Get $250 Through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act was enacted to encourage spending and stimulate the economy.

But many Americans are unclear about whether they will receive any money. This is especially true of those receiving public benefits, including Social Security Disability.

In short, anyone who received Supplemental Security Income (SSI) at any time between November 2008 to January 2009 is eligible to receive the $250 stimulus. Additionally, anyone entitled to any of the following Social Security benefits during the same time perios is also eligible:

  • Retirement benefits
  • Spousal benefits
  • Disabled adult child (but not other child's) benefits
  • Widow's and widower's benefits
  • Parents' benefits
  • Disability insurance benefits
  • Special age 72 benefits

?Veterans Administration and Railroad Retirement benefits also have grounds for eligibility.

Others might wonder whether the stimulus payment comes at the expense of other programs, namely the Social Security trust fund. The answer is that the dollars will come solely from an appropriated fund and will not affect Social Security.

The $250 winfall will not reach Americans living outside the U.S. No one residing outside the United States will receive a stimulus payment under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, although those residing in a U.S. territory are eligible.

Loopholes that might have allowed citizens to receive two checks have been closed. For example, people who receive both SSI and Social Security Disability (SSD) will not receive two checks.

Others wonder whether they will be penalized on their end-of-year tax return. But the federal government will not tax the income from the stimulus.

Stimulus payments are subject to seizure, however, in order to pay off child support obligations or federal tax debut, but otherwise cannot be seized.

In some cases, more than one $250 stimulus check will be issued per Social Security number. Households with more than one eligible recipient are also eligible to receive multiple checks.

Checks should be received within 120 days of the passage of the act.

Those who apply new for Social Security benefits from November 2008 to January 2009 are eligible to receive a stimulus check. No stimulus payments, however, will be issued after December 31, 2010.

Stimulus payments cannot reduce SSI benefits.

The American Reinvestment and Recovery Act was designed to kickstart the economy, not to trigger benefit reductions or tax traps for citizens. But if you're worried about what a $250 stimulus payment could mean for you, don't hesitate to call.

If you're unsure about your eligibility to receive a stimulus payment under the American Investment and Recovery Act, contact the law offices of Keller & Keller.

James R. Keller
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