The Social Security Administration has put a huge hurdle in front of many people with disabilities and their families from accessing a much-needed boost to their economic stimulus payment. Announced Monday, less than 48 hours before a new Wednesday noon deadline, the Treasury Department and the Social Security Administration are now requiring certain Social Security beneficiaries to file taxes or utilize the new web tool to claim economic impact credits for child dependents under the age of 17. This deadline places an urgent and unexpected burden on people with disabilities and their families. In addition to all the challenges facing people with disabilities and their families amidst this pandemic, the web tool that Treasury created to help people meet this deadline, launched just ten days ago, has accessibility problems. If people do not file the necessary paperwork before Wednesday at noon, they will not be able to claim their credits until 2021.
Who is impacted by this rush? Parents with disabilities receiving Social Security Disability Insurance, along with widows and widowers with children with disabilities, and the retiree grandparents who have disabilities or have adopted grandchildren with disabilities. Many will be forced to wait until 2021 to claim the $500 per dependent child credits.
“This new deadline doesn’t take into account the challenges that many people will face in filling out this paperwork–they need access to the internet, to deal with electronic accessibility issues, and many people with disabilities may need assistance understanding what is required. It’s an absurdly tight turnaround for people who need this financial boost more than many others,” said Peter Berns, CEO, The Arc.
The agency should learn from the past – in 2008, the last time Treasury issued economic stimulus payments, it faced major challenges reaching Social Security, Supplemental Security Income, and other low-income people with disabilities. Ultimately, seventeen percent of this population missed out on the benefit.
“We understand and support the agencies’ desire to issue Economic Impact Payments as quickly as possible, but this solution does not take into account the serious outreach efforts that are necessary to reach these populations. We urge the government to give people longer than two days to file the necessary paperwork right now and to adopt other future deadlines this year so that individuals can submit their information over the course of the year and be paid, and not have to wait until 2021,” said Berns.