Will I Get a Third Stimulus Check If I'm Collecting Disability Benefits?

Use our calculator to find out the amount of your third coronavirus stimulus payment.

President Biden has signed a bill approving a third covid stimulus payment. Most recipients of Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) are eligible for the new $1,400 COVID-19 stimulus check. Those who file joint returns are eligible for $2,800. And SSDI and SSI recipients who have dependents are eligible for an extra $1,400 per dependent (as long as the child or other dependent lives with them for more than half the year).

You are eligible for a stimulus check as long as you have a Social Security number (a taxpayer ID number doesn't count) and you are not claimed as a dependent on someone else's tax return (or possibly incarcerated).

Will I Get a Check If I Have Other Income?

If you receive income in addition to your disability benefits that makes your combined income over $75,000, your stimulus payment will be reduced. Similarly, if you are married and file a joint return, and your income combined with your spouse's income is over $150,000, you'll receive a reduced payment. Your stimulus payment, including any payment for dependents, will be reduced by a percentage of the amount over those thresholds.

What income does the IRS look at to determine if your payment should be reduced? The IRS will use your "adjusted gross income" from your 2020 tax return (line 11 of your 2020 Form 1040). If you didn't file a tax return, the IRS will use your income from your Social Security or SSI checks.

Will I Get the Third Check If I Don't File a Tax Return?

Individuals who receive Social Security disability or SSI should automatically get the stimulus money. If you don't file a tax return because your income is low and/or your only income is SSI or SSDI or veterans benefits, you are still eligible for the COVID-19 stimulus payment. If you received SSDI, SSI, or veterans compensation or pension in 2020, and you don't have dependents, you don't have to do anything to get your $1,400; the government will send you your check automatically.

Disability recipients, however, may not get the $1,400 for each dependent if they haven't filed a 2019 or 2020 tax return and they didn't submit non-filer information to the IRS for the first stimulus check (more on this below).

If you received the first stimulus check, you should receive the second check without having to do anything (see below on how you'll receive the payment).

How Will I Get the Stimulus Payment?

You will generally receive the automatic payment the same way you normally receive your monthly disability or pension payment—by direct deposit, Direct Express debit card, or paper check. Your stimulus payment, however, will come from the Treasury Department, not the Social Security Administration.

If you received the first or second check by direct deposit or Direct Express, you should receive your payment the same way, but there are no guarantees.

If you received your first or second payment by EIP Debit Card, you should receive a new debit card in the mail. It will arrive in a white envelope with "Economic Impact Payment Card" in the return address. You'll need to activate the card by calling the phone number that comes with the card and choosing a 4-digit PIN number. You can use your EIP card for purchases or use it to withdraw cash (subject to a daily limit). You can also transfer the funds from your EIP card directly into your own bank account, after you register for online access. (The card will come with instructions on setting up online access.)

If you've moved since last filing your taxes, you should file a change of address with the IRS on Form 8822.

When Will I Get the Stimulus Check?

Those who filed tax returns in 2019 or 2020 and gave their bank information to the IRS so their refunds could be direct-deposited should receive their third stimulus payment in mid-March. The IRS says it will announce dates soon for when disability and SSI recipients can expect their checks.

The IRS will also upload new payment data to its "Get My Payment" tool soon, so you can check to see if and when your payment was issued.

If you receive monthly payments by a Direct Express card, you may not recognize the bank account information shown in the Get My Payment tool; it may be a number associated with your Direct Express card.

What If My Income Is Lower Than When I Filed My Last Tax Return?

If you had decreased income in 2020 due to starting disability benefits and/or losing a job, you might be eligible for the money but you might not get a third stimulus check in 2021. This might happen if you filed a tax return for 2019 income that's above the $75,000 or $150,000 thresholds, but you made less income in 2020. You should be able to get the stimulus payment as a rebate (called the Recovery Rebate Credit) if you file a 2020 tax return.

Can Creditors Take My Stimulus Check?

Your stimulus money is not subject to garnishment by the government, even for back taxes or student loan defaults. And unlike the first stimulus check, if you owe past-due child support payments, your second and third stimulus checks cannot be reduced to pay the past due amount, and nor can your stimulus money can be levied or garnished by private debt collectors.

What about your own bank? If your bank account is overdrawn because of overdrafts or outstanding fees, your bank might take part or all of your stimulus check to bring your account even. Many large banks, however, have stated that they will bring customers' bank balances to zero, temporarily, so that customers can access their stimulus checks. This includes Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Citigroup, and JPMorgan Chase. Other large national and regional banks may follow suit, though smaller banks and credit unions may not.

Will the IRS Offer Its Non-Filer Page to File a Simple Tax Return?

For the first stimulus check, the IRS required those who had just started to receive SSDI or SSI to use the "non-filer page" to file the simple tax return. Individuals who had already been receiving Social Security disability, SSI, or veterans benefits should have automatically received the stimulus money without filing a simple tax return, but they had to submit their non-filer information to the IRS to get $500 for each child under 17. The IRS did not make the non-filer tool available for the second stimulus payment, and it is unknown whether they will do so for the third stimulus payment.

Will the Stimulus Money Affect My Eligibility for Disability Benefits?

For SSI (and veterans pension) eligibility purposes, the stimulus check won't count as income to you, and you don't need to report it as income to the Social Security Administration. Plus, it's not taxable. In addition, for SSI, the stimulus money won't count as a resource (asset) unless you still have all or part of it 12 months after receiving it.

For SSDI eligibility purposes, income and assets don't matter, so the stimulus check will have no effect.

Beware of Stimulus Check Scams

The Treasury Department is warning people about phone calls and emails from scam artists claiming to be from the Treasury Department or the IRS. You may be asked for personal financial information or an advance fee. Do not respond; the IRS will not contact you for your information, and you do not have to pay a fee to receive your check.

For security reasons, the IRS will mail a letter to your last known address approximately 15 days after the agency deposits your stimulus money or mails your paper check. The letter will tell you how the payment was made and, if you did not receive the payment, how to request a replacement from the IRS.

Updated March 15, 2021

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