SSDI and stimulus checks: Everything we know right now

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If you are part of the Social Security Disability Insurance program, you’ll likely be eligible for a second stimulus check, if a bill passes.

Angela Lang/CNET

If you’re part of the Social Security Disability Insurance program, you were eligible to receive a $1,200 stimulus check from the IRS after the CARES Act was passed in March. But as Congress continues to negotiate another stimulus relief package and the potential second stimulus check that could come with it, you may have a lot of questions, including if you’d qualify for another payment, how it would arrive, and what to do if you’re still owed money for yourself .

Here’s everything we know right now about SSDI recipients and stimulus payments, including how to track down a missing payment, and how to file a request for a payment for an eligible dependent. This story updates frequently.

Will I qualify for a second stimulus check if I receive SSDI?

We won’t know exactly who will qualify for a second stimulus payment until a bill is finalized. But based on the proposed bills we’ve seen so far, we expect qualifications to largely remain the same as they were in the CARES Act. That means those who are part of the SSDI program would qualify for another check, as they did in the first round, so long as you have a Social Security number and are not claimed as a dependent on someone else’s tax return.

How would my stimulus payment arrive if I’m on SSDI?

SSDI recipients didn’t receive their first payments through their Direct Express card, though this is usually what the government uses to distribute federal benefits. Instead, the payment arrived through a non-Direct Express bank account, or through a paper check if you don’t have your bank account information on file with the IRS. It’s likely that if a second check is approved, it would arrive the same way the first one did, but possibly faster, as the IRS already has the payment system set up. 

What if I didn’t file a tax return in 2018 or 2019? 

If you receive federal benefits including SSDI, you were not required to file a federal income tax return in 2018 or 2019. Under the CARES Act, you were still eligible to receive a stimulus check, and should have received one automatically (no need to file a simple tax return, as the IRS has originally said).

What if I still haven’t received a first-round stimulus check for myself? 

If you’re on SSDI but still haven’t gotten a stimulus check from the first round, the IRS may still need more information about your eligibility. To get your money, you need to provide your information to the IRS using its nonfilers tool by Oct. 15

The agency will ask for your name, mailing address, date of birth, Society Security number, bank account number (if you have one), identity protection personal identification number (IP PIN), driver’s license or state-issued ID (if you have one) . You can submit this information online using the nonfilers tool. (Important caveat: If you did file a 2019 tax refund, even if you weren’t required to do so, don’t use this tool — it’ll just slow down the processing of your return and any refund.)

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What if I didn’t get a first stimulus payment for my dependents?

Under the CARES Act, qualified people with dependents age 16 or younger were eligible for up to $500 per dependent. But not everyone with eligible dependents actually received that extra money. So the IRS has reopened registration for people who receive SSDI or other government benefits, and who did not receive $500 per child earlier this year when they got their own stimulus payment. But there’s a deadline: You have to enter your information in the IRS nonfilers tool by Sept. 30 to receive a catch-up payment of $500 per child. 

To get that money, if you had a qualifying dependent in 2019, use the nonfilers tool to enter their name, Social Security number of Adoption Taxpayer Identification number, and their relationship to you or your spouse. (Find out who counts as a qualifying dependent in terms of stimulus payments and how old you have to be to count as an adult and recieve your own stimulus check.)

You can only use the nonfilers tool if you have not done so already to provide information about your qualifying child, or if you haven’t filed your 2018 or 2019 tax return.

If you miss the Sept. 30 deadline, you’ll need to claim the payment as a credit on your 2020 federal income tax return next year. 

How to use the nonfilers tool to get your stimulus check

Here’s what to expect when you use the IRS nonfilers tool, for yourself or your dependents: Create an account with your email address and phone number, along with a user ID and password. You’ll be directed to a screen where you’ll input your filing status (Single or Married filing jointly) and personal information. There’s a box to check if someone else can claim you or your spouse as a dependent. Then you can enter your bank information (if you’d rather not or don’t have a bank, the IRS will send you a check in the mail). You’ll be taken to another screen to enter more personal information to verify your identity. 

After you fill out the forms, you’ll get an email from Customer Service at Free File Fillable Forms acknowledging that you’ve successfully submitted your information, or letting you know there is a problem, and how to correct it. The site uses your information to automatically complete a Form 1040 and send it to the IRS to compute and send you a payment.

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If you’re missing stimulus money for yourself or your dependents, use the online IRS nonfilers tool to make sure you get it.

Angela Lang/CNET

When will my own missing payment arrive?

If your payment didn’t come in the first round but you register with the nonfilers tool by Oct. 15, the IRS says you’ll receive the payment by the end of 2020. 

To track the status of your payment, use the IRS Get My Payment tool

When will my missing payment for dependents arrive? 

If you filled out the nonfilers tool from May 5 through Aug. 15, the IRS will automatically issue the catch-up payment for your dependents in October. If you received your original EIP by direct deposit, you’ll get the catch-up payment the same way. Others will get it in the mail. 

If you file for your missing dependent money between now and Sept. 30, the payment should arrive by the end of 2020, in the same way that you received your first payment (likely direct deposit or by mail).

To check the status of your or your dependent’s payment, use the IRS Get My Payment tool to track it. You should also get a notice in the mail letting you know that an additional $500 per qualifying child has been issued. 

What if I’m in the SSDI program, but live outside of the US?

If you are a Social Security beneficiary with a foreign address, whose monthly benefit is deposited into a foreign bank account, you’ll receive your stimulus payment by a check in the mail (the IRS doesn’t deposit money into foreign banks). The IRS planned to start sending those checks at the end of July. If you live abroad but receive your monthly benefits through a US bank, you should have received your payment by direct deposit to that account by the end of July as well. 

Again, you can use the Get My Payment tool to track your payment. 

For more, find out if you’re qualified for a second stimulus check and when you can expect a second stimulus check. If you still haven’t gotten a first stimulus check, you can track the status of your stimulus check, learn how to report your missing check to the IRS and find possible reasons why your stimulus check still hasn’t arrived

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