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Stimulus check status today: Plus-up payments, delivery schedule, everything to still know

New stimulus checks for are still being sent to millions of Americans, even those who have already received some money. Here's what's happening.

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If you already got your stimulus check, will you get a plus-up payment, too?

Sarah Tew/CNET

The country's third stimulus checks for up to $1,400 per person are still arriving for millions -- even to people who thought they already got their check. This isn't the only way the IRS and the Department of the Treasury are sending stimulus money today, but these "plus-up payments" are unique in the stimulus check trilogy because they're weekly adjustments being sent to people who already got a check -- to make up for the fact that the IRS calculated payment based on 2019 information while still processing 2020 tax returns. With the tax deadline is now May 17, a month away, plus-up payments will continue to arrive on the regular.

Meanwhile, first-time deliveries (of this third stimulus check) are en route in the mail from a previous batch and are actively being sent to "eligible individuals for whom the IRS previously did not have information to issue a payment but who recently filed a tax return," the IRS and Treasury said this week. This group may include veterans and SSDI and SSI recipients. (Here's how to track your stimulus check with the IRS.)

We'll explain it all, including why your stimulus payment could be delayed, how to report a problem with your check and when it's time to start worrying and file a payment trace. If you have kids, you may be interested in a related program that will bring you a monthly child tax credit (here's how much money you'll get, including for your 2021 baby. Millions of people could also get money off their health insurance costs. Here's how to find out if your state owes you money, and here's the latest on student loan debt forgiveness and a fourth stimulus check. This story has been updated.

Now playing: Watch this: Stimulus plus-up payments: What you need to know
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Essential stimulus check plus-up payment details

What's a stimulus check plus-up payment? Basically, it's more money that the IRS and Treasury owe you for your stimulus check, which you'll receive in a separate payment after getting your first payment. We can't emphasize this enough -- it's crucial you know how much money you should expect this stimulus round, track your payment and hold onto this IRS letter. We don't want you leaving money on the table if you're owed a plus-up payment that for reason of a clerical error never arrives.

Now back to plus-up payments. They're arriving on a weekly basis, but only for this third check. A plus-up does not cover any money missing from the first two stimulus checks. What it does cover is a difference in your favor if the IRS used your 2019 taxes to calculate your third stimulus check but you're owed more from your 2020 taxes. Maybe you had a lower AGI this time or counted a new dependent.

If you got your stimulus payment through direct deposit, that's how you should expect to receive your plus-up money, too. If the IRS doesn't have your details on file, you may get a paper check instead.

Now playing: Watch this: Stimulus check 3: How much money you'll get
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How long until stimulus checks could arrive? Through December

While the IRS and Treasury say they've sent the bulk of stimulus check payments (at least the initial sums), the text of the March stimulus law gives the agencies until Dec. 31 to send all the third checks. That buys time to finish processing 2020 taxes, including for people who are owed plus-up payments, folks who file a 2020 tax extension and other groups, including those who moved or don't have a fixed address (like people experiencing homelessness).

If all or part of your stimulus check doesn't arrive by then, you'll need to claim your missing money in a 2021 tax return in April 2022, a year from now. This would be similar to the Recovery Rebate Credit for claiming missing money from the first two checks, which is currently in effect for 2020 taxes.

Stimulus check payments made to date


Direct deposit Paper checks EIP Card Direct Express Card Plus-up
First payment batch -- March 17 90 million ($242 billion) 150,000 ($442 million) Not disclosed Not disclosed Not disclosed
Second payment batch -- March 24 17 million ($38 billion) 15 million ($34 billion) 5 million ($11 billion) Not disclosed Not disclosed
Third payment batch, including Social Security -- April 3 2 million ($5 billion) 2 million ($5 billion) Not disclosed Not disclosed
Not disclosed
Fourth payment batch, including first plus-up payment -- April 7 24 million ($33 billion) 1 million ($3 billion) Not disclosed 3.1 million 1 million ($2 million)
Fifth payment batch, including nonfiler veterans -- April 14 1.2 million ($2 billion) 800,000 ($1.4 billion) Not disclosed Not disclosed 700,000 ($1.2 billion)

What to do if you get a smaller payment than you should

There are several reasons the IRS may owe you stimulus money after it sends out the third round of checks.

For example, the agency may have processed your 2019 tax return before it received 2020 tax forms and you're entitled to a bigger payment. If this is your situation, the IRS said it will automatically evaluate if you qualify for more money after it receives your 2020 tax return. It will then send you a supplemental payment for the difference between what you originally received and the amount you now qualify for. You don't need to take any action to receive this supplemental payment, according to the IRS.

