Treasury reverses course, says Social Security recipients don’t have to file tax returns for direct cash assistance

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Sen. Maggie Hassan. FILE Photo

WASHINGTON, D.C.  – Following calls from Senators Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), and colleagues, the U.S. Treasury Department announced Wednesday night that Social Security recipients will automatically receive direct cash assistance included in the CARES Act without having to file tax returns.

Earlier today, Senators Hassan and Brown led a group of 41 colleagues in raising alarms over guidance that the IRS issued earlier this week that said that Social Security beneficiaries would need to file tax returns in order to receive direct cash payments. This directly contradicted Congressional intent in drafting the CARES Act, which had made clear that the Treasury Department had the authority to send automatic direct cash assistance to Social Security beneficiaries regardless of whether they file taxes.

“Seniors and individuals who experience disabilities are especially vulnerable as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread, and they cannot afford to miss out on the direct cash assistance included in the CARES Act,” said Senators Hassan and Brown. “That’s why in drafting the law, Congress made it explicitly clear that Social Security beneficiaries do not need to take any additional action in order to receive their payments. It is unfortunate that the IRS created confusion with its guidance this week, but we are very pleased that the Treasury Department reversed course and will now get this cash to Social Security beneficiaries automatically as Congress intended.”

Read the letter (below) sent earlier today by Senators Hassan and Brown as well as Bob Casey (D-PA), Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Thomas R. Carper (D-DE), Michael F. Bennet (D-CO), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD), Mark R. Warner (D-VA), Richard J. Durbin (D-IL), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Doug Jones (D-AL), Jack Reed (D-RI), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Edward J. Markey (D-MA), Gary C. Peters (D-MI), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Bernard Sanders (I-VT), Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI), Tom Udall (D-NM), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Angus S. King, Jr. (I-ME), Tina Smith (D-MN), Christopher A. Coons (D-DE), Patty Murray (D-WA), Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Chris Murphy (D-CT), and Maria Cantwell (D-WA).