How do I find my stimulus money? What to do about a missing $1,400 check
Your third stimulus payment could be delayed for a variety of reasons. We'll help you track down your IRS payment.
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To date, the IRS has made 169 million payments for the third round of stimulus checks for $1,400. The agency continues to send weekly batches of payments, so there is still time if you are waiting for your money. However, there could actually be an issue with your payment and the IRS doesn't want you to call them with problems related to a missing check.
We'll explain below how to request a payment trace or get a recovery rebate credit on your 2020 tax return if you filed a tax extension. We can also share unemployment news, as more states cancel jobless benefits and some offer back-to-work bonuses. Plus, here's how parents can get money from the child tax credit and calculate their total. This story was recently updated.
Use the IRS Get My Payment tool to track stimulus money
For the third stimulus check: It's worth visiting the IRS' online portal designed to track the status of your 2021 payment. Generally, it should tell you when your check will be processed and how you'll receive it: for example, as a paper check in the mail. If the Get My Payment tool doesn't give you information you can understand or says your check is on the way and you haven't received it, you may need to eventually request a payment trace or file for a recovery rebate credit.
If the Get My Payment tool gave you a payment date but you still haven't received your money, the IRS may need more information. Check the Get My Payment tool again and if it reports "Need More Information," this could indicate that your check has been returned because the post office was unable to deliver it, an IRS representative told CNET. Here are more details on how the tracker tool works and what the messages mean.
Why payment status is 'not available'
It's normal for the Get My Payment tool to give you a message that says "Payment Status Not Available" until the payment is scheduled to be issued, according to the IRS. This message doesn't mean you're not eligible or that you won't receive a payment -- you'll likely just have to wait.
Watch this: Stimulus check 3: How much money you'll get
What to do if there's a direct deposit issue
The IRS tracking tool for the third stimulus check doesn't allow you to add direct deposit information this time unless the IRS can't deliver your payment. So if you have a problem, what do you do? Your check may have bounced back to the IRS if the agency tried to send your payment to a now-closed bank account or to a temporary prepaid debit card a tax preparer set up for you. If your payment was returned to the IRS, the agency will mail your check to the current address it has on file for you. If that check is returned, then the IRS will let you enter your banking information in the Get My Payment tool, the IRS said.
First, we suggest you call your bank or tax preparer -- it never hurts to cover all your bases to confirm that an attempt was made to deposit money into a closed account or debit card.
Unfortunately, you'll need to wait and monitor the Get My Payment tracker to keep tabs on your check delivery. We also recommend signing up for a free service to track your check to your mailbox.
Stimulus checks could be seized to cover past due debt
If you owe child support or other debts, your first check was seized to cover those debts. The third check is subject to being taken by private debt collectors, but not the state or federal government. The same goes for the second payment, too, if you're claiming missing money in a recovery rebate credit. You may receive a notice from the Bureau of the Fiscal Service or your bank if either of these scenarios happens.
In the case of the third check, we recommend calling your bank to confirm the garnishment request from creditors and ask for details about how long you have to file a request with a local court to stop the garnishment. If you think money has already been mistakenly seized from the first two checks, you can file a recovery rebate credit as part of your 2020 tax return -- but only if you filed a tax extension.
What to do if one of the three stimulus checks hasn't arrived
About 15 days after the IRS sends out your check, you should receive a letter from the agency confirming the payment. When the first round of stimulus checks went out last year, that letter included two hotline phone numbers because thousands of agents were available to help. But with the second and third rounds of checks, the IRS changed its tune, and these phone numbers may be disconnected.
Here are common scenarios that might indicate you need to look into your stimulus payment:
If you're one of the millions of people who qualified for the first stimulus check but never got it.
You should also confirm you're qualified to get the stimulus payment, since not everyone who received a previous check is qualified this time. If you think it's time to take action, read for more options.
Filing a payment trace to find missing stimulus money
The IRS is automatically sending "plus-up payments" to make up the difference. If you don't get one, you may need to claim the missing money another way later in 2021 or even in 2022, since tax season is officially over now.
Whether to file another IRS form
As was the case with the first and second check, if you filed a 2018, 2019 or 2020 tax return or receive government benefits, the IRS should automatically send your third check without you having to do anything.
If, however, you're a nonfiler, a US citizen or permanent resident, had a gross income in 2019 under $12,200 -- or $24,400 as a married couple -- and didn't file a return for 2018 or 2019, you may need to give the IRS a bit of information before it can process your payment. Since the IRS' Non-Filers tool is now closed, you may need to file for that money on a 2021 tax return (in 2022) in the form of a recovery rebate credit, described above.
What to do about a missing or stolen EIP debit card
At least 5 million people will receive their third stimulus check on a prepaid debit card called the Economic Impact Payment Card, instead of a paper check. For the third payment, the EIP card arrives in a white envelope sent from "Economic Impact Payment Card." The letter will have a US Department of the Treasury seal.
The card has the Visa name on the front and the issuing bank, MetaBank®, N.A., on the back. Information included with the EIP Card explains that this is your Economic Impact Payment. If you receive an EIP Card, visit EIPcard.com for more information.
However, the EIP card website says, "Your Card will be deactivated to prevent anyone from using it and a new replacement Card will be ordered. Fees may apply." We recommend calling the above number for a lost or stolen card and speaking to a representative. If you may have lost or thrown away a paper check, read the mail fraud section below.
What SSI, SSDI and veteran beneficiaries need to know
The IRS began sending out stimulus checks for Social Security beneficiaries, including those who are part of the SSI and SSDI programs, on April 7. It began sending payments to people who receive veteran benefits and don't typically file taxes on April 14. If you're part of one of these groups and haven't gotten your check yet, it may be on the way soon.
The Social Security Administration has also advised people not to contact the SSA about problems. It's possible you may need to use one of the strategies above, depending on what the trouble is.