How to get your coronavirus stimulus check

Third Stimulus Check: How To Track Your $1,400 Coronavirus Relief Check

How to get your coronavirus stimulus check

For the millions of Americans eligible for a third coronavirus stimulus check, now is the time to stay on top of tracking your payment.

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Treasury Department have already disbursed roughly three-fifths of all $1,400 (or more) stimulus payments to eligible U.S. adults, according to recent releases from the agencies.

The first tranche of payments went out to 90 million Americans starting March 17, while a second wave began March 22. That comes less than two weeks after President Joe Biden signed the massive $1.

9 trillion American Rescue Plan into law.

If you don’t receive your payment in the form of a direct deposit by March 24, the IRS says you should prepare for the possibility that your Economic Impact Payment (as it’s officially known) might arrive in the mail as a physical check or prepaid debit card — at least until the next round of payments are disbursed. If your check bounced or if the postal service returned your payment, you might also need to update your information on file with the IRS. Either way, you’ll want to utilize the IRS’ Get My Payment tool.

Here’s everything you need to know about tracking your stimulus check, as well as eligibility requirements and what you should do to make sure you receive your payment as soon as possible.

Who is eligible for the third stimulus check?

If you’re trying to track your stimulus check, you’ll first want to know if you’re eligible to receive one — information that the Get My Payment tool won’t explicitly inform you when you go track your check.

One good rule of thumb for determining if you qualify: If you were eligible to receive the full amount before, you’ll be eligible again. Income requirements for receiving full stimulus checks are the same for both individual and married tax filers, while income information is your most recently processed tax return (2019 or 2020, if you’ve already filed).

If you earned up to $75,000 ( annual adjustable gross income, or AGI) you’re slated to get the full relief check worth $1,400. Married couples will thus receive $2,800 (two $1,400 checks) as long as their combined AGI doesn’t top $150,000.

But the point at which payments completely phase out for Americans happens sooner on the income scale, a move meant to appease more deficit-minded lawmakers and shrink the size of the overall relief package.

Individuals’ total payments decrease by $28 per every $100 over the income threshold. Single filers and married couples who make $80,000 and $160,000 or more a year, respectively, won’t receive a check at all.

Eligible U.S. adults will see $1,400 per each individual in their household, including adult dependents, such as college students.

If you’re ineligible for a stimulus payment but currently work, here’s how to apply for unemployment benefits.

When will your stimulus check arrive?

The stimulus payments are being distributed to taxpayers either by direct deposit or by paper checks or debit cards arriving by mail. If you’ve been paying your taxes via direct deposit, the IRS should already have your banking information on file and will make the payment directly to your bank account.

For direct deposit, the IRS uses data already in its system to determine which bank account to send the payment to. That most ly happens by attaching a routing and account number to your 2020 or 2019 tax filing, as well as inputting one earlier in 2020 for receiving your first stimulus check. Those receiving payments by mail will have to wait a little longer.

This round, the Treasury Department is also working with the Bureau of the Fiscal Service to identify federal records of recent payments to and from the government to find a possible bank account alternative for delivering stimulus payments as a direct deposit. The move helped accelerate the stimulus check delivery timeline, the IRS said in a statement.

In most cases, individuals aren’t required to take action to receive their checks and are discouraged from contacting the IRS, according to a Treasury Department release.

The IRS and Treasury Department anticipate sending out more tranches on a weekly basis moving forward.

How do I check the status of my stimulus payment?

But waiting on your stimulus check can be an anxiety-ridden process, especially at a time when nearly 10 million Americans are work. Use the Treasury Department’s tracker:

  1. Visit the “Get My Payment” page that the IRS has set up on its website.
  2. To monitor the status of your payment and track it, click (or tap) on the blue “Get My Payment” button.
  3. You’ll be taken to a page about authorized use; go ahead and click (or tap) OK.
  4. On the Get My Payment page, enter your Social Security number (or taxpayer ID number), your date of birth, your address and zip code. When finished, click (or tap) the continue button.
  5. This leads to a payment status page, which informs you of the status of your payment and when it can be expected. (You may also be told that the service cannot determine your status.)

