Gainesville Daily Register

April 29, 2009

Social Security recipients can expect stimulus checks

By DELANIA TRIGG, Register Staff Writer

Hoping to get a government stimulus payment?

For all but a segment of Americans, there will be no stimulus payments this year.

Social security recipients are likely the only residents who will see individual payments from the Economic Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

The stimulus money is a fairly modest $250 payment for the nearly 55 million Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) beneficiaries.

The money is earmarked to help elderly or disabled residents — some of whom may not have been eligible for last year’s round of economic stimulus payments.

“The purpose of the payment is to put money back into the pockets of people,” said Wes Davis regional communications director for the Dallas Social Security region.

Davis said the Treasury Department will begin administering the one-time payments next month. All qualified recipients should receive their checks or direct deposits by late May.

Most dependents and representative payees will not get the $250 payments, Davis said.

For example, a child who receives a social security payment in connection with a parent’s disability will not qualify for the stimulus money.

The disabled parent, however, will get the payment.

Those who are eligible for the stimulus checks include residents who receive social security benefits based on their work records, disabled beneficiaries (both children and adults), residents on Supplemental Security Income — a Social Security program for aged or disabled individuals with limited incomes, and those who get railroad or veteran’s retirement benefits, Davis said.

He said the payments are scheduled to begin in May and will not be included in the recipient’s monthly allotment.

“The checks or direct deposits will be a separate payment. It they receive their benefit as a check each month, the money will arrive as a separate check. If they use direct deposit — and we do encourage direct deposit — the payment will be a separate deposit,” Davis said.

He said the agency will disperse the stimulus payments on a staggered schedule.

Davis also advises recipients to be patient.

“If there is a delay and someone thinks they are eligible, we ask that they wait until the first week of June before contacting us (regarding the payment),” he said.

He said it is also important to note that individuals will receive just one payment.

“Even though you could potentially be eligible under multiple programs, you will only receive one payment,” Davis said.

President Obama signed the economic recovery measure into law in February.

It is designed to create or save jobs and includes measures to modernize the nation’s infrastructure, enhance energy independence, expand educational opportunities, preserve and improve affordable health care, provide tax relief, and protect those in greatest need.

For more information on the stimulus programs or to find other information about social security see http://www.ssa.gov/SSA_Home.