Democrats in the United States Congress are urging Donald Trump‘s administration to issue direct payments automatically to recipients of Veterans Affairs (VA) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits, reports The Hill.
In a letter to the leaders of the Veterans Affairs Department, Social Security Administration, and Treasury Department, a group of more than 40 Democratic senators wrote that “This is the fastest, most-effective way to provide desperately needed help to more than 3 million low-income veterans, seniors, and people with disabilities.”
Sens. Sherrod Brown of Ohio, Cory Booker of New Jersey, Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire, and Michael Bennet of Colorado led the effort in the upper chamber.
“Treasury should not require people with disabilities and low-income veterans and seniors to file a form to receive stimulus payments when the federal government already has the information it needs,” they wrote.
Instead, they wrote, the Treasury should utilize the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Social Security Administration’s data to speed up the process and ensure automatic payments.
Democrats in the House of Representatives sent a letter of their own, arguing that the recipients of benefits through the Department of Veterans Affairs or the Supplemental Security Income program should not have to wait to file their tax returns in order to receive the much-needed relief.
“Requiring SSI and VA recipients to file tax returns in order to get the payments would create artificial and needless bureaucratic hurdles for millions of the most vulnerable individuals in our society, and would put them at risk of experiencing a delay or a complete inability to receive their payments,” House Democrats wrote.
Reps. Richard Neal of Massachusetts, Mark Takano of California, and Danny Davis of Illinois — each of them involved in key House committees — took the lead on the letter.
As The Hill notes, the coronavirus bill that Congress passed and Trump signed authorizes a direct cash payment to most Americans, but Democrats are seeking to simplify the process so that those who have not filed their tax returns in 2018 or 2019 don’t slip through the cracks.
Some claim that the economic stimulus measures passed by Congress and supported by Trump don’t go far enough. Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, a Democratic White House Hopeful, said in an interview on Friday that the government needs to intervene in the economy in order to prevent a total collapse.
According to Sanders, every worker needs to receive “100 percent” of their paycheck during the pandemic. Given that between 30 and 40 million people could lose their jobs in the coming months, such measures are necessary, according to Sanders.