The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act
One-Time Economic Recovery Payments

Frequently Asked Questions

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Q - Who will receive the Economic Recovery Payments?

A - Individuals who receive Social Security, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Railroad Retirement, and Veterans' Compensation and Pension benefits will receive a one-time payment of $250, with a potential economic impact of over $16 billion dollars.

Q - What federal agencies will issue these payments?

A - The U.S. Department of the Treasury's Financial Management Service (FMS), in coordination with the Social Security Administration (SSA), the Railroad Retirement Board (RRB), and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), will be responsible for issuing these payments. SSA, RRB and VA will certify the payments and provide the payment information to FMS. FMS is responsible for disbursing the payments on behalf of SSA, RRB and VA.

Q - What do I need to do to receive the payment?

A - No action is required on your part to receive this payment.

Q - How will I receive the payment?

A - The payment will be issued in the same way we currently issue your benefit:

  • If you receive your monthly benefit by check, you will receive your one-time payment by check.
  • If you receive your monthly benefit by direct deposit, your one-time payment will be sent directly to your bank account.

Q - Will the payment be included in my regular monthly benefit payment?

A - No. The payment will be issued separately and will not be included in your regular benefit payment.

Q - What if I receive both social security and veterans' benefits? Will I receive two economic recovery payments?

A - No. If you receive more than one type of benefit payment, you will receive only one payment. For example, if you receive a Social Security benefit and/or SSI, and you also receive a Veterans' Compensation and Pension and/or a Railroad Retirement benefit; you will only receive one $250 payment.

Q - When will I receive the payment?

A - FMS will begin issuing the payments in May 2009 and will continue issuing payments in July 2009.

Q - Who should I call if I don't receive a payment?

A - If you have not received a payment before the end of July 2009, you should contact the agency from which you receive your benefit payment.

Social Security
Supplemental Security Income
Railroad Retirement
Veterans Affairs

Q - What happens if I owe a debt to the federal government or to a state government agency?

A - If you owe a delinquent child support debt or a debt to a federal or state agency, the law requires FMS to offset these one-time payments to collect the debt owed. If all or part of your economic recovery payment is offset, you will receive a letter notifying you of the action. The recovery payments will be matched against a debtor database that includes debtor information provided by other federal and state agencies. If a match occurs, that payment will be offset as payment for the debt that is owed. If you have any questions about any child support or federal debts that you may owe, contact the state or federal agency to which the debt is owed. See section 2201(c)(4) of the Recovery Act (page 339) for offset authority.

Q - How many payments will be made?

A - FMS plans to issue over 64 million payments to benefit recipients.

Q - What is the role of FMS in issuing these payments?

A - FMS will disburse the economic recovery payments from its four regional financial centers located in Philadelphia, PA, Kansas City, MO, Austin, TX, and San Francisco, CA. FMS will be able to issue these payments without hiring additional staff or extending current shifts.

Issuance of economic recovery payments will in no way interfere with, delay or otherwise affect normal FMS payment processing of Social Security, SSI, Veterans' Compensation and Pension or Railroad Retirement benefits; or vendor or tax refund payments.

Q - How many economic recovery payments will be made electronically and how many by paper check?

A - FMS plans to issue more than 64 million payments to benefit recipients with a potential economic impact of more than $16 billion dollars. We estimate that more than 53 million of these payments will be made electronically, which saves the taxpayers approximately $20 million.

Those individuals who receive payments electronically will receive their funds on the payment date because electronic payments are so much more efficient than paper checks. Contact your paying agency to choose and electronic payment method for this economic recovery payment as well as for your FUTURE benefit payments.

Q - What are the advantages of electronic payments over check payments?

A - Payments made electronically are safer, more secure, less expensive and more convenient than checks and provide better protection against fraud and identity theft. With direct deposit, your money goes straight into your account on your payment date each month, thus giving you more control over your money. It eliminates the risk of stolen checks and forged signatures and helps protect you from identity theft. Direct deposit also provides immediate access to your money from virtually anywhere.

It's easy to sign up for direct deposit, and it only takes a few minutes. If you receive SSA, SSI or VA benefit payments, call the Go Direct toll-free helpline at (800) 333-1795, or enroll online at All recipients can also sign up at a bank or credit union or by calling your paying agency (SSA, VA, or RRB), or by visiting a local office of your paying agency.

In order to receive your economic recovery payment via direct deposit you must sign up before April 20, 2009.

Link to Your Money At Work. This will take you out of the FMS Web site.

Return to Financial Management Service Information Related to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009

   Last Updated:  March 14, 2014