How to Check on Your Stimulus Payment
Wondering where your economic impact payment is? Here’s how to track your stimulus check and what to do if you have problems
Have you found yourself suddenly unemployed or struggling to pay bills because of the coronavirus situation? The U.S. government’s economic impact payments, or “stimulus checks,” may provide some relief.
The IRS started making direct deposit payments and mailing checks in April. It began mailing debit cards in May. Of those who qualify for a payment, 130 million people received theirs in the first four weeks. But if yours hasn’t arrived yet, you’re far from alone. The IRS has told Congress it will make stimulus payments in stages over the course of multiple weeks. And it could take months for all the payments to be delivered.
So how can you look out for your stimulus payment, and what happens if you encounter a problem?
Checking for Your Stimulus Payment: What You Can Expect
The IRS’s Get My Payment application is the only official way to find out when you’re scheduled to receive your stimulus check. It will also tell you how you’ll receive your payment—by direct deposit, by prepaid debit card or by check.
The app will ask you to enter your Social Security number or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, your date of birth, your street address and your ZIP code.
If you’re eligible for a payment, it should then show your payment status, whether it’s been scheduled, and how and where it will be delivered.
You may see that your payment has already been made or that it’s scheduled to be made.
If you’re scheduled to receive a direct deposit, just make sure the account on file is yours. If you don’t recognize the account and you suspect identity theft, contact the IRS.
An unfamiliar account number might also have something to do with how you filed your taxes. For example, if you used a tax preparation company, the IRS might have the tax preparer’s account on file instead of yours. Or if you got your tax refund loaded onto a prepaid debit card, your payment might have been directed to the bank account created for that product.
The IRS says if it issues a direct deposit and the bank information is invalid or the bank account has been closed, the bank will reject the deposit. Your payment will then be mailed to the address the IRS has on file. Just keep an eye on the Get My Payment app. It should be updated to tell you when your payment will be mailed.
What Does “Payment Status Not Available” Mean?
Some Get My Payment users might see a “Payment Status Not Available” message. It could be a sign you’re not eligible for the payment. But you could be getting this message for any number of reasons. Here are a couple of things you should consider:
Does the IRS have everything it needs from me?
If you’re required to file a federal tax return but haven’t yet for 2018 or 2019, you may need to file your taxes before the IRS can send you your payment.
If your income is low enough that you don’t normally file a tax return, the IRS may need more information from you. You can either visit the IRS non-filers portal to submit your personal details or file a 2019 tax return for free.
Could the IRS still be working on my payment?
It’s possible the IRS is still processing your information. This might be true if you recently filed your tax return and hadn’t filed for 2018—or if you provided information through the non-filers portal.
Another reason you might see a “Payment Status Not Available” message is because you receive other federal support through programs such as Social Security, the Railroad Retirement Board, Supplemental Security Income or Veterans Affairs. The IRS could still be working to issue your payment with the agency that pays your regular benefits. You should get your payment the same way you would normally receive your federal benefits.
And if you filed a paper return this year, you could face a delay in your payment. The IRS has said that paper returns will only be processed once their centers are able to reopen.
More Ideas if You’re Still Having Problems
If you’ve tried all the IRS’s official directions and you’re still seeing “Payment Status Not Available,” it could be because of a simple glitch when you sign in to check your status. Get My Payment users have been coming up with potential fixes. Though none of the following have been confirmed by the IRS, here are some unofficial tips being shared online by news sites and even elected officials:
- Check that you spelled everything correctly. A misspelled name or address could affect your result.
- Make sure the way you enter information matches how it is on your 2018 or 2019 federal tax return. Check for different variations of abbreviations (“N.” instead of “North,” for example) and punctuation.
- Try the same with your U.S. Postal Service records. One congresswoman suggests entering your address in the Postal Service’s ZIP lookup tool and then entering it in the app exactly as it appears there.*
- Type your information in all caps. Some people think this works because capital letters are better recognized by the old-fashioned computer language that some of the IRS’s systems still run on.
Keep Checking Back
While you still can’t call or contact the IRS for help directly, the government agency has an extensive FAQ on the Get My Payment tool that is updated on a regular basis.
According to the IRS, the Get My Payment application itself is also updated once a day, and the IRS says the application is being closely monitored. In addition, the IRS says the application underwent significant enhancements at the end of April, and the IRS said it would continue to make improvements. So if you’ve had problems with Get My Payment but haven’t taken a look in a while, it’s definitely worth giving it another try.
We hope you found this helpful. Our content is not intended to provide legal, investment or financial advice or to indicate that a particular Capital One product or service is available or right for you. For specific advice about your unique circumstances, consider talking with a qualified professional.
*"COVID-19 FAQS" Retrieved May 21, 2020, from https://wild.house.gov/coronavirusFAQs