Feb 14, 2008

Social Security Role In Economic Stimulus

This is Social Security's Emergency Message EM-08021. This went out yesterday (Later addition: Since I posted this, the Social Security Administration has taken down the link. I can only guess that the EM was too blunt. Anyway, here it is for all to read, so it can hardly be described as a secret.):
President Bush signed an economic stimulus bill on February 13th which will result in stimulus payments to over 130 million individuals starting in May 2008.

Attached is an IRS fact sheet which provides more details and eligibility information regarding the stimulus payments. NOTE: it is not SSA’s role to explain the stimulus program to the public, so you should not offer verbal explanations of information on the factsheet—except as it relates to the need for a 1099 (see item 3 below).

There are four key points:

1. This is an IRS program and we need to refer questions about the stimulus payments to IRS, at either their website (www.irs.gov) or their 800 number (1-800-829-1040).

2. To receive a payment, individuals must file a tax return for 2007. There are approximately 20 million Social Security beneficiaries who would not normally file a tax return for 2007, but will need to file a tax return for 2007 to receive a stimulus payment.

3. All beneficiaries received an SSA-1099 earlier this year related to their 2007 Social Security payments. Some of the 20 million beneficiaries may have discarded their 1099. They do not need a replacement 1099 because IRS will accept an estimate of Social Security benefits received in 2007 in line 14A of the 1040A. A beneficiary can just multiply their 2007 monthly benefit amount times the number of months they received benefits in 2007. IRS will match this estimate against the 1099 file that we provide them to determine if the person meets the income threshold.

4. Receipt of SSI benefits does not count in determining eligibility for stimulus payments.

FO Instructions

Processing Inquiries-

Please print the attached IRS fact sheet in sufficient quantities to distribute to visitors who inquire about stimulus payments. You may also want to provide the fact sheet to any visitor who is a Title II beneficiary. If someone calls the FO about the stimulus payment, please refer them to the IRS web site at www.irs.gov and the IRS 800 number (1-800-829-1040). Do not mail them the fact sheet.

If a beneficiary insists on receiving a replacement SSA-1099 you can issue it to them following the instructions in POMS GN 05002.220.

Counting Inquiries and Replacement 1099s-

It is important that we capture data on the number of FO visitors whose visit is prompted by the Economic Stimulus program. When a field office visitor inquires about the Economic Stimulus Bill or requests a replacement 1099, follow these instructions:
      1. Make sure they are checked into VIP.
      2. Change the “Number of Interviews” box on the “Add Visitor Information” or “Modify Contact Information” screens to the number 99.
      3. Finish the interview and close out VIP using standard procedures.

Do not capture telephone inquiries using this VIP procedure. Instructions for capturing field office telephone inquiries will be forthcoming.

800 Number Instructions

An upfront message will be added to the 800 number this week directing callers with questions on the stimulus payments to contact IRS. If a caller reaches an agent and has a question about the stimulus payment, refer them to the IRS web site (www.irs.gov) and 800 number (1-800-829-1040). Do not discuss the IRS factsheet nor mail the caller a copy of it.

If they ask about a replacement SSA-1099 tell them that IRS will accept an estimate, advise them to estimate the amount of benefits received by multiplying the monthly benefit amount in 2007 times the number of months they received benefits. If a beneficiary insists on a replacement SSA-1099, see TC 37001.030.

Instructions for capturing the volume of 800 Number calls involving Economic Stimulus Package inquiries will be forthcoming.

FS-2008-16 (exceptions) UPDATE.pdf

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The part I like is "Do not mail them the fact sheet." So make the person make another call to IRS to get the fact sheet.
Nothing like government agencies working together to help the public. LOL