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March 9, 2009

Social Security: American Recovery, Reinvestiment Act provides for one-time payment

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, which the president signed into law in February, provides for a one-time payment of $250 to people receiving Social Security and Supplemental Security Income benefits.

The one-time recovery payments will go out in May 2009 and all payments should be received by the end of May. In April, Social Security will send a letter with additional information to each person who is eligible for the one-time payment. The payments will be sent automatically, meaning no action is required on the part of the person receiving benefits. The economic recovery payments will be made separately from a person’s regular monthly payments.

All adults who receive Social Security benefits, including disabled adult children (but not minor children), are eligible for the $250 payment. In addition, all persons who receive SSI payments, including minor children, are eligible for the payment. Anyone who receives benefits or who was eligible to receive benefits during any of the three months prior to enactment (November and December 2008 and January 2009) will receive the one-time payment as long as the address of record is in one of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, U.S. Virgin Islands, American Samoa, or the Northern Mariana Islands.

The payments will be made in the same way that regular monthly payments are made. People with direct deposit will receive their payments electronically. Those who receive paper checks will receive their payments in the mail. People who receive regular payments through the Direct Express debit card will receive their one-time payments through the card.

If someone receives both Social Security and SSI, only one payment of $250 will be made. The economic recovery legislation also provides for a one-time payment to recipients of Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) benefits. However, if you receive Social Security or SSI benefits and you also receive VA and/or RRB benefits, you will only receive one $250 payment. The Social Security Administration will send you this payment.

To assist in processing the payments as efficiently as possible, please do not contact Social Security unless you do not receive a payment by June 4, 2009. Information is available at www.socialsecurity.gov and will be updated regularly.

To learn more about the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, visit www.recovery.gov.

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