Means Tested Government Benefits and the CARES Act. ** UPDATED
Updated: Apr 6, 2020
Please note the update that is listed on SSA's official Blog regarding SSI payments and the CARES ACT. SSA has confirmed that they will not consider economic impact payments as income for SSI recipients, and the payments will be excluded from resources for 12 months.
Individuals receiving means-tested government benefits such as SSI are understandably concerned regarding the payments that will be provided to individuals and families under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act “CARES Act”. While payments will be made directly from the United States Treasury, and not Social Security, individuals currently receiving government benefits may wonder if receipt of those relief payments will be counted against them in this uncertain time when financial assistance is so desperately needed. Specifically, individuals receiving SSI may be concerned that the relief payment provided under the CARES Act will raise their assets over the $2,000 threshold and result in a reduction of other government benefits. Although the Social Security Administration is expected to issue an Emergency Memo in the next few days providing definitive guidance on this issue, in the interim, it is our understanding that SSA will treat the CARES Act relief payments the same way it treats tax refunds. Thus, the payments will not be countable for purposes of income/asset eligibility under 26 U.S.C § 6409. This is good news for individuals currently receiving governmental benefits. Information regarding the CARES Act payments is regularly updated and clarified on SSA.gov. Fitzgerald & Sadove PLLC is monitoring that guidance on a daily basis and is here for you and your family. Stay healthy and safe!