The so-called senior payment—$250 for individuals, $500 for couples The check is almost in the mail. Barely three months from now, in May, retirees and other Social Security beneficiaries will get an extra $250 per person from Uncle Sam, as part of the economic stimulus bill signed into law on Tuesday. The so-called senior payment—$250 for individuals, $500 for couples who both receive some Social Security benefit—will go to retirees, older veterans, SSI (Supplemental Security Income) beneficiaries, and people with disabilities. Recipients won’t have to fill out a tax form or do anything—unlike the stimulus rebate of 2008. They just wait for the money to show up. They’ll get the money the same way they get Social Security—either through direct deposit or a check in the mail. Federal and state retirees who don’t receive Social Security benefits also will qualify to receive the payment but may have to file 2009 tax returns to receive it. The $250 senior payment was never included in the House-authored draft of the stimulus package approved in late January; it wound up in the Senate bill after being proposed by Max Baucus, D-Mont., chairman of the powerful Senate Finance Committee. The provision also was strongly promoted by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I. AARP supported the measure early on. In a letter to lawmakers, the association argued that many retirees would be ineligible for workers’ tax credits but were in need of hardship relief. It cited research showing that older people tend to spend such payments “immediately.”
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