WASHINGTON (CNN) – Grandparents, retirees and struggling seniors have waited months for this.
Tens of millions of Social Security recipients will see their bank accounts jump by $250 starting Thursday, when the government began sending out checks and transferring funds for a one-time boost coming from the stimulus bill passed in February.
The payments are flowing to nearly 55 million seniors and retirees between now and June fourth, with a huge chunk of checks hitting the mail this week.
"Approximately half of them will be out in the next day or two," Social Security Commissioner Michael Astrue told CNN Thursday.
The money will arrive in the same way that each person receives their regular Social Security or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) funds. Thus, if a person receives a Social Security check in the mail, the $250 stimulus payment will also appear in their mailbox. An increasing amount of people use direct deposit, so many seniors and SSI recipients could see the $250 boost in their accounts immediately.
Social Security and SSI recipients make up the largest groups to get the stimulus money, but it will also go out to railroad retirees and disabled veterans. Those agencies will release the funds separately.
All told, the government estimates some 64 million Americans will receive the one-time stimulus checks this year, at a cost of $13 billion to the federal budget.
This comes as the Obama administration continues a public relations push to show the $787 billion stimulus act is warming up the economy. Astrue noted that these $250 payments are going out weeks before the deadline and are, by far, the largest single stimulus payment to individual Americans.
"This is a point in time where some of the first big chunks of stimulus money is actually going into the economy," Astrue said.
Meanwhile, there is vigorous debate over how stimulus payments are spent in tough times. Will the checks do anything for the overall economy?
Astrue's agency has asked seniors to e-mail and tell what they plan to do with the $250. He admits that some expect to save the money or pay off debts, but he insists that many responses list hands-on spending.
"We get people who say they'll buy paint, we get people who say they'll buy furniture," he said. "Quite a few of our recipients say they'll buy clothes or school supplies for their grandkids."
We should not have had to pay these dollars in taxes in the first place.
Wow, gramms will now be able to take her kids to the local diner for dinner.
Thanks Obama, just what we needed.
Can't wait to see how the right bashes this!
Let the seniors fend for themselves. They don't work, why should we pay for them to sit around and eat?...etc... lol, "Christians", one and all.
Please just send my check directly to my credit card company.
Truthfully, it should be more.
P "O" and VP "B", Thank you!
This really comes in handy to my father. Thank you and may God bless you President Obama!
Thank you President Obama for looking out for the seniors! To the party of no (rethugs), no thanks to you.
I am very upset about this stimulus payment. I was informed that my two children that still receive survivor's benefits for their deceased father will not be getting the $250. I have raised them, alone, since he passed in 1996 and I believe they should get it. It's very expensive to raise children, especially, if one parent is gone. The social security they get now does not put a dent in anything and I feel betrayed that my children would not be part of the group that receives this stimulus because they are minors receiving survivor's benefits. It's amazing how children getting SSI will still get their $250. Not sure how that's fair.
It's called "buying votes" – a time-honored Chicago tradition.
Mitt Romney doesn't know anything about healthcare and he doesn't care about health of Americans. He is just a bitter CEO who wants tax breaks for the rich.
I take care of my mom who lives with me and has Alzheimers. The check will go to pay for one months supply of one of her medications.
There already here. We're paying some bills, how about you?
I am not a Senior, but am disabled.Am eagerly awaiting mine
$250.00 can be alot of money for seniors on fixed incomes like me. That will pay for my groceries and gas.
Wow! $250 whole dollars! Woohoo!
And it will cost these seniors NOTHING, other than adding several, several more percentage points on the tax burden of their children, grandchildren, great grandchildren and great-great grandchildren.
But hey, no bother. These seniors won't be alive when their poor chump descendents are working for 30 cents on the dollar to pay for vote-buying, er uh, I mean "social spending" for seniors who will have been dead and buried for decades.
Ah yes, happy days, happy days are here again!
So the moral of the story is:
Bush's debt in eight years = bad. (boo hiss!)
Obamas's debt, four times larger than Bushes debt and accumlated in a mere 60 days = good. (Yes we can! Yes we can! Hope and change! Hope and change!)
Now, kiddies, enjoy your kool aid.
It sure as heck is gonna raise heckling response from the repubs, simply, to sound off their seethin' sentiments of suppressed anger. Just you wait 'n' see.
Congrats Gramps, Now you can get that new Hip you've been wanting!! What's that you say, Hip surgery will cost you about $50,000? Oh well, better luck next year. Maybe you can just buy $250 worth of Aleve instead.
I wonder how many of the elderly teabagger will return this socalist handout. I'm guessing none, because this is spending they can get behind !
Is everyone getting another stimulus check too or just old people? ;)
All I hear is the whining about how we are not paying them enough. Truly an entitled generation, perfect Obama supporters.
Personally, I really don't need the money and prefer the nation keep it, but since I have no choich ofe, I've matched it and bought $5,000 worth of junk!!! What ever....
Thank you Mr. President and staff. Plenty of mothers will have a great mother's day, and plenty of senior husbands who otherwise could not afford to buy their wives or mothers a gift, may have the opportunity to now....
Whoa I know that the economy will bounce back now. Don't spend that all in one place.
Obama buying the senior vote. Why is Obama spending money still considered newsworthy? That is all he knows how to do.