April 01, 2020

Wyden Calls for Social Security Recipients to Get CARES Act Direct Cash Assistance Without Having to File Tax Return

Senators’ letter comes after IRS releases guidance that contradicts provisions of the CARES Act that explicitly give Treasury authority to provide direct assistance to Social Security beneficiaries who do not file taxes

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Ron Wyden, D-Ore., today joined a group of 42 senators urging the Treasury Department and Social Security Administration to ensure all Social Security beneficiaries in Oregon and nationwide will automatically receive the direct assistance included in the CARES Act without having to file tax returns.

While the CARES Act ensured the Treasury Department had the authority to send automatic direct cash assistance to Social Security beneficiaries regardless of whether they file taxes or not, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) released contradictory guidance earlier this week stating that Social Security beneficiaries would need to file tax returns in order to receive direct payments.

“This [IRS] filing requirement would place a significant burden on retired seniors and individuals who experience disabilities, especially given the current unavailability of tax filing assistance from Volunteer Income Tax Assistance and Tax Counseling for the Elderly programs during the COVID-19 crisis,” the senators wrote. “We strongly urge you to ensure that economic stimulus payments are automatically sent to vulnerable seniors and individuals who experience disabilities, without these individuals needing to file a tax return.”

In addition to Wyden, the letter was also signed by U.S. Sens. Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, Bob Casey, D-Pa., Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., Thomas R. Carper, D-Del., Michael F. Bennet, D-Colo., Robert Menendez, D-N.J., Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev., Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., Benjamin L. Cardin, D-Md., Mark R. Warner, D-Va., Richard J. Durbin, D-Ill., Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., Jacky Rosen, D-Nev., Doug Jones, D-Ala., Jack Reed, D-R.I., Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., Edward J. Markey, D-Mass., Gary C. Peters, D-Mich., Tim Kaine, D-Va., Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., Bernard Sanders, I-Vt., Mazie K. Hirono, D-Hawaii, Tom Udall, D-N.M., Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., Tammy Baldwin, D-Wisc., Angus S. King, Jr., I-Maine, Tina Smith, D-Minn., Christopher A. Coons, D-Del., Patty Murray, D-Wash., Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., Cory Booker, D-N.J., Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., Chris Murphy, D-Conn., and Maria Cantwell, D-Wash.

A copy of the letter is available here.