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."
It's funny to me that CNN was not actively covering the $600 checks that Bush sent out to stimulate the economy. I do remember Michelle obama campaigning for her husband saying "what is $600 going to do for you, it won't even pay your mortgage for one month"...but when her husband sends out a MEASLEY $250, all you left wing media lovers cant help but cover this....
The checks won't do anything for the economy other than create more government debt that will be paid off with higher taxes in the future thereby causing a worse economy at a later date.
I am due to get one, but I wish they would use the money to pay off the little bit of debt that it would, at least it would symbolic.
I will be spending my $250 stimulus money to purchase a new wheelchair. A medical supply company will receive my money.
Or, for the ones that smoke, they can use it to offset the increased taxes they were targeted for under the expansion of the SCHIP bill. It's funny in this country if you're in one group you get special provision under the law to submit a perpetrator to double jeopardy, but if the government does it to you and you aren't in the "protected class" that's just tough.
Beam me up Scotty!
This will be a great help to many of them. Wont solve everything, but its better than nothing! Id be happy with it.
And of course, the GOP republican base seniors will be sending their $250 back to President Obama to help him curtail his socialist spending spree!!!!!! Thanks but not thanks....wink, wink!
Thank you, Mr. President, for this extra money to help with my grown autistic son.
I wanted to know if I would recieve that 250 on my ss check in July
for the month of June. I will recieve my first ss check in July.
Gotta love this state-run PONZI scheme! Hey Obama, why don't you get Bernie to run it for you?
apparently, regardless of income, every retiree will be getting a whopping $250?!
while there are many who need this money to pay for medications or even buy food, what about those retired folks to whom $250 is merely pocket change. couldn't this 'free' money be based on and limited to those under a certain income level?
what a waste of money-sending my tax dollars to many of the retired who don't need it.
What?? A onetime payment of $250. Give me a BREAK! I
I’m sure the seniors are so excited, like I was when I got an EXTRA $7 in my pay check…
CNN, stop covering for Obama so much. This is so pathetic..
Whoopee. And they're talking about freezes for three years?
Retirees will spend, and yes, the economy, much to the dismay of Limbaugh and Beck and Hannity, is on the way back. Go Obama!
The elderly are the richest demographic in America and they're getting $250 per person? Typical political pandering. Rob their grandchildrens' piggy banks later to buy their votes now. Politics in this country is really screwed up.
The $250 is ok but they announced this week that social security is not going to get the COLA increase this year and probably next year too because there is no inflation to calculate. I don't know where they get their inflation info but where I live the price of food, utilities, taxes, rent, gas etc. is continually going up along with Medicare premiums. I guess Wall Street executives need their bonuses more than the elderly trying to decide if they should eat or heat their homes or buy their medications.
It's about time ! As a senior citizen that is struggling in this economy.., 'it's about time and needed'. Mike in Montana
What about us low income Federal Government Retirees that do not draw Social Security and spent our life working for our Government? We need some help as much as the Social Security Seniors, we are also struggling Grandparents that would put the money back into the economy.
Ha... better save that and double it to cover your tax increases next year.