KEY POINTS

  • Lawmakers say the Social Security Administration caused the delays in the distribution of $1,400 checks
  • Many federal beneficiaries have yet to receive their payments
  • The SSA is expected to send the requested payment information to the IRS on Thursday

House Democrats on Wednesday pointed to the Social Security Administration (SSA) as the reason why some federal beneficiaries have yet to receive their stimulus payments as part of President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan. 

“We demand that you immediately provide the IRS with this information by tomorrow,” House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal (D-Mass.) and Reps. Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.), John Larson (D-Conn.) and Danny K. Davis (D-Ill.) wrote in a letter to SSA Commissioner Andrew Saul on Wednesday. 

The lawmakers said the IRS had requested payment files needed to issue the $1,400 payments to nearly 30 million federal beneficiaries approximately two weeks before Biden signed the new $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package on March 11. 

“The SSA has to get the damn files to the IRS. They should have had it there yesterday so we can get these payments out. They should have got it last week. These are some of our most vulnerable neighbors,” Pascrell told The Hill. “They're the ones that are getting shafted because government agencies are not doing what they're supposed to do.”

The agency responded hours later, saying they would send the final files to the IRS by Thursday. 

A spokesperson for the SSA said that the agency was waiting for authorization before sending the requested payment files. The agency also needed to test a new system. 

“Social Security staff is working day and night with Treasury and IRS representatives to ensure that the electronic file of Social Security and SSI recipients is complete, accurate, and ready to be used to issue payments,” spokesperson Mark Hinkle said. 

The Wednesday letter to the SSA came after senior members of the House Ways and Means Committee on Monday wrote a letter addressed to the Internal Revenue Services and the SSA to demand a timeline for the economic stimulus payments as some federal beneficiaries have yet to receive their money two weeks after distribution. 

Americans who receive Social Security, Supplemental Security Income, Railroad Retirement Board or Veterans Affairs benefits are affected by the delay. 

Last week, the IRS said it had delivered 90 million payments during its distribution of the first batch. The agency began distributing another batch of checks on March 24. 

US President Joe Biden signed a $1.9 trillion stimulus bill that the majority of Americans say they would rather use to pay off debts or invest than spend US President Joe Biden signed a $1.9 trillion stimulus bill that the majority of Americans say they would rather use to pay off debts or invest than spend Photo: AFP / Eric BARADAT