Time Running Out For Payments To Michigan Retirees

Ruzanna Harutyunyan's picture
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In less than a week, it will be too late for retirees and disabled veterans to file for an economic stimulus payment for 2008.

October 15 is the deadline to file an income tax return that will allow them to receive an economic stimulus payment this year from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

"We encourage all eligible Michigan residents to take advantage of this IRS program before it is too late," says Sharon Gire, director of the Michigan Office of Services to the Aging. "Older adults on retirement incomes certainly can benefit from this financial assistance."

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It is estimated that up to 4.5 million individuals have not yet filed to claim these payments, even though they may be eligible because they are the recipients of certain Social Security and Veterans Affairs benefits. They must file an income tax return in order to claim their economic stimulus payments.

For individuals who have no tax liability, and who have no requirements to file a tax return because their income is too low or non-existent, there is a stimulus payment of up to $300 ($600 for married couples) plus a $300 payment for each qualifying child. However, these people must have at least $3,000 in qualifying income, nontaxable combat, and certain Social Security, Veterans Affairs and Railroad Retirement benefits.

Qualifying income from Social Security includes retirement, disability, and survivor benefits. Supplemental Security Income is not a qualifying income. Qualifying Veterans Affairs income includes disability compensation, disability pension and survivor benefits. Qualifying Railroad Retirement Board benefits include the social security equivalent portion of Tier I benefits.

The IRS indicates that money received from economic stimulus payments will generally have no impact on Medicare or Medicaid eligibility or other benefits. In addition, these payments generally will not be counted as income, or require the recipients to file future income tax returns.

Also, those who are dependents or eligible to be dependents on another's tax return are not eligible. People must have a valid Social Security number unless their spouse is a member of the military.

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