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Still missing stimulus check from the IRS? How to track when your payment's coming

Use these free IRS tools to check the status of your first stimulus check.

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If your stimulus check money still isn't here, this online tool could help.

James Martin/CNET
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The Internal Revenue Service has a free app called Get My Payment that may be able to help you if you haven't yet received the first-round stimulus check from the initial coronavirus relief package. 

Get My Payment will tell you how much money you were granted by the passage of the CARES Act in March as well as the status of the payment and any problems that might have delayed your check, prepaid debit card or direct deposit. Try using the app first before you call the IRS -- since the federal agency is currently mired in tax returns and refunds, wait times on the phone might be long.

If the app lets you know that the check is in the mail or will be soon, you can start tracking it with the free locator tool from the US Postal Service, which will send you an image of the letter once it's been processed and allow you to follow it all the way to your mailbox (more info below).

second stimulus check appears to be imminent, and we have some idea of who'll be eligible and how much money could be in it.

How to track your stimulus check's status and arrival

Note that when the tool first debuted some people reported having trouble using the portal. But since then, 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. On the Get My Payment page, enter your Social Security number (SSN) or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (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.

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What to know about using the Get My Payment tool

  • You'll need to input your SSN or 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. 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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How to deal with an error message

You may see confusing messages when using the status tool -- so much so that the IRS explains common status messages in a 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. In some cases, you may prefer to contact the IRS.

Find out if your 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.

Try this handy USPS mail-tracking service

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.

How to know when your stimulus check is really coming

There's the method above, but also keep an eye out for an official letter that the IRS will mail 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. 

For more information, here's everything to know about a second stimulus check, including when the next IRS checks could potentially get sent and who might qualify for more money.