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After delay, IRS begins sending stimulus payments to federal beneficiaries

The IRS has said more than 130 million Americans have so far received the third direct stimulus payment. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI
The IRS has said more than 130 million Americans have so far received the third direct stimulus payment. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

April 7 (UPI) -- Millions of Americans who have not yet received their $1,400 stimulus payments from the American Rescue Plan will begin to see them on Wednesday, federal officials say.

Since the plan was passed by Congress and signed by President Joe Biden last month, more than 130 million people have received the payment -- in varying amounts, as a response to ongoing hardship related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Some Americans, however, have not.

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The Internal Revenue Service said millions of those, notably Social Security recipients and Supplemental Security Income beneficiaries, will start seeing the payment on Wednesday.

Most of the stimulus, or Economic Impact Payment, checks will be sent to recipients electronically, the IRS said last week.

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"On March 25, the IRS began the multi-step process to review, validate and test tens of millions of records to ensure eligibility and proper calculation of Economic Impact Payments," the IRS said in a statement.

The payments are going out after a procedural delay in sending them to Social Security and SSI recipients.

The House ways and means committee pushed Social Security Commissioner Andrew Saul last week to send over files so the payments could be delivered to nearly 30 million Americans who have yet to receive them.

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"The delays imposed by Commissioner Saul defied congressional intent and imposed needless anxiety and pain on taxpayers," the committee wrote in a letter to Saul. "Now the IRS needs to do its job and get these overdue payments out to suffering Americans.

"Further delays will not be tolerated by this committee."

Saul said Social Security rules prevented him from moving the money any faster to federal beneficiaries.

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"The Social Security Act does not allow the agency to use our administrative appropriation to conduct work on any non-mission provision or program," Saul said in a report by CBS News.

"Accordingly, we were not authorized to substantively engage Treasury or IRS prior to the [American Rescue Plan's] passage."

The Treasury Department said Wednesday it has now distributed more than 156 million payments with a total value of $372 billion since March 12. The current fourth batch of payments started April 2 with some people receiving direct payments in their accounts earlier as provisional or pending deposits.

The department said the Social Security recipients who did not file 2020 or 2018 tax returns made up the biggest block of beneficiaries. They received 19 million payments totaling $26 billion.

For those who have not yet received their payment, the IRS has an online tool that allows them to check the status of the funds.

The stimulus payments were the third given to most Americans since the start of the coronavirus pandemic a year ago, following payouts that went out in April 2020 and December.

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January 31, 2020
National Institutes of Health official Dr. Anthony Fauci (C) speaks about the coronavirus during a press briefing at the White House in Washington, D.C. Health and Human Services Secretary Alexander Azar (L) announced that the United States is declaring the virus a public health emergency and issued a federal quarantine order of 14 days for 195 Americans. Photo by Leigh Vogel/UPI | License Photo

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