On Wednesday, April 1, 2020, the Treasury Department announced that qualified individuals receiving Social Security will receive their stimulus payment automatically. This announcement came after some confusion about whether Social Security recipients who did not file tax returns would be required to file additional paperwork to receive the payment.

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), which is providing the stimulus payment, includes authorization for the Treasury Department to use information from other government programs like Social Security to deliver the relief payments to Americans sooner.

The CARES Act will provide $1,200 to qualifying adults, and $500 for each qualifying dependent. The additional payment for dependents is also significant for seniors, as more than 2.6 million older adults nationwide are raising their grandchildren, according to the last U.S. Census. The IRS will calculate and automatically send the economic impact payment to those eligible. The one-time payments will be available to some starting in April and will continue to be sent throughout the rest of 2020. 

“It is a relief that seniors and those with disabilities won’t have any barriers to receiving the stimulus, as they are more susceptible to the negative impacts of the coronavirus outbreak,” said Karla Fales, CEO of CareWell Services Southwest. 

While the automatic receipt of payments comes as a relief, the confusion has made way for scams targeting seniors who are desperate to receive the payments quickly. There are reports of scammers calling to offer help to enable individuals to receive the payments as direct deposits. These people are requesting personal information such as bank account number, Social Security Number, or date of birth. 

“The government will not call you to ask for your personal information.  Do not provide your bank account number, Social Security number, date of birth over the phone,” warned Fales. “If you receive calls, emails, or other communications claiming to be from the Treasury Department and offering COVID-19 related stimulus payments, please do not respond. These are scams.”

Suspected scams can be reported to the Consumer Protection team at the Michigan Attorney General’s office by calling (877) 765-8388.

Seniors with questions about services or needs during the COVID-19 outbreak can call our Senior Resource Call Center at (269) 441-0930.

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