iImage: Vice President Joe Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi
Win McNamee  /  Getty Images
Vice President Biden oversees the enactment of the stimulus program. He noted that a tax cut included in the stimulus bill will take effect in just a few days, on April 1.
updated 3/26/2009 3:34:34 PM ET 2009-03-26T19:34:34

People who collect Social Security or disability benefits will share $13 billion in federal money, each receiving a one-time, $250 payment beginning in May, Vice President Joe Biden said Thursday.

Biden also announced that $3.2 billion in grants are available for energy efficiency and conservation projects nationwide.

Both pots of money are from the economic recovery bill President Barack Obama signed into law in February. Obama says the $787 billion measure will help end the recession by saving and creating 3.5 million jobs by the end of 2010, and putting money into people's pockets.

More than 50 million recipients of Social Security and Supplemental Security Income, or SSI, will receive the $250 payments.

The payments will begin in May and continue during the month. Recipients won't have to do anything to get the money, which will be sent separately from their regular monthly benefit.

Biden noted that the Social Security Administration was about six weeks ahead of schedule for distributing the payments.

Video: Biden, Pelosi on budget "These folks need the money," he said at the start of a meeting on the stimulus program with Cabinet secretaries and representatives from other departments. "People are going to be actually spending that money."

Biden oversees enactment of the stimulus program.

The vice president also noted that a tax cut included in the stimulus bill will take effect in just a few days, on April 1.

The administration says about 95 percent of working families will find a few extra dollars on their paychecks starting next month after their employers adjust tax withholding formulas. Individuals will get up to $400 total, and married couples $800.

"Every day, every week, we see these funds going from Washington into American communities and I believe we're starting to see some mild impact from this already," Biden said before reporters were escorted out of his office in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building.

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"We have 18 months to get this job done, and get it done right," Biden said.

There were signs this week that consumers' appetites to spend might be stirring again. Obama also spoke Thursday at an online town hall at the White House about a significant jump in applications to refinance home mortgages.

Asked whether it was too soon to say the recession had hit bottom, Biden said he thought it was premature.

"But we're hopeful," he said.

Biden also announced $3.2 billion in grants for energy efficiency and conservation projects that reduce energy use and fossil fuel emissions. That money is on top of $8 billion the Energy Department recently released for spending on weatherization and state energy projects.

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