About Face! Treasury Caves to Complaints Over Eligibility for Virus Relief Checks

The U.S. Treasury Department has done an about face after mounting criticism from disenfranchised groups of seniors, including 9.3 million veterans, prompted lawmakers to pressure the administration to revisit its decision to require seniors file tax returns in order to receive Corona Virus Relief checks.

The fly in their ointment was simply that the tax preparer resources to help file those tax returns are unavailable as all those shops are closed due to the virus.

While the idea of using the crisis as an opportunity to get more people, especially retirees, onto the books, formally filing their taxes, it wasn’t feasible.

U.S Treasury made a statement late on Wednesday, reversing its original decision.

“Social Security recipients who are not typically required to file a tax return need to take no action and will receive their payment directly to their bank account,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement.

Will Attig, the leader of the Union Veterans Council, AFL-CIO representing 1.2 million veteran workers across America and a combat veteran who served with the U.S. Army’s 1-26 Infantry Regiment the Blue Spaders, published an Op-Ed in Air Force Times calling for the Treasury to make the change.

Attig said half of the country’s retired veterans would be impacted by the rule.

“We are calling on the administration to immediately reverse its course and automatically add the benefits that these individuals have the right to receive. It is alarming that this will also affect hundreds of thousands of our most wounded veterans who receive service-connected disability deemed unemployable and do not file tax returns.”

The idea of both sheltering in place and also having to go out to a tax office made no sense, Attig said.

“This will no doubt lead to members of this high-risk community having to expose themselves to COVID-19 in order to receive a benefit they already have the right to receive.”

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