WASHINGTON (CNN) – An estimated 50 million Social Security recipients will receive their one-time $250 economic stimulus check in May - several weeks ahead of schedule, Vice President Joe Biden announced Thursday.
Biden also announced the distribution of $3.2 billion in new funding for state and local energy efficiency programs from the Department of Energy.
The checks to Social Security recipients, worth a total of $13 billion, "will make a big difference in the lives of older Americans and people with disabilities – many of whom have been hit especially hard by the economic crisis that has swept across the country," Biden said in a written statement.
The energy efficiency funds will come in the form of "formula grants for projects that reduce total energy use and fossil fuel emissions," according to a separate White House statement.
"Local leaders will have the flexibility in how they put these (energy efficiency) resources to work – but we will hold them accountable for making the investments quickly and wisely to spur the local economy and cut energy use," Biden said.
Biden, who made the announcement at a meeting with several cabinet and other senior White House officials, is the administration's point man in overseeing the distribution of the $787 billion stimulus plan. He is being assisted by former Interior Department Inspector General Earl Devaney, who has been tapped to head a new Recovery Act Transparency and Accountability Board.