What to Do if You Haven’t Received Your Stimulus Check
Here's what to do if you're still waiting on the most recent stimulus payment.
Most eligible Americans have received their most recent stimulus check (by paper check, direct deposit, or debit card) by now. If you haven’t received yours, you may be wondering what to do. The IRS has said that it’s working as quickly as possible to get the checks out and that most taxpayers don’t need to do anything, but we’ll cover the steps you can take to check on the progress.
Check the Eligibility Requirements
First, you should make sure you’re eligible to receive the stimulus payment, based on the guidelines established by the IRS.
If you meet any of the requirements below, you are eligible for the full payment of $1,400 (for individuals) or $2,800 (for married couples):
- Single filers with adjusted gross income of $75,000 or less
- Head-of-household filers with adjusted gross income of $112,500 or less
- Married filers with adjusted gross income of $150,000 or less
Eligible dependents (including adult dependents) will also qualify for a payment of $1,400.
Alternatively, you’ll be eligible for a reduced payment if you meet any of these criteria:
- Single filers with adjusted gross income of $75,000 - $80,000
- Head-of-household filers with adjusted gross income of $112,500 - $120,000
- Married filers with adjusted gross income of $150,000 - $160,000
People who don’t file taxes may be eligible as well. You should automatically receive the stimulus payment if you already receive federal benefits through any of these programs:
- Social Security retirement, survivors or disability insurance
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
- Railroad Retirement Board benefits
- Veterans Affairs (VA) benefits
If your income is above the limits listed above, you will not be eligible for the stimulus payment. Your eligibility could be determined by either your 2019 or 2020 tax returns. If your 2020 tax returns have been filed by the time processing begins on your stimulus payment, the adjusted gross income from the 2020 returns will be used. If your 2020 returns have not been filed yet, the adjusted gross income from your 2019 returns will be used instead.
If you don’t qualify for the third round of stimulus payments based on your 2019 tax return but you would be eligible based on your 2020 tax return, be sure to get 2020 filed as soon as possible. According to the IRS, you’ll automatically receive the third stimulus payment when the 2020 returns are filed, if you’re eligible.
Check the IRS Website
If you’ve checked the eligibility requirements and believe you should have received the stimulus payment, you can use the Get My Payment tool on the IRS website to check on the status. You’ll need to enter your:
- Social Security Number
- Date of birth
- Street address
- Zip code
After confirming your identity, you’ll see you when your money is being sent and if it will be arriving as a check, direct deposit, or debit card. If the payment has already been sent, you’ll be provided with details like the date it was sent and the method.
The “Get My Payment” tool is updated once per day, so there’s no need to check multiple times in the same day.
If the status is listed as “not available”, that means your payment has not been processed yet or you are not eligible. As long as you meet the eligibility requirements, you can check later and the status should change and show the details once payment has been sent.
You may also see a “need more information” message. In this case, you can enter your bank account details to receive the payment by direct deposit and get it faster.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I call the IRS?
The IRS website states that representatives only have access to the information that’s accessible through the “Get My Payment” tool. However, if the tool shows that your payment has been sent and you have not received it, you can contact the IRS.
What should I do if I didn’t get the first or second stimulus payment?
If you were eligible for either of the first two rounds of stimulus payments and you did not receive it, you can claim it as a tax credit on your 2020 tax returns.
How can I correct a payment mistake?
You should receive Notice 1444 within 15 days of the direct deposit or check. This notice provides details like the amount and payment method. It also includes instructions for correcting any errors.
Why did I receive a debit card?
You may have received a debit card instead of a check. The card will need to be activated by phone (instructions are sent with the card) and then you’ll be able to use it to make purchases, withdraw cash, or transfer the money to your bank account after you register for online access.
A final word on unpaid stimulus
It's no secret that the pandemic has created a lot of strife and uncertainty for a lot of Americans. The fallout from COVID coupled with inflation and an impending recession have a lot of people reeling.
If you're one of the thousands of Americans struggling to make ends meet, the following resources may be able to help you get back on your feet.