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Where’s my stimulus check? We have a few ideas.

Angela Lang/CNET

As of this week, the for the third round of stimulus checks for $395 billion total, . But the IRS is not done and continues to send weekly batches of payments, so there is still time if you are waiting for yours.

If you’re missing your third stimulus check, there could actually be an . You may be experiencing a delay in mail delivery, for instance (), or the IRS may have had incorrect direct deposit information for you. There might be other problems if you’re a recipient of or . Or maybe you received  saying that your $1,400 payment was sent, but the . Then what? 

One thing is for sure: The IRS  with questions about a missing stimulus check. We’ll explain what you can do instead, including requesting a on your  if you  or asking for a . We can also share details on a potential  and the deal with or offering . Plus, here’s how you can get more money from the if you have kids (even if you have ) and how to . This story was recently updated.

Track your stimulus payments using the IRS Get My Payment tool, here’s how

For the third stimulus check: It’s worth visiting the IRS’ online portal designed to . 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  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 

For the first or second payment: If you can’t find the letter sent by the IRS, you’ll need to  to see your status. For any problems, you may need to issue a  or file for a , even if you . (May 17 was the last day to file your taxes without an extension.) Here’s more information about .

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Why am I getting a message that the IRS ‘needs more information’?

If the  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 .

Why does my payment status say ‘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, . 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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Stimulus check 3: How much money you’ll get


What if I’m having a direct deposit issue with my bank account?

The doesn’t allow you to 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 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, .

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

Could my stimulus check have been garnished to cover past due debt?

If you owe or other debts, your first check was . 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 . 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  as part of your 2020 tax return — but only if you filed a tax extension.


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

Sarah Tew/CNET

What if one of my stimulus checks still hasn’t arrived? 

About 15 days after the IRS sends out your check, 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:

  • If you’re one of the millions of people who qualified for the  but never got it.
  • If your second stimulus check .
  • If you got a letter from the IRS saying your third check was sent, but never received the payment. Or, if the IRS Get My Payment portal said your payment was sent, but you didn’t get it. 
  • If you got some of your stimulus money from any payment, but not all of it. (You can .)

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

Should I file a payment trace to find my missing stimulus money? 

You can  if you received the  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 


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

Sarah Tew/CNET

How can I get missing money from the previous stimulus check payments?

If you’re certain you meet the  or , what to do next depends on your situation. 

If you never got your money or a that your payment was sent, you needed to file for the money on your tax return this year. We’ve got , but basically, you’ll use the  or  to claim a catch-up payment. However, the last day to file your taxes has passed, so this will only work for those who filed a tax extension. 

The tax return instructions include a worksheet to figure out the amount of any recovery rebate credit for which you’re eligible, according to the IRS. If you’re part of a group that doesn’t usually file taxes (such as  and individuals with of ), you’ll still need to file this year. (We have instructions for .) You should also save your IRS letter — Notice 1444 Your Economic Impact — with your 2020 tax records, as you’ll need it to file the claim. 

You can also file for a Recovery Rebate Credit if you in your first or second check. The same goes for (and next year, parents of 2021 babies will similarly be able to file).

If your third check is less than expected, could I be eligible for a ‘plus-up’ payment from the IRS?

You can estimate for the third stimulus check. Just make sure to triple-check that you , including the .

Because of the , many people may receive some, but not all, of their allotted amount. If your income changed in 2020, in some cases, the IRS may owe you more money than you received if the  from your tax returns in 2018 or 2019 is less in 2020. Likewise, if you now have a , such as a , you may be owed more money.

The IRS is automatically sending “” to make up the difference. If you don’t get one, you may need to claim the missing money another way later in 2021 or even in 2022, since tax season is officially over now. 

Will I have to file another IRS form? 

As was the case with the first and second check, if you filed a 2018, 2019 or 2020 tax return or receive government benefits, the IRS should automatically send your third check without you having to do anything. 

If, however, , a US citizen or permanent resident, had a gross income in 2019 under $12,200 — or forex day trading robot $24,400 as a married couple — and didn’t file a return for 2018 or 2019, you may need to give the IRS a bit of information before it can process your payment. Since the  is now closed, you may need to file for that money on a 2021 tax return (in 2022) in the form of a , described above.

Here’s more information about who should and who shouldn’t.


Receiving your stimulus check money isn’t always easy.

Sarah Tew/CNET

What if I can’t find my EIP debit card, or it was stolen? 

At least 5 million people will receive their third stimulus check on a prepaid debit card called the , instead of a paper check. For the third payment, the  arrives in a white envelope sent from “Economic Impact Payment Card.” The letter will have a US Department of the Treasury seal.

The card has the Visa name on the front and the issuing bank, MetaBank®, N.A., on the back. Information included with the EIP Card explains that this is your Economic Impact Payment. If you receive an EIP Card, visit  for more information.

If you’ve misplaced or thrown away your card, the EIP card service has an FAQ on what to do . You can also call 800-240-8100 to request a replacement. It’s free, . To request a new card, press option 2 when prompted. 

However, the EIP card website , “Your Card will be deactivated to prevent anyone from using it and a new replacement Card will be ordered. Fees may apply.” We recommend calling the above number for a lost or stolen card and speaking to a representative. If you may have lost or thrown away a paper check, read the mail fraud section below. 

What if I was scammed out of my stimulus payment? 

Though it’s uncommon, you may believe you’ve been or had it stolen. The Federal Trade Commission has a website where you can . If you’re worried about theft, you can sign up for a free USPS service that will — including your stimulus payment.

What do SSI, SSDI and veteran beneficiaries need to know?

The IRS began sending out stimulus checks for Social Security beneficiaries, including those who are part of the , on April 7. It began sending payments to people who receive  and don’t typically file taxes on April 14. If you’re part of one of these groups and haven’t gotten your check yet, it may be on the way soon. 

The Social Security Administration has also advised people . It’s possible you may need to use one of the strategies above, depending on what the trouble is. 

More helpful details to understand

Here are some additional things you can try to , including if you think your . Here’s everything you should know about the , the and other ways the most can benefit you.