Upon receiving guidance from the Treasury Department on Monday that the IRS would require Social Security beneficiaries to file a simplified tax return to receive their COVID-19 direct payments, Rep. Terri Sewell (AL-07) used her position as the Vice Chair of the Ways and Means Committee to call on Treasury to reverse their decision and ensure that seniors do not need to jump through unnecessary hoops to receive their COVID-19 payments.
Following Sewell’s request, Treasury announced late Wednesday that they would reverse their decision, pledging that Social Security beneficiaries will automatically receive COVID-19 direct payments and will not have to file a simplified tax return to access those funds.
From Rep. Sewell, Vice Chair of the Ways and Means Committee:
“This is a huge win for the seniors in our district, especially those who rely on Social Security as their only form of income in retirement. I worked directly with Speaker Pelosi and Chairman Neal in calling on the Trump Administration to make this critical change.”
“Many of these beneficiaries do not have access to broadband internet and are sheltering in place due to this public health crisis, making all the more important that they automatically receive their coronavirus direct payment as quickly as possible.
“While I am pleased the Administration has pledged to ensure Social Security beneficiaries automatically receive their fair share, I am continuing to work to confirm this decision also applies to SSI beneficiaries and veterans receiving pensions. This is simply a matter of equity.”
From Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal (MA-01):
“Congresswoman Sewell fiercely advocated for Treasury to right this wrong. She did a tremendous job standing up for her constituents and ensuring they’ll receive the relief they need during this crisis. I’m proud she’s a member of the Ways and Means Committee and a fighter for vulnerable folks in Alabama and across our nation.”
Yesterday, Sewell and her colleaguessent a letter urging the Treasury Department to reverse their guidance stating that seniors and other beneficiaries would half to file tax returns to receive payments. Sewell also spoke at length with Treasury and House leadership this week on behalf of the more than 157,000 Old-Age (retirement), Survivors, and Disability Insurance recipients living in Alabama’s 7th Congressional District, whose annual average payment is about $14,000, and would be adversely affected by having to file additional documents to receive their direct payments.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Wednesday that direct deposits should begin by April 17 for those who have banking information on file with the IRS, followed by checks in the mail.