April 20, 2021

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Start tracking your $1,400 stimulus check status now with this IRS tool – CNET

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There’s more than one reason to use the IRS online tracker tool to get details on your stimulus check.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Did your stimulus check arrive this week? As the IRS continues sending out batches of $1,400 payments, the way you receive your money this time may be a bit confusing. For instance, the agency is sending the third stimulus checks using different payment methods, all depending on the group. Some will receive paper checks or EIP debit cards, while many SSI and SSDI recipients will get their payment on their Direct Express cards. To add to that, “plus-up” direct deposit payments are on the way for people missing money from checks based on their 2019 versus 2020 taxes. (The IRS will disburse payments for veterans receiving VA benefits on April 14.)

It’s all pretty complex, but the IRS tracker can be helpful. It’ll tell you if your check has been processed and scheduled for delivery and the payment method your money will arrive. The tool is also useful for flagging any issues you need to address with the IRS or your bank that might otherwise result in a holdup with your stimulus money. (If your payment never arrives, it’s possible you’ll need to file a payment trace.)

However, the tool is a bit tricky sometimes and doesn’t tell you everything you need to know, including the critical details of how much you might receive and when the check will arrive on your doorstep. We’ll walk you through what to know and do. While you’re here, check out the latest talk about a possible fourth stimulus check. And if you have children, brush up on our child tax credit payment FAQ, including income qualifications and eligibility for child dependents, as well as how much you might get. This story was updated.

Those who receive federal benefits like SSI, SSDI or veterans benefits need to know this about tracking their stimulus money

The IRS tracking tool, called Get My Payment, is designed to share the status of your third stimulus check, which was approved as part of President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion relief package. For people receiving Social Security benefits like SSDI, SSI, the IRS and Treasury note that the Get My Payment tool is being updated with information for federal beneficiaries now. It isn’t clear when information for veterans will be updated in the tool, however, but it’s likely to happen soon as their checks will be disbursed April 14, per the IRS.

What the Get My Payment tool tells you about your third payment

To get the status of your third check using Get My Payment, enter your Social Security number, date of birth, street address and ZIP code. The tool will then display a message with information about your payment.

You’ll be able to see:

  • Whether your money was sent or is scheduled to be sent.
  • The payment method (direct deposit or in the mail).
  • The date your stimulus money was issued.
  • If it can’t yet determine your status — see more below about error messages.

It is unclear if the IRS payment tool will show the status of your plus-up payment. CNET has contacted the IRS to seek clarification.

Details the Get My Payment tool doesn’t say

The IRS doesn’t want you to call if you have payment trouble. The agency says its representatives don’t have information beyond what’s shown in the tool. Here’s what we recommend doing to address a stimulus issue.

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Can you set up direct deposit accounts through the tool?

The IRS stopped sending direct deposits on March 24 — unless you’re a Social Security recipient — but even before then, you couldn’t use the Get My Payment tool to sign up for a new account or correct details about your payment. Even if the IRS is unable to deliver your payment to a bank account and the money is returned to the government, you won’t be able to correct the details online — the IRS says it will resend the money via the mail.

That’s a departure from the first stimulus check, when the IRS encouraged people to register using this tool. 

With the IRS officially extending the 2020 tax filing deadline to May 17 and delaying processing tax returns, trying to register for a new direct deposit account with your 2020 tax return won’t get you into the system quickly enough, especially now that the IRS and Treasury have begun sending paper stimulus checks. However, if you haven’t submitted your taxes yet, signing up for a new direct deposit account could still get you any tax refund faster, and it could also help you receive other benefits quicker, such as a future child tax credit.

Why you’re getting a ‘Payment Status Not Available’ message

Don’t be alarmed if the Get My Payment tool gives you a message that says “Payment Status Not Available.” You may see this message until your payment is processed, according to the IRS. So you may not have to do anything.

But it could also mean you’re not eligible for a payment, according to the IRS. So you may want to double-check your eligibility and plug your numbers in our stimulus check calculator to see if you’re due money.

What the ‘Need More Information’ status means if you see it

According to the IRS FAQ for the 2021 payment, a “Need More Information” message in the Get My Payment tool means your payment was returned because the US Postal Service wasn’t able to deliver it.

The FAQ says you’ll be able to have your payment reissued as a direct deposit by providing a routing and account number for a bank account, a prepaid debit card (the card must be reloadable, the IRS said) or a financial service account that has a routing and account number associated with it. The updated FAQ said you can also update your mailing address to receive your payment.

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The IRS and US Treasury are sending the third round of stimulus payments.

Sarah Tew/CNET

The tracker tool says you got your check, but you actually haven’t. What should you do?

If the IRS’ online tool said the agency has issued your stimulus money, but you have no record of it in your bank account and it never arrived in your mailbox, you may need to take one of these steps, including possibly filing a stimulus check payment trace. You’ll need to have the letter the IRS sent you. It can take 15 days for the letter to arrive in the mail.

How to track your check if it’s being delivered via mail

If your third stimulus check is going out in the mail, the US Postal Service has a free app that notifies you when it’s about to deliver your stimulus money from the IRS. Called Informed Delivery, the mail-tracking service automatically scans your letters and alerts you as to when they’ll be delivered. Here’s more on how to set up and use the letter-tracking service from the USPS to keep tabs on your payment.

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If your money is tied up in any way, the IRS Get My Payment tracking tool will indicate a problem.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Don’t throw away the IRS letter confirming your stimulus check delivery. You may eventually need it

If the IRS issues you a stimulus check, it sends a notice by mail to your last known address within 15 days after making the payment, to confirm delivery. The letter contains information on when and how the payment was made and how to report it to the IRS if you didn’t receive all the money you’re entitled to. You’ll need to reference this information if you don’t receive your full payment and need to claim your money later. Here’s how to recover the information if you lost or tossed the letter.

What to do if you’re still missing money from the first or second round of stimulus checks

The IRS is no longer automatically sending out the first and second payments that were approved in 2020. If you believe you’re still owed money from either of those payment rounds, your best chance of claiming those funds is to file for the Recovery Rebate Credit as part of the tax season 2020

If you’re eligible, you’ll need to know the amount of money the IRS allotted you, which you can find out online or from the letter the agency mailed. The IRS said the updated Get My Payment tracker won’t give you information on the first and second checks. Instead, you need to set up and check your IRS account for information on those two payments.

For more stimulus check details, here’s everything to know about the third check. Here’s every way the March 2021 stimulus bill can benefit you And this is what we know so far about whether a fourth stimulus check could happen.

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