Still no third stimulus check? Track your money now with this online tool
If you're still missing your third payment, use the IRS Get My Payment tool. It's easy to use and free for everyone.
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Clifford is a managing editor at CNET, where he leads How-To coverage. He spent a handful of years at Peachpit Press, editing books on everything from the first iPhone to Python. He also worked at a handful of now-dead computer magazines, including MacWEEK and MacUser. Unrelated, he roots for the Oakland A's.
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If your third stimulus check hasn't arrived yet, you're likely becoming concerned about what's happened to it. But don't get too worried yet -- start by checking your bank account because it may have a pending deposit.Iit's also possible the check is stuck en route in the mail. Once you figure out your payment status, you may find that you're owed a "plus-up" supplemental payment if the IRS didn't send you enough stimulus money.
However, there could be information you need to act on; if that's the case, the IRS online tracking tool will let you know. It'll also show if you need to file a payment trace for that missing third check. The tool isn't perfect, but it's a great way to learn your payment status. It won't tell you how much money to expect -- not everyone gets $1,400 -- but you can use our stimulus calculator to estimate that amount.
In mid-July, the IRS will begin disbursing advance child tax credit checks for up to $300 a month for those eligible -- you can use this separate calculator for that. Here's how to claim up to thousands in child care expenses and what we know about a possible fourth stimulus payment. We have updated this story.
IRS Get My Payment: How to use the online tracker tool
To get an update on your third stimulus check using Get My Payment, enter your Social Security number, date of birth, street address and ZIP or postal code. The tool will 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. The tool may also say it can't yet determine your status -- see more below about error messages.
What the online Get My Payment tool can't tell you
Another way to find out more info on your third payment is to create an IRS account online. If you are sent a plus-up payment after your 2020 tax return is processed, you should see the amount of your plus-up payment with your online account. (The Get My Payment tool won't tell you the amount of your plus-up payment, but it might tell you its status.)
Watch this: Stimulus plus-up payments: What you need to know
You may see a 'Payment Status Not Available' message
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. 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.
You may see a 'Need More Information' message
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 bank routing and account number, 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.
The IRS tool might say your payment was sent to you
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.
Don't lose the IRS letter that confirms your stimulus payment
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.
If the first two stimulus payments never showed up, do this
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.
What to know about adding your direct deposit details
You can'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.
The extended tax deadline was May 17. With the agency's delay in 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 IRS money faster in the future, such as tax refunds or the upcoming child tax credit.
Here's what veterans and SSI, SSDI beneficiaries should know