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The Social Security Administration has sent information to the IRS that will help clear the way for almost 30 million people to receive their $1,400 stimulus checks, lawmakers said on Thursday.
The development comes after Democratic leaders on the House Ways and Means Committee gave the agency 24 hours to turn over the payment information so that the IRS could process the payments.
In a statement, the lawmakers, led by House Ways and Means Committee Chair Richard Neal, D-Mass., blamed Social Security Commissioner Andrew Saul for the delays, which “defied congressional intent and imposed needless anxiety and pain on taxpayers.”
In response, Saul released a statement on Thursday strongly denying those claims.
Saul said the Social Security Administration was initially limited in how much it could do based on how its role is defined by the Social Security Act and the terms outlined in the American Rescue Plan Act.
“Once we were free to move forward, we aggressively worked with Treasury and IRS to issue payments,” Saul said.
The Social Security Administration said it began working with the IRS on March 17 to get those files to them.
As of 8:48 a.m. this morning, the necessary files were transferred to the IRS, thus allowing the payments to make their way to beneficiaries.
The information delivered to the tax agency this morning was more than a week earlier than similar files were for the first economic impact payments, according to Saul.
The updates from the Social Security Administration help ensure payments are delivered to the right bank accounts and addresses. The agency also deleted individuals who are now deceased.
“Social Security employees have literally worked day and night with IRS staff to ensure that the electronic files of Social Security and SSI recipients are complete, accurate, and ready to be used to issue payments,” Saul said.
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The Democratic lawmakers called for promptly sending out the outstanding $1,400 checks.
“Now the IRS needs to do its job and get these overdue payments out to suffering Americans,” the leaders stated. “Further delays will not be tolerated by this committee.”
In addition to Neal, other lawmakers calling for action included Reps. John Larson, D-Conn.; Bill Pascrell Jr., D-N.J.; and Danny K. Davis, D-Ill.
Those four leaders also sent a letter to the IRS and Social Security earlier this week urging prompt action to get necessary payments to all federal beneficiaries. In addition to Social Security, that includes those who receive checks from Supplemental Security Income, Veterans Affairs and the Railroad Retirement Board.
The news comes as the Treasury Department, IRS and Bureau of the Fiscal Service announced on Wednesday that a total of 127 million third stimulus checks, amounting to $325 billion, have been deployed to date.
Some federal beneficiaries who have their information already on record, either through 2019 or 2020 tax returns or through filling out the IRS non-filer tool last year, were included in those initial payments.
The IRS is working with other federal agencies to get updated information so that beneficiaries get their $1,400 checks quickly and automatically, the agencies said.