April 02, 2020
BRUNSWICK, ME – U.S. Senator Angus King applauded a move by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to reverse its previous guidance and allow Social Security beneficiaries to automatically receive the direct payments included in the recently-passed CARES Act without having to file tax returns. This move brings the IRS’s administration of the direct cash assistance in line with Congress’s intent, as the law’s drafting specifically stated that the Treasury Department had the authority to send automatic direct cash assistance to Social Security beneficiaries regardless of whether they file taxes or not. The move comes after King and a group of his Senate colleagues sent a letter to the Treasury Department and the Social Security Administration urging the change.
“The last thing our seniors should be worried about in the middle of this pandemic is filling out time-consuming, unnecessary paperwork when they need help immediately,” said Senator King. “Congress designed this law to make sure vital financial assistance got to the American people, fast, so our country’s most vulnerable citizens have the ability to face these unexpected expenses. In the days ahead, I’ll keep pushing to make sure the Administration’s execution of this law matches Congress’s intent, and gives our people every opportunity to weather this challenge and come out the other side stronger than ever.”
Senator King was a leading voice calling for direct cash payments to the American people, and voted for the bipartisan agreement for the third phase of coronavirus relief, which includes a direct payment of up to $1,200. The CARES Act unanimously passed the Senate by a vote of 96 to 0 and was signed into law late last week. Earlier this week, Senator King participated in a live-streamed tele-town hall hosted by AARP Maine to answer questions from Maine seniors about the challenges coronavirus is creating for Maine’s senior population, and best practices to stay safe.