If you had a baby or added a dependent in 2020, the IRS said it will also automatically send a supplement payment once it receives your taxes this year.

But what if a clerical error accidentally left out a new dependent? Or perhaps your payment never arrived or was accidentally garnished? The IRS may provide a way to file for missing stimulus money before the Dec. 31 deadline. If not, you might have to wait a year to claim it, when you file your 2021 taxes in 2022 (even if you're a nonfiler who isn't typically required to file taxes).

Why and how to track your stimulus check even now

If you got your stimulus check money, are you sure you got the right amount? The IRS won't tell you, and if you want to see for yourself, you may need to jump through a hoop or two. Start by knowing how much money you should receive (at least the ballpark figure) and make sure you know the status of your payment. 

The IRS updates its Get My Payment tracker tool for stimulus checks daily. This online app shows the status of your payment, including when a check is scheduled for delivery. You can also use a free tool from the USPS to track your mailed stimulus payment.

The IRS portal also flags if there's a problem with your payment that you may need to address, but it doesn't tell you the amount you'll receive. You'll see your payment status in the tracker if you receive SSI and SSDI benefits. VA beneficiaries who are veterans and don't file taxes can check the status of their payments beginning the weekend of April 10 and 11. 

All of your stimulus check was held back because...

Here's more information on problems you might encounter with your stimulus check.

Stimulus check delivery start and end dates

First direct deposits made March 17 (official)
First paper checks sent Week of March 15
First EIP cards sent Week of March 22
First Social Security, SSI, SSDI payment sent Weekend of April 3, most arriving April 7
First plus-up payments Weekend of April 3
VA benefits for veteran nonfilers Week of April 14
IRS deadline to finish sending checks Dec. 31, 2021 (mandated by the bill)
Last date to receive a check January 2022 (if mailed checks sent late December)
Final claims for missing stimulus money 2021 tax season likely (in 2022)

This is how to report a problem with your stimulus payment

The IRS doesn't want you to call if you have any issue with the delivery or amount of your stimulus check. So what to do instead? Our guide walks you through how to report stimulus check problems, including checks that never arrive (try filing a payment trace), direct deposit payments that go to the wrong account and other issues.

Why your 2020 tax return could make all the difference

Taxes are now due May 17. So how will the IRS figure out how much it owes you? It will calculate your total (you can also do that here) based on the most recent tax filing it's processed at the time it's ready to tabulate the amount of your stimulus check.

If you know your tax return was already processed, your total will likely be based on your 2020 adjusted gross income, not on your 2019 AGI. That presents complications if the difference between the two years disqualifies you from getting a third stimulus check

On the flip side, if the IRS uses your 2019 taxes and you're owed more money based on your 2020 AGI and dependents, you could get a plus-up payment. If you got more money than you're owed, you'll only need to return it to the IRS in some cases. 

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Millions may wind up getting a smaller check than they're owed, depending on their 2020 taxes.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Stimulus money details for SSDI, SSI and veterans

After a month of waiting, stimulus checks started flowing to veterans receiving VA benefits. On April 14, the IRS and Treasury said they sent 320,000 payments to veterans who don't ordinarily file taxes (those that do may have received their stimulus check already). Some veterans on a forum on Reddit are reporting they received their checks. VA beneficiary payment information should have been in the IRS' Get My Payment tool this weekend, the IRS said, but some are reporting their status still isn't available. We reached out to the IRS for clarification.

Starting April 3, the IRS started making payments for SSDI and SSI recipients and retired railroad workers, many of whom automatically qualify for the third check. The majority of payments made electronically -- either through direct deposit or to existing Direct Express cards -- by April 7, according to the IRS.

You'll most likely get the electronic payment transfer if this is how you normally receive benefits, and if you didn't file taxes in 2019 or 2020. But some in this subset of nonfilers could receive an automatic payment sooner if they got a previous check by using the IRS' Non-Filers tool, which is now closed. The SSA says this group will not receive an EIP debit card. Here's our complete guide to stimulus checks for people receiving Social Security benefits.

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If you don't get all your stimulus check money right away, you may need to address the issue down the road.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Additional stimulus check guidance for these groups

Stimulus checks aren't necessarily a one-size-fits-all situation. Here are guides for:

And here's everything you need to know about the third stimulus check, how to calculate your stimulus total and every way the stimulus law can bring you more money.