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No stimulus check still? How to track down your IRS payment status

The Get My Payment tracker from the IRS may be easy enough to use, but you'll get more from it if you know these tips before you begin.

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An online tool can help tell you when your stimulus money is coming.

James Martin/CNET
For the most up-to-date news and information about the coronavirus pandemic, visit the WHO website.

Are you still looking for your IRS stimulus check? If you are, it's time to try the federal agency's Get My Payment stimulus check tracker tool. The free online app can show you the status of your payment, including how much money you're eligible for, details on your payment schedule and any issues that could hold up your payment.

If you're convinced your stimulus check has gone missing, you can also contact the IRS to report your absent money, but we strongly encourage you to try this method first. Even if you've used the IRS tool before, we recommend checking one more time in case the information has changed. You could also look into another useful tool that can track your check all the way to your mailbox.

Read on for what to expect and the type of information you should have on hand before you start using the portal, including what happens if you get an error message. For more information about stimulus checks, these are the latest details about a second round of stimulus checks, how much money you might get and who may and may not qualify for a payment. We update this story often.

What to know before you use the Get My Payment tool

  • You'll need to input your Social Security number (SSN) or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) along with your date of birth, street address and postal code.
  • The IRS is sending payments on a schedule. Think of it as batches of payments that get sent at once, rather than individually. The Get My Payment tool can ballpark your scheduled date.
  • The IRS updates its status tracking information once a day. 
  • The tool may require you to enter your details in a specific way.
  • You should receive a letter about 15 days after the IRS issues your payment, with information on the amount you received and how you received it.

After using the IRS tracker, you could also sign up for a free service from the post office that tells you exactly when your stimulus check will arrive in the mail.

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If you're waiting for your stimulus check to arrive, use the IRS tool as a starting point.

Angela Lang/CNET

How to track the status and arrival of your IRS stimulus check

If you're eligible for a check, the IRS lets you track your payment schedule through its Get My Payment web portal. Some people have reported having trouble using the portal, and the IRS said it has significantly improved the Get My Payment app to help you set up and track the date of your stimulus payment.

1. Head to the IRS' Get My Payment page and tap the blue Get My Payment button to check the status of your economic impact payment. 

2. On the next page about authorized use, tap OK.

3. Now on the Get My Payment page, enter your SSN or ITIN, your date of birth, your street address and your ZIP or postal code. Tap Continue.

On the next page, the portal will show your payment status, whether it's been scheduled or if the service can't yet determine your status.

Read more: Where to buy face masks online if you don't want to make your own

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Is my status information accurate? What if I get an error message?

You may see confusing messages when using the status tool -- so much so that the IRS explains common status messages in an FAQ. You may get a message if it's impossible to determine your eligibility, for example, or your payment status is not available. Here are some initial reasons why Get My Payment may not be able to track your payment status, though the IRS has since said it's improved its tool. 

Can I find out if my check is in the mail?

The IRS deadline to set up direct deposit with the government passed on May 13. If you didn't set up your account, you'll most likely get your check in the mail.

While most people will receive a paper check, the Treasury Department said 4 million people will get an Economic Impact Payment, or EIP, prepaid debit card instead (and as of the first week of June, it said these payments have been made). We've asked the US Treasury to clarify who gets a check and who gets a debit card.

Did you try the US Postal Service mail-tracking app?

Here's another way to track your stimulus check in the mail.

If you're waiting for your stimulus payment to arrive in the mail -- either as a paper check or a prepaid debit card -- the US Postal Service has a free app that can notify you when it's about to deliver your letter from the IRS. Called Informed Delivery, the mail-tracking service automatically scans your letters and can alert you when they'll be delivered. Here's more on how to set up and use the letter-tracking service from the USPS to track your payment.

For more information, here's how best to use your stimulus check. And here's everything you need to know about the coronavirus and unemployment.

You don't need to sign up to qualify for stimulus money

To receive the stimulus payment, you may need to file a tax return for 2018 or 2019 if you are normally required to. You can still do that now. Here's how.

Senior citizens, Social Security recipients, railroad retirees and other beneficiaries who typically aren't required to file tax returns will not need to file one to receive a payment.

Again, the agency will mail a letter to a taxpayer's last known address within 15 days after sending the payment. The letter will contain information on when and how the payment was made and how to report to the IRS if you didn't receive your check.