The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Extends Deadline to Ensure People with Children Receive $500 Economic Impact Payments (EIP)
The IRS has extended its deadline to September 30, 2020, for people to provide information to the IRS using its Non-Filer Tool at www.irs.gov/coronavirus/non-filers-enter-payment-info-here. Your clients should do this if all of the following apply:
- Receive Social Security retirement, survivors, or disability benefits, or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments.
- Did not file a 2019 or 2018 tax return.
- Have a qualifying child uder age 17.
- Did not already enter information in the IRS’ Non-Filer Tool for themselves and at least one child.
If your client already entered information in the IRS’ Non-Filer Tool before, and even after, the IRS’ previously announced deadlines (April 22 if receiving Social Security; May 5 if receiving SSI) they do not need to do anything. The IRS will automatically make an EIP in October 2020 based on the information provided to them. Individuals who began receiving Social Security or SSI on or after January 1, 2020 should receive their EIP in November 2020.
Please read the IRS’ August 14 press release at www.irs.gov/newsroom/irs-takes-new-steps-to-ensure-people-with-children-receive-500-economic-impact-payments for more information.
Compassionate Allowances: Five Conditions Added to Fast Track
Processing disability claims quickly and accurately is important to us. It is through this commitment to you that we use the Compassionate Allowances program to help us identify and fast-track cases where people have medical conditions and diseases that are most likely to meet Social Security’s standards for disability benefits.
In August, we added five conditions to this essential list:
- Desmoplastic Small Round Cell Tumors,
- GM1 Gangliosidosis - Infantile and Juvenile Forms,
- Nicolaides-Baraister Syndrome,
- Rubinstein-Tybai Syndrome, and
- Secondary Adenocarcinoma of the Brain.
Additions to the list allow us to ensure that anyone with qualifying disabilities can receive the benefits they need quickly.
Due to the severe nature of many of these conditions, these claims are often allowed based on medical confirmation of the diagnosis alone. To date, more than 600,000 people with severe disabilities have been approved through this accelerated, policy-compliant disability process. Over the last decade, the list has grown to a total of 242 conditions, including certain cancers, adult brain disorders, and a number of rare disorders that affect children.
Please share the Compassionate Allowances program with your clients who may need these vital benefits at www.ssa.gov/compassionateallowances.
Social Security National Disability Forum
On September 22, we hosted a virtual National Disability Forum (NDF) on the topic COVID-19 and SSA Programs: Serving Our Beneficiaries through Unprecedented Times. There were 844 calls into the conference line.
Commissioner Andrew Saul provided opening remarks. Jeffrey Buckner, Associate Commissioner, Strategic and Digital Communications welcomed the participants and provided agency updates. Steve Rollins, Esq., Deputy Associate Commissioner, Office of Disability Policy provided the NDF overview. Sam Richardson, Deputy Associate Commissioner, Office of Public Service and Operations Support, facilitated the open discussion for the morning session. Dawn Wiggins, Associate Commissioner, Office of Income Security Programs, facilitated the open discussion for the afternoon session. Rebecca Vallas, Senior Fellow, Center for American Progress, was the moderator. The panels included:
- Anne K. Callagy, Director of Government Benefits, The Legal Aid Society
- Randy Feliciano, MPA, Senior Program Manager, National Council on Aging
- Cara Liebowitz, Development Coordinator, National Council on Independent Living
- Kelly Bagby, Vice President of Foundation Litigation, AARP
- Yvonne Perret, M.A., M.S.W., LCSW-C, Executive Director, Advocacy and Training Center
- Tammy Seltzer, Esq., Director, DC Jail & Prison Advocacy Project, Disability Rights DC
- Melissa Harris, Deputy Director, Disabled and Elderly Health Programs Group, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
- Dr. Leonie Heyworth, MD, MPH, Director of Synchronous Telehealth, VHA Telehealth Services, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
- Vickie Kennedy, Assistant Director for Insurance Services, Washington State Department of Labor & Industries
- Suzy Rosen Singleton, Chief, Disability Rights Office, Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau, Federal Communications Commission
- Jill Yu, Branch Chief, Office of Field Policy and Management, Housing and Urban Development
- The Advocate Experience: Best practices and lessons learned for connecting seniors, people with disabilities, and other vulnerable populations to benefits and other critical services during the pandemic.
- The Governmental Agency Experience: Adapting policies and procedures to continue to serve the public during the pandemic.
You and your clients can learn more about Social Security’s National Disability Forum at www.ssa.gov/ndf.
New Online Video Hearings
We closed Social Security hearing offices to the public for in-person services starting Tuesday, March 17, 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We have been conducting appeal hearings with Administrative Law Judges (ALJs) via telephone only since March, while offices remain closed to the public to protect the health and safety of the public and employees.
We will soon have a new free service for people awaiting a hearing decision. In addition to telephone hearings, we will offer the opportunity for an online video hearing using the Microsoft Teams platform. This service will allow applicants and their representatives to participate in the hearing from anywhere they have access to a camera-enabled smartphone, tablet, or computer.
This stable and secure online platform will allow the Social Security judge to see and interact with applicants and their representatives just like an in-person hearing, while maintaining privacy of the claimant’s information. Other hearing experts, such as medical or vocational experts, may participate as well.
For the new online video hearings, whether the device is a laptop, smartphone, or tablet on either iPhone or Android, your clients will experience a clear picture and audio of the ALJ and their representative during their hearing. For updates on the implementation and expansion of this new hearing service, and other Social Security information, please visit the agency’s COVID-19 web page at www.ssa.gov/coronavirus and our Hearing Options page at www.ssa.gov/appeals/hearing_options.html.
Social Security and National Hispanic Heritage Month
Every September 15 through October 15, we celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month. It is a time to recognize America’s diversity and acknowledge how it makes us stronger.
We also provide information about our programs and services in Spanish. If Spanish is your client’s primary language, they can visit www.segurosocial.gov. The site includes important information on topics such as planning for retirement and applying for benefits. Spanish-speaking individuals wishing to apply for retirement, disability, survivor, and other benefits, as well as Medicare, can call 1-800-772-1213 from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. weekdays and select the option for Spanish.
Your clients can learn more about what we offer at www.ssa.gov/espanol/personas/hispanos. They can also access our Facebook and Twitter pages in Spanish at www.facebook.com/segurosocial and twitter.com/segurosocial.