IRS now sending stimulus check to banks, in the mail: When is your $1,400 payment arriving? – CNET

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Stimulus checks are on their way. Where does your personal payment fit into the schedule?


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The IRS and Treasury are now into their second week sending third stimulus check payments by way of direct deposit and paper checksMore than 90 million payments of up to $1,400 per person have now been made, but the agencies have acknowledged it will take weeks to complete the payments wrapped up in President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus bill. On Monday, the Treasury announced it will send the next batch of stimulus checks this week, including to people receiving EIP cards. The timeline for SSDI and SSI benefits is still unknown — the Social Security website promises a Q&A page “soon.”

It could take months for some people to get their full stimulus check allowance. For example, if the IRS uses your 2019 taxes to calculate your stimulus total, but you’re owed more funds based on your 2020 taxes, you may wind up needing to claim the remainder later this year or even in 2022. (Here’s how to track your payment with the IRS and USPS.) 

Different rules for different groups of people could also affect the delivery date of your stimulus money. Older adults, parents in a child-support situation, income tax nonfilers, mixed-status citizenship family members and people who live in US territories may all find details and exceptions that could complicate or delay delivery of their money. We go over what to know below. Here’s what to do if you have a problem with your stimulus check, and this is the story so far on a fourth stimulus check. This story was recently updated.

The third stimulus check delivery date lowdown today

Starting last week, the IRS and US Treasury began completing electronic transfers to bank accounts (to the tune of $242 billion in direct deposit payments) and in paper checks (worth approximately $442 million).

On Monday, the Treasury announced a new wave of payments for all three payment groups. “Taxpayers who do not receive a direct deposit by March 24 should watch the mail carefully in the coming weeks for a paper check or a prepaid debit card, known as an Economic Impact Payment Card, or EIP Card,” the Treasury said in a press release.

The dates below represent the start of the payment cycle — it may still take days or weeks for stimulus checks to be processed and scheduled before you receive it. Other additional complications could also delay your payment. If you moved recently, tell the IRS and USPS.

Stimulus check delivery dates

Stimulus bill passed Congress March 10
Stimulus bill signed into law March 11
First direct deposit sent March 12 (provisional), March 17 (official)
First paper checks sent Week of March 15
First EIP cards sent Week of March 22
SSI and SSDI checks sent Not yet announced
IRS deadline to finish sending checks Dec. 31, 2021 (mandated by the bill)
Last date to receive a check January 2022 (if checks sent late December)
Claims for missing stimulus money open 2021 tax season likely (in 2022)

How you can track your stimulus payment status online

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


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Stimulus check 3: How much money you’ll get

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What to know about payment groups and delivery dates

The IRS identifies three payment groups based on how your money is sent:

  • Direct deposit recipients: This group gets its stimulus money in the first wave. For the first two checks sent out as part of relief efforts in 2020, there were problems involving deposits going to temporary accounts that were rejected by banks. In some cases, people caught up in this issue got paper checks or EIP cards instead — or had to wait for the issue to be resolved.
  • Paper checks: This is the payment type the IRS sends out second. A physical check can take weeks to arrive by mail, but the check can be deposited or cashed right away once it arrives.
  • EIP cards: This payment type arrives as a prepaid debit card you must activate online to use. The IRS issues EIP cards last, delaying the payment’s arrival for this recipient group by weeks.

Just because you got your payment through direct deposit the first two times doesn’t mean you’ll get it that way again. The IRS told CNET in January that some people who received their first stimulus payment as a physical check or as an EIP card may have been paid by the other method the second time around. Anecdotally, we also learned of people who received direct deposit payments the first time getting an EIP card in the mail — and not an electronic bank transfer — weeks after the IRS tool said the payment was issued. 

Even tiny errors can cause a delay in you receiving your full or partial payment. (Here’s more information for SSDI and SSI recipients, and other nonfilers.)

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How you get your stimulus check could influence how soon your payment arrives.


Sarah Tew/CNET

How you’ll know if the IRS uses your 2019 or 2020 tax return to calculate your total

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 your check.

If you filed your 2020 taxes early and 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 flipside, if the IRS uses your 2019 taxes and you’re owed more money based on your 2020 AGI and dependents, you’ll need to claim the difference at a later date. (Learn more about some of the stimulus check exceptions and catches here.)

If you get a partial payment, you’ll have to claim the rest later

There are several reasons the IRS may owe you stimulus money after it sends out the third round of checks. Maybe the agency processed your 2019 tax return instead of 2020 and there was a discrepancy. Or maybe you had a baby in 2020 that you still need to claim as a dependent. Maybe a clerical error accidentally left out a new dependent. Perhaps your payment never arrived or was accidentally garnished

Whatever the reason, 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).

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The first two stimulus checks were nominally sorted by different payment groups, and one had a clear advantage over the others.


Sarah Tew/CNET

The IRS cutoff to send out the new stimulus checks is months away

Although the IRS and Treasury are sending stimulus checks now, the agencies have until Dec. 31, 2021, to complete distributing the third payments. That’s good news in the sense they aren’t facing a compressed deadline to send out all the checks, as they did with the second stimulus check in December, which only provided them a 17-day window to get the payments out. On the other hand, the nearly nine-month total delivery window also means some people may find themselves waiting, for a variety of reasons. We’ll have to wait and see how the IRS deals with any fringe issues that arise. 

There are other stimulus payment details these groups should know

Stimulus checks aren’t necessarily a one-size-fits-all situation. Here are additional 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 bill can bring you more money.

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