Social Security FYI: Will Stimulus Payments and Child Tax Credit Affect Your Benefits?

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It was recently determined that COVID-19 emergency financial assistance from a federal, state or local government source will not affect your Social Security benefits.  In addition, it was clarified that this kind of assistance would not affect eligibility for Social Security income or the monthly Social Security payment amount.

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The administration stated that “specifically, we do not count the financial assistance [listed below] against your eligibility to payment amount.” They also stated that they are in the process of reviewing SSI claims and other SSI records going back to the beginning of the pandemic to restore SSI payments for the people whose SSI was affected by receiving any of the pandemic assistance.

The specifics of which COVID-19 financial assistance does not count against SSI eligibility or SSI payment amount are listed on the SSA website, and read as follows:

  • Economic Impact Payments (EIP)
  • State Stimulus Payments (Some exclusions may apply.)
  • Unemployment Assistance (also includes regular unemployment)
  • Paycheck Protection Program (PPP): Loan Forgiveness to Employers and Self-Employed Individuals
  • Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Program: Loans/Grants to Employers and Self-Employed Individuals /Grants
  • Coronavirus Food Assistance Program – Direct Payments to Farmers and Ranchers
  • COVID-19 Veteran Rapid Retraining Assistance Program
  • COVID-19 Funeral Assistance
  • Emergency Rental Assistance Fund
  • Emergency Assistance for Rural Housing/Rural Rental Assistance
  • Homeowner Assistance Fund
  • Housing Assistance and Supportive Services Programs for Native Americans
  • Tribal Payments from the Coronavirus Relief Fund and the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds
  • Supporting Foster Youth and Families
  • Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund
  • Emergency Assistance to Children and Families through the Pandemic Emergency Assistance Fund
  • Farm Loan Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers
  • USDA Assistance and Support for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers, Ranchers, Forest Land Owners and Operators, and Groups
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If your Social Security income was affected because you received or still receive any pandemic-era assistance, the SSA claims that in most cases, you do not need to do anything. They will automatically restore your payment and mail you a letter explaining the changes. If your SSI was stopped at all because of the payments listed above, you need to contact your local office and report this immediately, as this is an error.

If you were not already receiving SSI and currently receive (or are thinking about applying for the assistance on the list above), you can call the Social Security administration at 1-800-772-1213.

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Additionally, there has recently been an increase in people taking out unemployment claims or Social Security benefits in other people’s names fraudulently during the pandemic. The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FINCEN) has identified multiple fraud schemes in which filers submit applications for unemployment insurance (UI) benefits using other people’s information, the SSA said. Receiving unemployment benefits could affect the amount of monthly benefits you receive from Social Security, so it’s crucial that you report it as soon as possible. If you believe you are a victim of this fraud scheme, you will need to claim it immediately by finding your state’s department number here.

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Last updated: October 21, 2021

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About the Author

Georgina Tzanetos is a former financial advisor who studied post-industrial capitalist structures at New York University. She has eight years of experience with concentrations in asset management, portfolio management, private client banking, and investment research. Georgina has written for Investopedia and WallStreetMojo. 
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