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Lankford Applauds Decision to Give Senior Adults, Disability Recipients Automatic Access to Direct Cash Payments

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – Earlier this week, following initial reports that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) was going to require senior adults and others to file tax returns in order to receive the direct cash assistance for COVID-19, Senator James Lankford (R-OK) joined his colleagues in urging the IRS to use authority Congress gave them and qualify seniors automatically. Last night, the Treasury Department immediately clarified that Social Security retirement and disability recipients will not need to file an abbreviated tax return, but the cash payments will be automatically deposited into their bank accounts or sent via mail. 

“The federal government’s work to roll out the CARES Act economic relief has been as fast as possible, and these types of details can and should be successfully worked out to ensure a smooth process for Oklahomans, especially our senior adults and disabled individuals. In a time of need, we must provide a way for people to access relief as efficiently as they can,” said Lankford. “This was a simple clarification to help alleviate an additional, unnecessary hurdle for people to receive help. As my office has encountered questions and rollout concerns, we have worked to track down those answers and find resolution wherever possible. I encourage Oklahomans to remain engaged with me and my office to work on addressing issues like this as we go forward.”

Included in the CARES Act, Congress gave the IRS the authority to waive a tax-filing requirement for seniors and others who normally do not file taxes in order for them to receive the direct cash assistance. Early this week, it was reported that the IRS would require these individuals to file taxes creating confusion among seniors in Oklahoma and across the country on whether or not they would get access to the direct cash assistance.

Lankford remains engaged remotely and via phone with Oklahomans from all areas of the state via telephone town halls, social media, conference calls with local businesses and organizations, and through regular updates to the current issues page of his website. Last week, Lankford connected with more than 20,000 Oklahomans to share updates on the latest from the CARES Act implementation and on the federal and state government’s response to the coronavirus outbreak.