April 2, 2020

The Honorable Steven T. Mnuchin
Secretary of the Treasury
US Department of the Treasury
1500 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20220

The Honorable Andrew Saul
Commissioner of Social Security
US Social Security Administration
1500 Woodlawn Drive
Baltimore, MD 21241

The Honorable Robert Wilkie
Secretary of Veterans Affairs
US Department of Veterans Affairs
810 Vermont Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20571

Dear Secretary Mnuchin, Commissioner Saul, and Secretary Wilkie:

Thank you for your decision to ensure that Social Security beneficiaries will automatically receive rebate payments even if they do not file federal income tax returns.  Now we urge you to allow Supplemental Security Income (SSI) beneficiaries, Veterans Disability Compensation and Veterans Benefits pensions recipients who do not file income taxes to also automatically receive payments authorized in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act (P.L.: 116-136).

We believe this requirement is needlessly burdensome and could potentially lead to millions of the most vulnerable Americans losing out in the economic relief payments the Congress intended them to receive when it enacted the CARES Act. Moreover, processing the millions of otherwise unnecessary tax returns by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) would be detrimental to the efficient operation of this important agency.

The public health crisis of the coronavirus is both a health and an economic threat to Older Americans, people with disabilities and survivors.  That’s why it was heartening to see President Trump and the Congress respond to the particular peril faced by older people and those with serious health conditions in the bipartisan CARES Act.  But millions of vulnerable Americans will not receive this needed relief unless all barriers to it are removed as rapidly as possible.  For that reason, we urge you to ensure that SSA, the VA and IRS work together to comply with Congressional intent and ensure that SSI and Veterans beneficiaries are not required to file unnecessary tax returns to claim the rebate payments mandated by the new law.


Max Richtman

President and CEO