Richard I. Feingold & Associates, P.C., we receive many of the same questions from our clients. So we thought it might be helpful to put together a Q&A of the most common concerns. If you have an SSDI/SSI concern that we do not address below, please do not hesitate to reach out. We are here to help.
How Will SSDI and SSI Be Paid While Things Are Shut Down for Coronavirus?
If you receive direct deposit, your payments will continue to be credited to your account at the usual time. If you receive your payments on a Direct Express debit card, these will arrive on that card at the usual time as well.
I Got a Letter Saying My SSDI and/or SSI Benefits Would Stop Coming — What’s That About?
Unfortunately, there seems to be a scam letter going around telling people this. The letter says that the closure of SSA offices means that payments will stop coming until they open again. This is completely false. You should disregard and report the scam to the SSA. See SSA’s blog about the scam for more information.
What Do I Need to Do to Get My Economic Impact Check (Also Known as Coronavirus Check or Stimulus Check)?
The answer depends on your specific situation.
Those who get Social Security Retirement Benefits, Survivors Benefits, Disability Benefits, or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and do not have qualifying children who are below the age of 17:
Do not have to do anything to receive their check. The IRS will automatically send your $1,200 payment (or the amount for which you qualify) via paper check, Direct Express debit card, or direct deposit — however you currently get your benefits from Social Security.
Those who get Social Security Retirement Benefits, Survivors Benefits, or Disability Benefits but did not file a 2018 or 2019 tax return and have qualifying children below the age of 17 and SSI recipients who have qualifying children below the age of 17:
Will now have to file a 2020 tax return in order to get the extra $500 per qualifying child.
As of this writing, SSI recipients should still be able to claim their extra $500 per qualifying child by entering information at the IRS’s coronavirus page by May 5th.
Those who are new beneficiaries of Social Security Disability Insurance or SSI since January 1, 2020 and who did not file a 2018 or 2019 tax return:
Must enter their information at the IRS’s Non-Filers website in order to receive their payment.
Those who receive any of the above benefits, have dependent children, and use Direct Express debit cards:
Must answer all of the required questions at the IRS’s Non-Filers website if they are claiming children under the age of 17, but do not have to fill out the section on bank account information.
I Was Contacted and Told I Needed to Give Medicare Info to Get Benefits — Is This True?
Absolutely not. Sadly, this is another scam where fraudsters will attempt to get your Medicare number or other important personal information. According to the SSA, their representatives will never:
- “Call beneficiaries to ask for or to ‘verify’ Medicare numbers.
- Call to sell you anything.
- Promise you things if you give them a Medicare number.
- Visit you at your home.
- Call you to enroll you in a Medicare program over the phone, unless you called us first.”
If you would like more information, the SSA has put out a scam alert about this specific issue.
I Need to File a Claim. Can I Still Do That?
Yes, we can help you. And you do not need to visit our offices to get it done! Get in touch to learn how we can assist you in filing virtually.
Does the COVID-19 Payment Count against Me as Income?
No. Your coronavirus payment will not be considered income. Moreover, it will not be considered a resource for SSI recipients until 12 months have passed.
Can I Still Go to My Local SSA Office for Help?
Currently, you cannot get assistance from local SSA offices because they are closed due to the coronavirus. However, the SSA is offering phone hearings for those who need them, and a lot can be accomplished using SSA’s online services. Additionally, you can call their main number for assistance: 800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778)
My Hearing Was Postponed — What Do I Do?
Unfortunately, not much. The SSA says that postponed cases will be rescheduled as timely as possible and that those designated as critical will be addressed first.
Are There Other Coronavirus Resources That May Be Valuable to Me?
- Chicago’s Coronavirus Response Center
- Illinois’ Coronavirus Response Page
- CDC’s Coronavirus FAQ
- Greater Chicago Food Depository’s List of Chicago’s Food Banks
How Can I Get Free Updates Regarding the Coronavirus and Social Security?
One of the most useful things you can do is subscribe to Social Security’s email and text updates. Another option is to follow the SSA on Facebook and Twitter. Richard I. Feingold & Associates, P.C. will also regularly be updating our social accounts as information changes:
Again, if you have additional questions or concerns, our experienced legal professionals are here for you. Simply call us at (773) 989-9899 or (888) 701-8222 (toll free). This is a confusing and scary time for everyone, but together we can get through it.