Tester, Moran Call on VA to Ensure All Veterans Receive CARES Act Relief Money

(U.S. Senate) – Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee Ranking Member Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and Chairman Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) today urged VA Under Secretary for Benefits, Dr. Paul Lawrence, to develop a plan between the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to ensure veterans and other VA beneficiaries, who are not required to file tax returns, are still provided their Economic Impact Payment in a timely manner without having to file additional burdensome paperwork.

“We’re glad VA is committed to working as quickly as possible to disburse economic stimulus payments directly to qualifying veterans,” said Ranking Member Tester and Chairman Moran. “In addition, leveraging existing resources and data with the IRS will reduce bureaucratic hurdles for our veterans and get them the needed CARES Act relief money faster.”

Under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the IRS will automatically send stimulus payments to eligible taxpayers who filed a 2018 or 2019 tax return. This week, the IRS issued updated guidance that it would use existing Social Security Administration records to generate $1,200 Economic Impact Payments to Social Security recipients who did not file tax returns in 2018 or 2019. Working quickly with VA, the IRS should use a similar solution for veterans who receive disability, pension or GI Bill benefits, to guarantee those who are not otherwise required to file tax returns get their Economic Impact Payment via direct deposit.

Veterans without income tax liabilities should not have to go through the burdensome process of filing even an abbreviated return to receive this CARES benefit. This will be particularly difficult during a time when Taxpayer Assistance Centers are closed and important social distancing efforts will prevent Taxpayer Advocates and other resources from helping veterans.