Congress taking a look at rebate process
HEART Act now official

IRS still looking for 5M rebate recipients

Around 5 million people are eligible for rebate checks, but have yet to file the necessary 1040 forms to collect the money.

Some of these folks are like the hubby and me, procrastinators who filed for an extension.

But the most of the yet-to-be-delivered checks are destined for individuals who receive Social Security and some veterans' benefits. That group, which usually doesn't have to file tax returns, is still lagging despite IRS rebate notification efforts.

Douglas_shulman_irs_commish_2 IRS Commissioner Douglas H. Shulman (that's him there at right) told lawmakers at a hearing Thursday on the rebate process (blogged about here) that the agency sent notices in March to an estimated 20 million rebate-eligible recipients of government benefits.

Only 15 million of those folks, however, have filed returns.

That's the law: Other retirees were the concern of one Congressman. Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas) told the Commissioner that many seniors in his East Texas district were still confused about eligibility requirements.

Retired teachers, especially those who retired many years ago and had low salaries and small pensions now find they will not be receiving rebates, noted Brady. Is that correct, Brady asked Shulman.

"The law was written specifically that you had to have $3,000 in income or exempted benefits," replied Shulman. "Social Security counts. Private pension benefits don't count. That's the law."

When Brady continued to press the point, Shulman repeated his answer: "That's the law."

I totally understand Brady's concern about his retired teacher constituents. And having worked in a Congressional office, I know how persistent folks with problems can be and how frustrating it is when you can't help them.

But in this case, the ineligibility is not an IRS issue. The agency is simply administering the law that Congress passed.

The questioning does make me wonder though just how many of Brady's colleagues also are unclear as to what they agreed to in passing the economic stimulus measure.


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