A headline published by The U.S. Sun newspaper has led to confusion among some people about whether Americans will soon receive another round of direct payments.
The headline says: “Americans to receive checks worth $1,657 in just FOUR days – and your birthday will decide when you’ll get the cash.” Some social media users are wondering whether that’s true and Google Trends data show people are asking whether everyone will receive the checks worth $1,657.
Are all Americans receiving checks worth $1,657?
- Social Security Administration (SSA)
- U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell (D-AL), a member of the House Ways and Means Committee’s Subcommittee on Social Security
No, all Americans are not receiving checks worth $1,657.
WHAT WE FOUND
The checks worth $1,657 are only for Social Security recipients, not the general public. The Sun newspaper mentions that later in its story but not in the misleading headline. The checks themselves aren’t new either – recipients are just getting a cost-of-living increase in the amount they receive in their monthly benefits payments.
Social Security provides people with income when they retire or can’t work due to disability. Those who are retired can start receiving their Social Security benefits as early as age 62.
On its website, the Social Security Administration (SSA) said Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits for about 70 million Americans would increase by 5.9% in 2022 due to an increase in the cost of living. The cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for the majority of Social Security recipients began in January 2022 and the average payment for all retired workers is now $1,657.
The Social Security Act ties the annual COLA to the increase in the Consumer Price Index, the most widely used measure of inflation which is determined by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Rep. Terri Sewell (D-AL), a member of the House Ways and Means Committee’s Subcommittee on Social Security, said in a press release about the 5.9% increase.
“The COLA protects benefits against losing their purchasing power over time when the cost of rent, food, and other expenses increase,” the press release says. “Medicare premiums – which are deducted from Social Security checks for most beneficiaries – typically consume much of the COLA increase.”
A fact sheet from the SSA also references the $1,657 number that’s quoted in The Sun headline.
SSA estimates that all retired workers will receive average monthly Social Security payments of $1,657 after the 5.9% increase, compared to $1,565 before. For a couple receiving benefits, the average estimated monthly payment jumped from $2,599 to $2,753.
The Sun also mentions in its headline that a person’s birthday determines when they’ll get their check. That’s not new, either.
A schedule that’s been in place since 1997 outlines when Social Security recipients will receive their benefits payments based on their birthday, AARP writes on its website. Previously, all payments went out on the third day of the month but that wasn’t feasible anymore as the number of recipients grew.
The Social Security benefits payment schedule is as follows:
- Those with birthdays on the 1st through the 10th are paid on the second Wednesday of each month.
- Those with birthdays on the 11th through 20th are paid on the third Wednesday of each month.
- Those with birthdays on the 21st through the 31st are paid on the fourth Wednesday of each month.
These payments aren’t related to stimulus checks. The federal government previously sent three rounds of stimulus payments for amounts between $600 and $1,400 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
A fourth stimulus check for all Americans isn’t in the works right now. The Internal Revenue Service’s website only has information pertaining to the first three stimulus checks, with no evidence a fourth check will be coming from the federal government. Congress also hasn’t passed any legislation for a fourth stimulus check.