Still no $1,400 stimulus check? Here’s how to track down your payment


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Some are growing tired of checking their mailbox for the most recent economic impact payment. 


Angela Lang/CNET

Last week, the IRS sent out 1.8 million more stimulus payments, some by mail and others by direct deposit. That means nearly 167 million payments have gone out under the American Rescue Plan since it became law in March. But what if your check is still late? It could be there are issues with your payment, such as wrong direct deposit details or a delay in mail delivery. There might be other issues if you’re a recipient of SSI, SSDI or veterans benefits

Or perhaps you received a letter from the IRS saying that your $1,400 payment was sent but the check never arrived. Then what? One thing is for sure: The IRS doesn’t want you to call with questions about a missing stimulus check. We’ll explain what you can do instead, including requesting a recovery rebate credit on your 2020 tax return if you filed a tax extension, or asking for a payment trace

We can also share information on a potential fourth stimulus check, student debt forgiveness and the deal with states canceling unemployment benefits. Plus, here’s how you can get more money from the child tax credit if you have kids (even if you have a baby born in 2021) and how to calculate your total. This story was recently updated.

Track your stimulus payment with the IRS Get My Payment tool 

For the third stimulus check: It’s worth visiting the IRS’ online portal designed to track the status of your 2021 payment. Generally, it should tell you when your check will be processed and how you’ll receive it: for example, as a paper check in the mail. If the Get My Payment tool doesn’t give you information you can understand or says your check is on the way and you haven’t received it, you may need to eventually request a payment trace or file for a recovery rebate credit

For the first or second payment: If you can’t find the letter sent by the IRS, you’ll need to create an online profile with the IRS to see your status. For any problems, you may need to issue a payment trace or file for a recovery rebate credit, even if you don’t normally submit a tax return. (May 17 was the last day to file your taxes without an extension.) Here’s more information about finding the amount of your first and second payments.

Why does it mean that the IRS needs ‘more information’?

If the Get My Payment tool gave you a payment date but you still haven’t received your money, the IRS may need more information. Check the Get My Payment tool again and if it reports “Need More Information,” this could indicate that your check has been returned because the post office was unable to deliver it, an IRS representative told CNET. Here are more details on how the tracker tool works and what the messages mean.

Why does it say that the status of my payment is ‘not available’?

It’s normal for the Get My Payment tool to give you a message that says “Payment Status Not Available” until the payment is scheduled to be issued, according to the IRS. This message doesn’t mean you’re not eligible or that you won’t receive a payment — you’ll likely just have to wait. 


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What if there’s a direct deposit error with your bank account?

The IRS tracking tool for the third stimulus check doesn’t allow you to add direct deposit information this time unless the IRS can’t deliver your payment. So if you have a problem, what do you do? Your check may have bounced back to the IRS if the agency tried to send your payment to a now-closed bank account or to a temporary prepaid debit card a tax preparer set up for you. If your payment was returned to the IRS, the agency will mail your check to the current address it has on file for you. If that check is returned, then the IRS will let you enter your banking information in the Get My Payment tool, the IRS said.

First, we suggest you call your bank or tax preparer — it never hurts to cover all your bases to confirm that an attempt was made to deposit money into a closed account or debit card.

Unfortunately, you’ll need to wait and monitor the Get My Payment tracker to keep tabs on your check delivery. We also recommend signing up for a free service to track your check to your mailbox

Could your stimulus payment have been redirected to cover debt?

If you owe child support or other debts, your first check was seized to cover those debts. The third check is subject to being taken by private debt collectors, but not the state or federal government. The same goes for the second payment, too, if you’re claiming missing money in a recovery rebate credit. You may receive a notice from the Bureau of the Fiscal Service or your bank if either of these scenarios happens.

In the case of the third check, we recommend calling your bank to confirm the garnishment request from creditors and ask for details about how long you have to file a request with a local court to stop the garnishment. If you think money has already been mistakenly seized from the first two checks, you can file a recovery rebate credit as part of your 2020 tax return — but only if you filed a tax extension.

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You can track down your stimulus payment without picking up the phone. 


Sarah Tew/CNET

What if one of your stimulus checks never arrived? 

About 15 days after the IRS sends out your check, you should receive a letter from the agency confirming the payment. When the first round of stimulus checks went out last year, that letter included two hotline phone numbers because thousands of agents were available to help. But with the second and third rounds of checks, the IRS changed its tune, and these phone numbers may be disconnected. 

Here are common scenarios that might indicate you need to look into your stimulus payment:

You should also confirm you’re qualified to get the stimulus payment, since not everyone who received a previous check is qualified this time. If you think it’s time to take action, read for more options.

Should you file a payment trace for missing money? 

You can request an IRS payment trace if you received the confirmation letter from the IRS that your payment was sent (also called Notice 1444), or if the Get My Payment tool shows that your payment was issued but you have not received it within certain time frames. This is the case for all three checks. Check out our guide to requesting an IRS Payment Trace here

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Don’t miss out on claiming your missing stimulus money. 


Sarah Tew/CNET

How can you get missing money from the previous stimulus checks?

If you’re certain you meet the qualifications to receive the first or second stimulus check, what to do next depends on your situation. 

If you never got your money or a confirmation letter from the IRS that your payment was sent, you needed to file for the money on your tax return this year. We’ve got…



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