IRS issuing third Economic Impact Payments to non-filers and most federal beneficiaries

COVID Tax Tip 2021-43, April 5, 2021

The IRS continues to issue the third Economic Impact Payment to eligible individuals. This includes Social Security recipients and other federal beneficiaries who do not normally file a tax return. Most of these payments will be sent electronically and received on April 7.

Most of these payments will be sent electronically – by direct deposits or to existing Direct Express cards – they should arrive on the official payment date of April 7.

This round of third payments applies to eligible Social Security retirement, survivor or disability, Supplemental Security Income, and Railroad Retirement Board beneficiaries who don't file tax returns. In addition, many federal beneficiaries who filed a 2019 or 2020 tax return or used the Non-Filers tool last year were issued Economic Impact Payments, if eligible, during the last three weeks, along with other taxpayers.

These beneficiaries can use the Get My Payment tool to find out when and how the payment was issued.

Payments are automatic for most people

Most Social Security retirement and disability beneficiaries, railroad retirees and recipients of veterans benefits who are eligible for the third EIP don't need to take any action to receive a payment. They will generally receive this third payment the same way that they receive their regular benefits.

The third payment will be automatic for eligible beneficiaries. However, some people may need to file a 2020 tax return even if they don't usually file. This will provide the information the IRS needs to send a third payment for a spouse or any qualified dependent. Eligible benefit recipients can file a 2020 tax return to receive a third payment for their eligible spouse or dependent even if they have already received their own third payment.

When someone files their 2020 tax return, they may also be eligible to claim the 2020 recovery rebate credit for their spouse and any qualifying children who were under age 17 at the end of 2020. People can visit for details about claiming the 2020 recovery rebate credit if they aren't required to file a tax return. The third payment is not claimed on the 2020 tax return or used to calculate the 2020 recovery rebate credit.

People who don't normally file a tax return but need to file one for 2020 and have income of $72,000 or less, can file electronically using IRS Free File. The IRS will continue to issue third payments throughout the year as tax returns are processed.

Watch mail for checks or EIP Cards

The form of payment for the third EIP may be different for some people including Social Security and other federal beneficiaries. More people are receiving direct deposits, while those receiving payments in the mail may receive a paper check or a prepaid debit card called an EIP Card. Eligible people can check Get My Payment to see how their payment will be issued.

More details on this third round of EIP and federal benefit recipients are available on the frequently asked questions page on

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