Social Security Recipients to Get Delayed Third Stimulus Checks After SSA Sends Data to IRS

The failure to send information sooner delayed stimulus payments for nearly 30 million Social Security and Supplemental Security Income beneficiaries.

picture of elderly couple staring at an hourglass
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Nearly 30 million people who receive Social Security or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits have been waiting to get a third stimulus check because the Social Security Administration failed to send critical information to the IRS. Fortunately, that wait should come to an end soon, now that the SSA has finally forwarded the necessary data to the tax agency.

It took a letter from four Congressmen (opens in new tab) to get the SSA to send the requested information, which they did the day after the letter was sent. However, according to the Congressmen, the necessary payment files arrived a month after the IRS requested them. That delay held up payments to millions of Americans.

The IRS has already sent approximately 127 million third-round stimulus payments worth about $325 billion over the past two weeks. More payments will be sent on a weekly basis going forward. So, hopefully, payments to the Social Security and SSI recipients who have been waiting can be sent in one of the next few batches.

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Amount of Your Third Stimulus Check

Every eligible American will receive a $1,400 third stimulus check "base amount." The base amount jumps to $2,800 for married couples filing a joint tax return. You also get an extra $1,400 for each dependent in your family (regardless of the dependent's age).

Not everyone will receive the full amount, though. As with the first two stimulus payments, third-round stimulus checks will be reduced – potentially to zero – for people reporting an adjusted gross income (AGI) above a certain amount on their latest tax return. If you filed your most recent tax return as a single filer, your third stimulus check will be phased-out if your AGI is $75,000 or more. That threshold jumps to $112,500 for head-of-household filers, and to $150,000 for married couples filing a joint return. Third-round stimulus checks will be completely phased out for single filers with an AGI above $80,000, head-of-household filers with an AGI over $120,000, and joint filers with an AGI exceeding $160,000.

You can use our handy Third Stimulus Check Calculator (opens in new tab) to get a customized estimated payment amount. All you have to do is answer three easy questions.

Why Does the IRS Need Data From the SSA

Third-round stimulus checks are generally based on information taken from 2019 or 2020 tax returns. However, since many Social Security and SSI recipients don't have to file a tax return every year, the IRS tries get the information it needs for these non-filers from another source – like the SSA. But if the SSA doesn't provide the information, the IRS can't send out payments to these people.

Even though the SSA finally sent the requested files, Social Security or SSI recipients who have dependents might not get all the money their entitled to in their stimulus payment. That's because the IRS won't necessarily know anything about the dependents, which means they can't send the additional $1,400-per-dependent payment authorized by the new stimulus law.

However, if you don't get the extra $1,400 for a dependent now, you won't lose out on the money — you'll just have to wait until next year to claim it. Third-round stimulus checks that will be sent now are really just advance payments of the 2021 Recovery Rebate tax credit. So, if the IRS doesn't send you a third stimulus check – or doesn't send you the full amount – you can claim the credit and get a refund or reduction of the tax you owe when you file a 2021 tax return next year (you can file a return just to claim the payment).

How to Track the Status of Your Third Stimulus Check

The IRS's online "Get My Payment" tool (opens in new tab) will let you know when your third stimulus payment is expected to arrive. Actually, it does more than just that. It also lets you:

  • Check the status of your stimulus payment;
  • Confirm your payment type (paper check or direct deposit); and
  • Get a projected direct deposit or paper check delivery date (or find out if a payment hasn't been scheduled).

For more information about the tool, see Where's My Stimulus Check? Use the IRS's "Get My Payment" Tool to Get an Answer.

Seniors Living with Adult Children

Will seniors who live with an adult child get a stimulus check? The answer depends on whether the senior parent is claimed as a dependent on the adult child's tax return. If the parent is claimed as a dependent, then he or she won't get a stimulus check. That's because anyone who can be claimed as a dependent on someone else's tax return doesn't qualify for a third stimulus check.

However, an adult child supporting an elderly parent will get the extra $1,400 added on to his or her third stimulus check if the parent is a dependent. As mentioned earlier, the age of the dependent doesn't matter for third-round stimulus checks, which is different than for first- and second-round stimulus payments.

For more information about third-round stimulus checks, see Your Third Stimulus Check: How Much? When? And Other FAQs.

Rocky Mengle
Senior Tax Editor, Kiplinger.com

Rocky is a Senior Tax Editor for Kiplinger with more than 20 years of experience covering federal and state tax developments. Before coming to Kiplinger, he worked for Wolters Kluwer Tax & Accounting and Kleinrock Publishing, where he provided breaking news and guidance for CPAs, tax attorneys, and other tax professionals. He has also been quoted as an expert by USA Today, Forbes, U.S. News & World Report, Reuters, Accounting Today, and other media outlets. Rocky has a law degree from the University of Connecticut and a B.A. in History from Salisbury University.