covid relief stimulus checks

On Monday, Internal Revenue Service and US Treasury officials said about 100 million stimulus checks would be distributed within 10 days.

The IRS said on Wednesday that it had delivered 90 million stimulus payments valued at $242 billion in its first batch of checks, while another 150,000 checks worth about $442 million were sent via mail.

But not everyone who is eligible for a Covid relief stimulus check has gotten their money.


Can I track my payment?

The IRS reopened the “Get My Payment” website following the passage of the American Rescue Plan, allowing people to track when they might receive their Covid Relief stimulus checks.

The IRS created this portal last year for the $1,200 stimulus checks directed by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security, or the CARES Act.

When people check the “Get My Payment” site for the new $1,400 checks, they will see one of several messages.


Payment Status

Some people will see that their payment has been processed, along with a payment date and whether the payment will be sent via direct deposit or mail.

If a check is sent by mail, the IRS will either send a paper check or a pre-paid debit card.


Payment Status Not Available

Another group of people may receive a message that reads “Payment Status Not Available.” That message can mean a couple of things, the IRS said. It may indicate that the tax agency either hasn’t processed your payment or those people aren’t eligible for payment, it noted.

Reasons for this include


You didn’t file a recent tax return

If you haven’t filed your 2020 return yet, the IRS will use your 2019 information to calculate your stimulus — unless you haven’t filed a return for that year, either.


You filed a paper return

E-filing is best. The IRS has a backlog of nearly 7 million returns, the Washington Post reports.

That backup of returns could mean that even if you updated your bank account or address, the agency hasn’t necessarily processed that information. 


You moved or changed your bank account

If you moved in 2020, it’s possible your mailed check could go to your former address.

This could even be true for those who have filed a 2020 tax return since it’s possible the IRS hasn’t fully completed processing it and could default your payment to the address you used in 2019. If you’ve changed banks since the last stimulus check, you could also be in the same boat.


You don’t qualify for a stimulus payment this time around

The law provides $1,400 per adult and dependent, as long as the household income falls below the income threshold for eligibility. In the current bill, single people whose adjusted gross income was below $75,000 and married couples with income below $150,000 will receive their full payments, as well as their dependents. Payments decline for earnings above that, cutting off entirely for single people earning $80,000 and $160,000 for married couples.


Need More Information

Others may see a “need more information” message, which the tax agency said means the payment was returned to the IRS because the U.S. Postal Service wasn’t able to deliver the check.

In this case, people can use the “Get My Payment” site to provide the IRS with updated bank information — but only people who get the “need more information” message will be able to add their bank information to the portal.


Other issues with the Get My Payment site

“If you can’t verify your identity, you won’t be able to use Get My Payment,” the IRS said. “Do not contact the IRS for assistance with a lockout; IRS assisters can’t unlock your account.”

However, the site will allow you to try again after 24 hours.  Make sure all your information is correct.


Can I update my address?

Unfortunately, the IRS’ “Get My Payment” site doesn’t allow people to update their addresses. Instead, the IRS is urging people to file their 2020 tax returns with their current address. 


Why did some people get checks before March 17?

Some customers at smaller banks received their checks as soon as a day after President Biden signed the relief bill into law. That’s because those banks made the decision to credit the funds to customer accounts immediately by using their own balance sheets.

But some bigger banks said that the timing of the payments was outside of their control.

Although the IRS started issuing payments over the weekend of March 12-14, the official payment date was set for March 17.


The IRS said in a statement last week, “No action is needed by most taxpayers; the payments will be automatic and similar to how people received the first and second round of Economic Impact Payments in 2020. Because these payments are automatic for most eligible people, contacting either financial institutions or the IRS on payment timing will not speed up their arrival.”