American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars Share Support for Bipartisan Automatic Cash Assistance Act
WASHINGTON – The American Legion and VFW (Veterans of Foreign Wars) added their support for bipartisan legislation introduced by U.S. Senators Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Susan Collins (R-ME), and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) to help ensure that Social Security, Veterans Affairs (VA), and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) beneficiaries automatically receive any future COVID-19 relief stimulus payments. The bill is also supported by DAV (Disabled American Veterans) and Paralyzed Veterans of America.
“Veterans and their families are under enormous stress with the COVID-19 pandemic. The last stimulus checks made a real difference for many, helping to put food on the table and pay their bills – but the process to get them was challenging for some of our members,” said James W. “Bill” Oxford, National Commander for The American Legion. “After some confusion, we were pleased that the last stimulus payments ultimately went out automatically to those who receive VA pension, disability, or survivor benefits. The American Legion is proud to support this legislation that ensures veterans and their families receive the benefits they’re entitled to and are glad to support Senator Hassan’s work on this issue.”
"COVID-19 brought with it unprecedented confusion and uncertainty. One of the many issues certain veterans faced was not knowing if their stimulus checks would be received on time," said Pat Murray, National Legislative Director for the VFW. "This straightforward legislation will remove that doubt once and for all, to ensure during times of uncertainty veterans will not be left behind."
The bill addresses two separate issues to help ensure the seamless distribution of stimulus payments to Social Security, VA, and SSI beneficiaries.
First, it instructs the Treasury Department to quickly send the $500 cash assistance per child to beneficiaries who have not received them. Initially, the Treasury Department said that these beneficiaries who missed the short Internal Revenue Service (IRS) deadlines earlier this year to receive their $500 payments would have to wait until they file a tax return next year to receive them. Following the bill’s introduction, and pressure from Senator Hassan and her colleagues, the IRS announced that it will re-open registration to allow individuals who have not gotten their $500-per-child stimulus payment to enter their information on the IRS Non-Filer tool in order to receive their payment by mid-October of this year.
Second, as Congress debates the next COVID-19 relief package, this bipartisan bill would ensure that any future stimulus payments go out automatically to Social Security, VA, and SSI beneficiaries. Following bipartisan calls, the Treasury did eventually agree to send these payments automatically during the first round of payments, and this bill ensures that any future payments would go out automatically without the confusion and uncertainty of the initial round of payments.
This bipartisan bill is the latest in advocacy efforts from Senator Hassan and colleagues to get Americans the COVID-19 stimulus payments they are entitled to. As a result of efforts from Senators Hassan, Collins, and Sinema, more than 18 million Americans should have automatically received their $1,200 stimulus payments included in the bipartisan CARES Act without having to file tax returns. The Senators successfully called on the Treasury Department to issue stimulus payments automatically to those who receive Social Security retirement or disability benefits, Supplemental Security Income, and VA pension, disability, or survivor benefits.