Protecting Your COVID-19 Relief Check

January 14, 2021 / COVID-19

With a new round of Government COVID-relief payments hitting bank accounts in the new year, it’s important for people with disabilities – and especially people living in long term care facilities – to understand their rights when it comes to those payments.

How will I get my stimulus check if I receive Social Security benefits?

The money will be sent to you in the same way you ordinarily receive your Social Security benefits: either directly deposited to your bank account, sent to you on a debit card, or mailed to you in a paper check. However, the money is coming from the IRS, and it is not actually a Social Security benefit.

How will I get my stimulus check if I have a representative payee?

If you receive Social Security benefits and you have a payee, the stimulus money will be sent to your payee. It could be sent directly to your payee's bank account for you, or mailed to your payee on a debit card or paper check.

Does my representative payee get to decide what to do with the money?

No: the stimulus checks are coming from the IRS, so they are not Social Security benefits, and your payee can only manage your Social Security benefits. Therefore, your payee should give all the stimulus money directly to you, and you can decide to spend it however you want. You can ask for your payee's help to spend or save it, but your payee should follow your choices about the money.

Does the stimulus check count toward my $2000 resource limit?

No: the stimulus check does not count as income for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients, and the payments are excluded from resources.

If you believe your access to these COVID-19 relief funds has been interfered with, or if you have questions about your rights, you should call Disability Rights Ohio’s Intake Line at 614-466-7264 or 1-800-282-9181, press option 2, and leave a message. We will return your call.

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