In March 2021, President Joe Biden signed the American Rescue Plan bill into law to provide relief for those impacted by COVID-19 and offer a third round of stimulus checks of $1,400.
Eligibility for the third stimulus payment was based on tax returns. That caused confusion among retirees who rely solely on Social Security benefits as income, because they don't need to file taxes. This left many older Americans wondering: Do retired people get stimulus checks?
What Retirees Need To Know About Stimulus Checks
According to the law, individuals earning up to $75,000 in annual income and families earning up to $150,00 were eligible for payments of $1,400 per person. The payments would phase out for higher incomes. For example, an individual making $80,000 and a family making over $160,000 would not get a payment at all.
Do retired people get stimulus checks, though? Those already receiving Social Security, Veterans, and Railroad benefits — including retirees — would automatically get the $1,400 payment. In most cases, these payments were deposited to the same account that monthly Social Security benefits go into.
The Social Security Administration (SSA) also created a site to answer questions about economic impact payments.
How Do I Know if I Got My Payment?
It might have been easy to miss your stimulus payment. However, there are a few ways you can double-check.
First, review your bank statements. If you're like most people, the IRS sent your stimulus check to the same bank account you get your Social Security benefits through. So, an easy place to start is to look through your 2021 statements for your payment.
The IRS Get My Payment site also has helpful information. Currently, the IRS is sending letters to people who received the third stimulus payment in 2021. These letters, which will be sent through March 2022, confirm the total amount of the stimulus payment you got, plus any additional economic impact payments you may have received.
You can also view your information online by creating an account with the IRS. If you already have an account, go to the Tax Records header, and you'll see your total stimulus payments for both 2020 and 2021.
What if I Didn't Get My Third Stimulus Check?
The IRS says it has distributed all checks to eligible people as of 2022. However, if you think you should have gotten a stimulus payment and didn't, you can try to claim a Recovery Rebate Credit.
To do this, you must file your 2021 tax return, even if you usually don't need to. The IRS will view your 2021 income and determine if you're eligible for the credit based on your earnings and deductions.
If it turns out you are eligible, and you should have gotten a check, then you'll get a Recovery Rebate Credit. You can use this credit to lower any taxes you owe for 2021 or add it to any tax refund you may be getting.
Do Retired People Get Stimulus Checks in 2022?
Some senior groups such as The Senior Citizens League have called for a fourth stimulus check for older Americans, but that proposal hasn't gotten much traction.
However, those currently receiving Social Security benefits should look out for a small bump in monthly income starting in January. Due to a cost of living (COLA) increase, Social Security raised beneficiary payments by 5.9%. If you have any questions about COLA, taxes, or your Social Security benefits, get in touch with your local Social Security office. Experts there can help answer your questions.
With so many changes and disruptions over the last few years, it's easy to lose track of stimulus checks and be unsure about what you were supposed to get. However, it's worthwhile to check what you've received so you're ready to move forward into 2022.