BLUEFIELD — Residents who receive Social Security will not see an interruption in payments and will receive the stimulus relief money as well.

They also need to be aware of scammers.

Andrew Saul, Social Security Commissioner, released a statement last week assuring recipients all their benefits will continue and on time.

“Social Security will pay monthly benefits on time and these payments will not be affected by the COVID-19 pandemic,” Saul said, adding it also includes SSI (Social Security Income) disability payments.

Saul also cautioned recipients to never provide personal information or respond to any offer related to payments via gift cards, wire transfers, internet currency or mailing cash.

“I want our beneficiaries to be aware that scammers may try to trick you into thinking the pandemic is stopping or somehow changing your Social Security payments, but that is not true,” he said. “Don’t be fooled.”

Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) announced Thursday that the Internal Revenue Service and the Department of the Treasury will automatically qualify seniors for the direct Economic Impact Payments.

Social Security recipients will not need to file an abbreviated tax return and “cash payments will be automatically deposited into their bank accounts.”

Those payments are included in the coronavirus (COVID-19) phase three relief package.

Individuals who make less than $75,000 year will receive $1,200 and a couple $2,400 with in an income under $150,000 will receive $24,000.

“In this global pandemic, the last thing seniors should be worried about is more government bureaucracy keeping them from the assistance they need,” Capito said. “I’m glad Treasury listened to the bipartisan concerns on this issue. West Virginia seniors can rest a little easier knowing their assistance will be in their bank accounts soon.”

Capito is also trying to spur action against scammers who target the elderly.

She also continues to hose tele-town hallshalls, speaking with constituents all across the state about their individual coronavirus concerns. She will continue to hold these regularly in an effort to hear directly from constituents, while also following social distancing guidelines.

Saul also said the agency continues to direct the public to its online self-service options whenever possible. Local offices are closed to the public but are available by phone. People can find their local field office phone number by accessing the Field Office Locator.

To allow available agents to provide better phone coverage, the agency has temporarily changed the National 800 Number hours. Those hours are now 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. local time. The agency is experiencing longer than normal wait times on the 800 Number and asks the public to remain patient, use its online services at www.socialsecurity.gov, or call their local office.

Please visit the agency’s COVID-19 web page at www.socialsecurity.gov/coronavirus/ for important information and updates.

— Contact Charles Boothe at cboothe@bdtonline.com

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