As part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (aka the stimulus bill), Congress has authorized one-time $250 payments to most Social Security, Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) beneficiaries. Checks to those who were eligible for benefits under the programs during November or December 2008 or January 2009 will begin hitting the mail in early May and continue through the month.
According to the Social Security Administration (SSA), the payments will be distributed to beneficiaries in the same manner that they currently receive their benefit (either by check, debit card, or direct deposit) but the payments will not be included in the same transaction as a beneficiary’s regular monthly payment. This means that beneficiaries should be on the lookout for two separate payments during May.
People with special needs who receive both SSDI and SSI benefits will receive only one $250 payment, and SSDI beneficiaries under age 18 (or 19 if they are still in school) will not receive any payments at all. However, anyone receiving a payment does not have to worry about the additional income affecting his government benefits — the stimulus payments do not count as “income” for either program, and will not count as an available resource for nine months following receipt of the funds.