WASHINGTON – Senators John Hoeven (R-ND) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) today led a bipartisan group of Senators in urging the U.S. Department of Treasury and U.S Department of Veterans Affairs to provide recovery rebate checks to veterans as quickly as possible by automatically sending payments to veterans who do not file tax returns – similarly to how Treasury is sending payments to Social Security recipients who do not file tax returns. Click here for the senators’ letter to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and VA Secretary Robert Wilkie.
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act provides individuals with income less than $99,000 an up to $1,200 payment via direct deposit or a recovery rebate check. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is providing the checks based primarily on 2018 or 2019 tax returns, which may create additional barriers for veterans who do not typically file tax returns. Recently, the IRS announced that it would provide Social Security recipients who did not file tax returns in 2018 or 2019 with their payments automatically as a direct deposit or by paper check, just as they would normally receive their benefits.
As many veterans, particularly those with serious, service-connected disabilities, are not required to and do not file an annual federal tax return, the senators encouraged the IRS to utilize VA benefit programs to automatically provide veterans with rebate checks as quickly as possible, and for the IRS to continue working to reduce barriers for non-filers claiming recovery rebates.
“We believe that VA has a number of benefit programs that could be used to identify eligible veterans, including disability compensation and pension payments. These programs would also have veterans’ direct deposit information available so that recovery rebate checks could be sent to veterans as promptly as possible,” the senators wrote. “We can all agree that our veterans have earned more than we can ever repay for their dedicated service. That is why we request that your Departments work together to identify and provide recovery rebate checks to eligible veterans, without the need to file a federal tax return.”
In addition to Hoeven and Hassan, the letter was signed by Senators Jim Risch, Michael Bennet, Mike Crapo, Jeanne Shaheen, Steve Daines, Doug Jones, John Cornyn, Jon Tester, John Boozman, Cory Booker, James Lankford, Kyrsten Sinema and Chris Coons.