WASHINGTON – Last night, following calls from Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Maggie Hassan (D-NH) and their colleagues, the U.S. Treasury Department announced that Social Security recipients will automatically receive direct cash assistance included in the CARES Act without having to file tax returns.

Earlier in the day yesterday, Senators Brown and Hassan led a group of 41 colleagues in raising alarms over guidance that the IRS issued earlier this week that said that Social Security beneficiaries would need to file tax returns in order to receive direct cash payments. This directly contradicted Congressional intent in drafting the CARES Act, which had made clear that the Treasury Department had the authority to send automatic direct cash assistance to Social Security beneficiaries regardless of whether they file taxes.

“Seniors and individuals who experience disabilities are especially vulnerable as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread, and they cannot afford to miss out on the direct cash assistance included in the CARES Act,” said Sens. Brown and Hassan. “That’s why in drafting the law, Congress made it explicitly clear that Social Security beneficiaries do not need to take any additional action in order to receive their payments. It is unfortunate that the IRS created confusion with its guidance this week, but we are very pleased that the Treasury Department reversed course and will now get this cash to Social Security beneficiaries automatically as Congress intended.”

Click here to read the letter sent earlier today by Sens. Brown and Hassan, along with Sens. Bob Casey (D-PA), Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Thomas R. Carper (D-DE), Michael F. Bennet (D-CO), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD), Mark R. Warner (D-VA), Richard J. Durbin (D-IL), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Doug Jones (D-AL), Jack Reed (D-RI), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Edward J. Markey (D-MA), Gary C. Peters (D-MI), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Bernard Sanders (I-VT), Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI), Tom Udall (D-NM), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Angus S. King, Jr. (I-ME), Tina Smith (D-MN), Christopher A. Coons (D-DE), Patty Murray (D-WA), Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Chris Murphy (D-CT), and Maria Cantwell (D-WA).