Questions and Answers about the Third-round Economic Impact Payment — Topic F: Social Security, Railroad Retirement and Department of Veterans Affairs benefit recipients

These updated FAQs were released to the public in Fact Sheet 2022-22PDF, March 25, 2022.

If you didn't receive, or get the full amount of, the third-round Economic Impact Payment, you may be eligible to claim the 2021 Recovery Rebate Credit and must file a 2021 tax return – even if you don't usually file taxes – to claim it. Your 2021 Recovery Rebate Credit will reduce any tax you owe for 2021 or be included in your tax refund.

If your income is $73,000 or less, you can file your federal tax return electronically for free through the IRS Free File Program. The fastest and most secure way to get your tax refund is to file electronically and have it direct deposited, contactless and free, into your financial account. You can have your refund direct deposited into your bank account, prepaid debit card, or mobile app, and will need to provide routing and account numbers.

If you didn't get the full amounts of the first and second Economic Impact Payments, you may be eligible to claim the 2020 Recovery Rebate Credit and must file a 2020 tax return – even if you don't usually file taxes – to claim it. DO NOT include any information regarding the first and second Economic Impact Payments or the 2020 Recovery Rebate Credit on your 2021 return.

The IRS automatically sent a third-round payment in April 2021 to people who didn't file a return but receive Social Security retirement, survivor, or disability benefits (SSDI), Railroad Retirement benefits, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), or Veterans Affairs benefits. Social Security and other federal beneficiaries generally received this third-round payment the same way as their regular benefits.

The IRS worked directly with the other federal agencies to obtain updated 2021 information for recipients to ensure we sent automatic payments to as many eligible people as possible.

While payments were automatic for beneficiaries based on their federal benefits information, some may need to file a 2021 tax return even if they don't usually file to provide information for a spouse or any qualifying dependent(s). People in this group may file a 2021 tax return to receive an additional payment for their spouse and qualifying dependent(s), if eligible.

See the special section on IRS.gov: Topic B: Claiming the Recovery Rebate Credit if you aren't required to file a 2021 tax return

If you don't normally file a tax return but you need to file a federal tax return for 2021 and have no income or income of $73,000 or less, you can file your Federal tax return electronically for free through the IRS Free File Program.

The third-round of Economic Impact Payments were delivered to the account where your federal benefits are issued.

If you used the Non-Filer tool in 2020 (which is no longer available) to file a federal income tax return, the third payment was sent to the bank account provided for a direct deposit of your tax refund. If your tax refund was mailed or there was no refund on your tax return, then we mailed your payment to the address we have on file for you.

If you filed a 2020 or 2019 tax return: Your Payment was sent to the bank account provided on your tax return for a direct deposit of your tax refund or mailed to the address we have on file if a tax refund was mailed or there was no refund on your tax return. If you did not file a 2020 or 2019 tax return:

  • An Individual Representative Payee would have received third-round Economic Impact Payments in the same direct deposit account or Direct Express card as the recipient's monthly benefit payment.
  • For an Organizational Representative Payee, the payee may have received the third-round Economic Impact Payment electronically or by mail.

See Social Security & Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) for more information.