If you’re seeing a “payment status not available” error message on the platform, the IRS says one of the following issues might be occurring:

  1. The agency hasn’t yet processed your Economic Impact Payment;
  2. It doesn’t have enough information on file to issue you a payment; or
  3. You aren’t eligible for a payment.

The platform is typically updated overnight, meaning you won’t see a new message if you’re checking for updates more regularly than once a day.

Payment status not available: What should you do?

The IRS’ Get My Payment tool will only let you input new direct deposit or bank account information if you’re seeing a “Need More Information” status, breaking with tradition from previous stimulus check rounds. That works either by submitting a financial product that includes a routing and account number with it, whether it be a bank account or prepaid debit card.

The easiest way to make sure that the IRS has the most accurate picture of your financial situation and personal whereabouts is by submitting your 2020 tax return. You now have until May 17 to submit your 2020 tax return, after the IRS on March 17 announced it was delaying the deadline by a month.

However, given the unprecedented and unconventional nature of the current tax season, the Treasury Department and IRS may have already attempted to send out your payment before your tax information was processed.

You could also update your mailing address by submitting a Form 8822, Change of Address, or notifying the IRS orally of your move. But be prepared: You might experience delays waiting for confirmation, given that the IRS has already begun distributing these stimulus checks. As always, a direct deposit is the fastest way to guarantee you receive a payment.

What happens if you don’t receive your payment or only receive a partial amount?

If you haven’t received your payment yet, don’t panic, although it’s easier said than done.

Compared with the first round of stimulus checks, the IRS and Treasury Department have significantly shrunk the delivery timeline by weeks, if not months.

However, the text of the American Relief Plan still gives both agencies until Dec. 31, 2021, to distribute all funds, meaning the last round of checks might not hit consumers’ mailboxes until January 2022.

Consider signing up for the U.S. Postal Service’s informed delivery service, so you know in advance of any mail you’ll be receiving on a given day. If the IRS says it already mailed your check but you didn’t receive one, down the road you might also decide to order a stimulus check payment trace.

You can arrange one by calling a hotline at the IRS or submitting a completed Form 3911, Taxpayer Statement Regarding Refund by mail or fax. But be prepared: This process can take weeks. The IRS may also ask that you sit tight for the time being — in some cases, for a period as long as nine weeks.

Be sure to hang on to any documents the IRS and the Treasury send you regarding your stimulus payments for tax filing purposes. Then, calculate how much you should receive your income, tax filing status (single, head of household or married) and the number of dependents in your household.

If they don’t match up, you’ll want to claim any and all missing payments as a Recovery Rebate Credit. You can do so by filling out a new section (Line 30) on Form 1040.

Given that stimulus payments stretched into the 2021 tax season, this option will ly persist into 2022, another option for tracking down your money if you never receive it.

Learn more:

Note: Daniel Bukszpan contributed to a previous version of this story.


Third Stimulus Check: Calculate & Track Payment

How to get your coronavirus stimulus check

A new coronavirus relief package totaling some $1.9 trillion and including a third round of stimulus payments has become law. Here's a rundown of how much money you might soon get in a third stimulus check, how that IRS payment will arrive and when.

We're updating this page as new information becomes available.

How much is my stimulus payment?

The U.S. Treasury will disburse up to $1,400 per adult and $1,400 per qualifying tax dependent. A qualifying married couple with two kids could get up to $5,600, for example.

Who qualifies for a stimulus check?

Not everyone. Here's the income criteria:

  • Single filers whose adjusted gross income does not exceed $75,000 are eligible for the full $1,400 stimulus payment. The amount begins to shrink after that and phases out completely at $80,000.

  • Married couples who file jointly and whose AGIs do not exceed $150,000 are eligible for a full $2,800 stimulus payment. The amount begins to shrink after that and phases out completely at $160,000.

  • Heads of household whose AGI does not exceed $112,500 are eligible for the full $1,400 stimulus payment. The amount begins to shrink after that and phases out completely at $120,000.

No matter your IRS filing status, the stimulus payment includes up to $1,400 for every qualifying tax dependent you might have.

» MORE: See who can be a tax dependent

When will stimulus checks arrive? And in what form?

