April 18, 2021

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Stimulus check delivery update: New payment dates announced, IRS scorecard – CNET

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If you didn’t get your stimulus check, when’s it coming? If you did, are you sure you got the right amount? Here’s what you need to know.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Tens of millions more stimulus checks are coming in the next week or two, bringing a fresh wave of payments of up to $1,400 per person to new groups of people, including SSI, SSDI and veteran beneficiaries. Whether you’re in this group or not, if you’re still waiting for all or part of your payment to arrive, you’re going to need some additional details about eligibility, payment delivery (here’s how to track your check) and why you might be missing all or part of your check. (Fact: The IRS doesn’t want to hear your stimulus woes.) 

For example, the IRS has stopped making direct deposit, but federal beneficiaries could still get funds added electronically to an existing benefits card (more on that below). Others should expect paper checks and EIP debit cards in the mail (you can track your check to your mailbox).

Tax season could also play a big role in your personal waiting game for your stimulus money. For instance, if the IRS uses your 2019 taxes to calculate your payment and it owes you money based on a changed AGI or new dependents, like a 2020 baby, you may not get your full payment for months. We’ll share possible delays below. While you’re here, this is where discussions stand for a fourth stimulus check and what to know about the child tax credit payments if you have eligible dependents and qualify for the CTC. This story was updated with new information.

Third stimulus check delivery: The IRS scorecard and timeline

The IRS announced a delivery date for SSI and SSDI recipients who are waiting for their payment, especially through Direct Express (see below). The IRS and Treasury distributed 127 million third stimulus payments by March 24 and are now prepping tens of millions more. 

Most people who didn’t receive a direct deposit by March 24 will receive a stimulus payment in the mail as a paper check or EIP debit card. However, people who receive federal benefits will get their stimulus money either as an electronic transfer to an existing benefits card like Direct Express, or in the mail. The IRS will not send EIP cards to this group, the Social Security Administration said.

Note that it could take days between the date the IRS or Treasury processes your particular payment and when you receive it, especially if your check is delivered through the mail. If your life circumstances changed between your second check and now, any complications could hold up your payment. If you moved recently, tell the IRS and USPS.

Here’s how the checks have been sent so far:

Stimulus check scorecard: Payments so far

Direct deposit Paper check EIP card Direct Express card
First payment batch (by March 17) 90 million ($242 billion) 150,000 ($442 million) Not released Not released
Second payment batch (by March 24) 17 million ($38 billion) 15 million ($34 billion) 5 million ($11 billion) Not released
Social Security, including SSI, SSDI Not disclosed Not disclosed Not disclosed Up to 30 million, starting April 3 and 4

You can track your third stimulus payment status 2 ways

The IRS updates its Get My Payment tracker tool for stimulus checks daily. This online app shows you the status of your payment, including when a check is scheduled for delivery. The IRS portal can also flag if there’s a problem with your payment you may need to address, but it doesn’t tell you the amount you’ll receive. You can use a free tool from the USPS to track your mailed stimulus payment.

More details for Social Security, SSI, SSDI, veterans and other federal beneficiaries to know

After a weeks-long holdup, the IRS said it is ready to start making payments for SSDI and SSI recipients, veterans and retired railroad workers, many of whom automatically qualify for the third check approved as part of President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion relief package. The IRS said the first payments for those who receive federal benefits will come the weekend of April 3, and “the majority of these payments would be sent electronically and received on April 7.”

Many will receive their money through a Direct Express card (PDF) if this is how they normally get benefits, and if they didn’t file taxes in 2019 or 2020. However, some in this subset of non-filers could receive an automatic payment sooner if they got a previous check by using the IRS’ Non-Filers tool, which is now closed. In that case, you could get your payment in the current wave. The SSA says this group will not receive an EIP debit card. Here’s our complete guide to stimulus checks for people receiving Social Security benefits.

Stimulus check delivery start and end dates

Stimulus bill passed Congress March 10
Stimulus bill signed into law March 11
First direct deposits made March 12 (provisional), March 17 (official)
First paper checks sent Week of March 15
First EIP cards sent Week of March 22
Last day to get direct deposit March 24
First Social Security, SSI, SSDI payment sent Weekend of April 3
IRS deadline to finish sending checks Dec. 31, 2021 (mandated by the bill)
Last date to receive a check January 2022 (if mailed checks sent late December)
Claims for missing stimulus money open 2021 tax season likely (in 2022)

Here’s what may delay or split up your stimulus check delivery

Here’s more information on problems you might encounter with your stimulus check.

Now playing: Watch this: Stimulus check 3: How much money you’ll get


If there’s an issue with your payment, the IRS doesn’t want you to call. Do this instead

Sorry, but the IRS really doesn’t want you to call if you have any issue with the delivery or amount of your stimulus check. So what to do instead? See our guide that walks you through how to report stimulus check problems, including checks that never arrive (try filing a payment trace), direct deposit payments that go to the wrong account and more. 

Why your tax return situation could present a delivery snag

Taxes are now due May 17. So how will the IRS figure out how much it owes you? It will calculate your total (you can also do that here) based on the most recent tax filing it’s processed at the time it’s ready to tabulate your check.


If you don’t get all your stimulus check money right away, you may need to address the issue down the road.

Sarah Tew/CNET

If you filed your 2020 taxes early and you know your tax return was already processed, your total will likely be based on your 2020 adjusted gross income, not on your 2019 AGI. That presents complications if the difference between the two years disqualifies you from getting a third stimulus check

On the flip side, if the IRS uses your 2019 taxes and you’re owed more money based on your 2020 AGI and dependents, you’ll need to claim the difference at a later date. (Learn more about some of the stimulus check exceptions and catches here.)

If you end up missing money from your stimulus check, you’ll need to claim it later

There are several reasons the IRS may owe you stimulus money after it sends out the third round of checks. Maybe the agency processed your 2019 tax return instead of 2020 and there was a discrepancy? Or maybe you had a baby in 2020 that you still need to claim as a dependent? Maybe a clerical error accidentally left out a new dependent? Perhaps your payment never arrived or was accidentally garnished?

Whatever the reason, the IRS may provide a way to file for missing stimulus money before the Dec. 31 deadline. If not, you might have to wait a year to claim it, when you file your 2021 taxes in 2022 (even if you’re a non-filer who isn’t typically required to file taxes.)


Millions may wind up getting a smaller check than they’re owed, depending on their 2020 taxes.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Stimulus payments could technically still arrive into December

Although the IRS and Treasury are sending stimulus checks now, the agencies have until Dec. 31, 2021, to complete distributing the third payments. That’s good news in the sense they aren’t facing a compressed deadline to send out all the checks, as they did with the second stimulus check in December, which only gave them a 17-day window to get the payments out. 

On the other hand, the nearly nine-month delivery window also means some people may find themselves waiting for their payment, for a variety of reasons. We’ll have to wait and see how the IRS deals with any fringe issues that arise, such as the need to claim missing money. 

Additional stimulus information these specific groups should know

Stimulus checks aren’t necessarily a one-size-fits-all situation. Here are additional guides for:

And here’s everything you need to know about the third stimulus check, how to calculate your stimulus total and every way the stimulus bill can bring you more money.


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