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Is your stimulus check missing? Use these tools to track your IRS payment

If you're still waiting for your $1,400 stimulus check, you can get an update on the status of your money using the Get My Payment tool.

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The IRS offers ways to find out more about the money that you should have received. 

Sarah Tew/CNET

Since March, the IRS has sent out some 164 million payments. If you qualify for your third stimulus payment and you're still waiting on it, there's a handy tracker called Get My Payment that can help. The tool will let you know if the IRS has scheduled your payment already or if there is anything causing a delay. Also, you could be eligible for a "plus-up" payment from the IRS if it underestimated the amount of your third payment. 

To track the status of your paper check or EIP card directly to your mailbox, the IRS and US Postal Service tools are a good start. If you think that your payment has gone missing, you might need to file a payment trace.

The Get My Payment tool won't tell you everything you may want to know, but it could give you some useful information. If you get a confusing error message, you may have to dig a bit deeper, but we can help. While you're reading, you may want to find out more about the child tax credit payment, how to claim up to $16,000 in child care expenses and a possible fourth stimulus payment. You can also check if the state owes you money and if you might be due for other credits and benefits in 2021. This story is updated frequently.

What the IRS Get My Payment tracker can tell you about the status of your stimulus payment

To get an update of your third check using Get My Payment, enter your Social Security number, date of birth, street address and ZIP or postal code. The tool will then display a message with information about your payment. You can see things like whether your money was sent or is scheduled to be sent, the payment method (direct deposit, paper check or EIP card) and the date your stimulus money was issued. It may also say it can't yet determine your status -- see more below about error messages.

The IRS payment tracking tool does not seem to give you the status of a plus-up payment, if you are due one. CNET has contacted the IRS for clarification.

Now playing: Watch this: Stimulus plus-up payments: What you need to know

What the Get My Payment tracker doesn't tell you about your stimulus payment

The IRS tool will not give you hourly updates -- the status information is updated once daily (usually overnight) -- nor will it tell you how much stimulus money you're getting (calculate here) or provide details on the first two stimulus checks approved in 2020. You won't find steps for what to do if you run into payment problems.

The IRS doesn't want you to call if you have payment trouble, either. 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.

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

Why does it say 'Payment Status Not Available'?

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 whether you're due money.

Why does it say 'Need More Information'?

According to the IRS FAQ, 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) or a financial service account that has a routing and account number associated with it. The FAQ says you can also update your mailing address to receive your payment.

If the IRS tracker says your payment was sent, there are additional steps you should take to find it

If the IRS' online tool says 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 that letter to arrive in the mail.

If the IRS has sent your check in the mail, you can track it through the USPS

If your third stimulus check is going out in the mail, the US Postal Service has a free app that can notify you when it's about to deliver your stimulus money from the IRS. Informed Delivery is a mail-tracking service that automatically scans your letters and alerts you 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.


The IRS Get My Payment tracking tool should tell you if your money is tied up.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Veterans and SSI, SSDI beneficiaries have additional info to know about their third stimulus payment

The IRS tracking tool Get My Payment is designed to share the status of your third stimulus check. People who receive Social Security benefits like SSDI and SSI and veterans who don't file taxes can now see their payment status in the tracker tool. Tens of millions of Social Security recipients and veterans have already received their $1,400 payment.

What about that IRS letter that confirms your stimulus check was sent? Keep 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 if you never got a first or second stimulus check? Here's what to do 

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 2020 tax season

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 payments.

No, the IRS Get My Payment tool won't let you add your direct deposit bank details 

The IRS stopped sending direct deposits for the third payment 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 send the money again by mail.

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. 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.

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 here's what we know so far about whether a fourth stimulus check could happen.