March 17 was the official payment date of the first batch of 90 million payments. Those payments largely went to people who provided direct deposit information on their 2019 or 2020 tax returns, according to the U.S. Treasury.

The second batch of payments has an official pay date of Wednesday, March 24. Many of those payments will be mailed in the form of paper checks or prepaid debit cards.

  • If you are eligible but don’t receive your check, you can claim the payment when you file your taxes for the 2021 tax year in 2022.

  • On February 16, 2021, the IRS said it finished sending out the previous two rounds of stimulus checks.

Here's the rundown of the forms of payment. Keep in mind, the form of payment this time around might differ from the form of payment for your first stimulus check.

Direct deposit

The IRS will use the account data in its system to make direct deposits. If you filed your taxes for 2020 and paid or received a federal tax refund with your bank account, that's where the stimulus check would go.

Paper checks and debit cards

If you received the first two stimulus payments but didn't receive them as direct deposit, you may get a paper check or a new debit card in the mail. The IRS will not reload debit cards you may have received for prior stimulus check payments.

Here's what the debit card and mailing envelope look , so you don't accidentally throw out your money with the junk mail.


Who doesn't qualify for a stimulus check?

  • People who don't have valid identification numbers. Everybody involved must provide a valid Social Security number (there are special rules for adopted children and members of the military).

  • Certain dependents. If you are a tax dependent on someone else’s tax return, the person who claims you as a tax dependent claims the payment.

  • People who died before January 1, 2021.

Do I have to file a tax return to get a stimulus check?

No, but the payment might not be for the correct amount if you don’t. If you haven't filed a tax return, the IRS will use other information it or other federal agencies may have on file to figure out what to send you.

The IRS will automatically send payments to people who didn't file a return but receive Social Security retirement, survivor or disability benefits (SSDI), Railroad Retirement benefits, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Veterans Affairs benefits.

» MORE: See how to file your taxes for free this year

How do I claim my stimulus money if my payment doesn't show up or it's not the right amount?

If your 2020 tax return shows you “made too much” to qualify for this third stimulus check, you may not get a payment now even if you lost your job or income in 2021.

However, because these IRS payments are technically an advance on a 2021 tax credit, if your adjusted gross income in 2021 ends up being under the limit or you have another tax dependent, you might be able to claim the tax credit (or more of the tax credit) when you file your 2021 tax return (the one due in April of 2022).

If you were eligible for the first two stimulus checks (also called economic impact payments) but never received them or didn't receive the full amount, you have another chance to get that money by claiming the Recovery Rebate Credit on line 30 of form 1040 on your 2020 tax return (the one due by May 17, 2021). Page 58 of the instructions for form 1040 has a worksheet to help you calculate how much to claim.

» MORE: Learn how a Form 1040 works and how to fill one out

Do I have to repay my stimulus money?

No, unless you obtained your stimulus check fraudulently.

Will stimulus checks be taxed as income?

No. It's what's called a refundable tax credit.

  1. If you owe back taxes or child support, you’ll still get an IRS payment if you otherwise qualify. In this round, if you owe child support, your check will not shrink.

  2. If you haven’t filed a tax return in the last few years, the IRS may not have your current information and bank account details.

  3. If you don't qualify now, you might still get a break later. If your 2020 tax return shows you “made too much” to qualify for this third stimulus check, you may not get a payment now even if you lost your job or income in 2021. However, you might be made whole later (and don’t forget about filing for unemployment in the meantime).

    That’s because these IRS payments are technically an advance on a 2021 tax credit that’s available all year. So if your adjusted gross income in 2021 ends up being under the limit or you add a dependent, you might be able to claim the tax credit (or more of the tax credit) when you file your 2021 tax return (the one due in April of 2022).

  4. When it comes to the age limit for dependents, the legislation leans on the existing rules for claiming tax dependents. Under those rules, adult parents and college students you financially support might qualify under certain circumstances.

  5. Watch your mailbox and your bank account. For the last two rounds of stimulus checks, the U.S. Treasury sent people letters in the mail after it disbursed money to them. Those letters indicated how the payment was made, how much it was for and provided an IRS phone number for questions.

» MORE: Make sure scammers don't get hold of your relief check

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