IRS stimulus check 3 tracker: How to use Get My Payment, what it does and doesn’t tell you – CNET

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There’s more than one reason to use the IRS’ online tracker tool to get more details on your stimulus check.


Sarah Tew/CNET

If you’re waiting for your third stimulus check to arrive through direct deposita paper check or an EIP card, the IRS has a free online tool you can use to get more information about your $1,400 stimulus payment (calculate your total). While it’s extremely helpful for tracking your payment, there are some other benefits to the tool as well, including flagging a problem with your new stimulus payment

If any issue comes up with your stimulus check delivery, the tracker tool will be the IRS’ main way of communicating with you. Just keep in mind the information the tool provides can be hard to decipher at times. There are also certain ground rules to know about the limitations on the kind of info you will and won’t get from it. In addition, we point you toward a more granular tool to track delivery of a mailed stimulus check.

You might be interested to know that as of March 17, the IRS says it sent out more than 90 million direct deposits and 150,000 paper checks. That means tens of millions more stimulus checks are yet to be delivered in batches over the coming weeks. For more details, here’s the latest talk about a fourth stimulus check and where to learn about stimulus check qualifications. This story is frequently updated.

IRS Get My Payment tool: Update schedule and what to know

The IRS tracking tool, called Get My Payment, is designed to share the status of your third stimulus check, which was approved as part of President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion relief package. To get the status of your third check, enter your Social Security number, date of birth, street address and ZIP code. The tool will then display a message with information about your payment.

What the tool will tell you:

  • Whether the money was sent.
  • The payment method (direct deposit or in the mail).
  • The date your stimulus money was issued.
  • If it can’t yet determine your status — more below on error messages.

What Get My Payment won’t say:

The IRS doesn’t want you to call them if you have a payment problem. The agency says its representatives don’t have information beyond what’s shown in the tool.


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Stimulus check 3: How much money you’ll get

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Can I register for direct deposit using the Get My Payment tool?

If you don’t have a direct deposit account already set up with the federal government, the IRS tool doesn’t have a feature to add it. That’s a departure from the first stimulus check.

However, the IRS FAQ for Get My Payment says you can provide banking information if the IRS is unable to deliver your payment. After your payment is returned to the IRS, you’ll be able to add your banking information in the tool.

With the IRS officially extending the 2020 tax filing deadline to May 17 and delaying processing returns, trying to register for a new direct deposit account with your 2020 tax return may not get you into the system quickly enough, especially now that the IRS and Treasury have begun sending paper stimulus checks.

What does the Need More Information message mean?

According to the IRS FAQ for the 2021 payment, a “Need More Information” message in the Get My Payment tool means your payment was returned because the US Postal Service wasn’t able to deliver it.

The FAQ says you’ll be able to have your payment reissued as a direct deposit, by providing a routing and account number for a bank account, a prepaid debit card (the card must be reloadable, the IRS said) or a financial service that has a routing and account number associated with it. The updated FAQ said you can also update your mailing address to receive your payment.

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The IRS and US Treasury are sending the third round of stimulus payments.


Sarah Tew/CNET

What if the tool says Payment Status Not Available?

Don’t be alarmed if the Get My Payment tool gives you a message that says “Payment Status Not Available.” You may see this message until your payment is processed, according to the IRS. So, you don’t have to do anything.

However, it could also mean you’re not eligible for a payment, according to the IRS. So you may want to double-check your eligibility and plug in your numbers in our stimulus check calculator to see if you are due money.

What should I do if Get My Payment says the IRS sent me a third stimulus payment, but I didn’t receive it?

If the IRS’ online tool said the agency has issued your stimulus money, but you have no record of it in your bank account and it never arrived in your mailbox, you may need to file a stimulus check payment trace. You’ll need to have the letter the IRS may have sent you.

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If your money is tied up in any way, the IRS Get My Payment tracking tool will indicate a problem.


Sarah Tew/CNET

Do I need to hold on to the IRS letter confirming my third stimulus payment?

If the IRS issues you a stimulus check, it sends a notice by mail to your last known address within 15 days after making the payment, to confirm delivery. The letter contains information on when and how the payment was made and how to report it to the IRS if you didn’t receive your check. The letter is helpful if you don’t receive your full payment and need to claim your money later. Here’s how to recover the information if you lost or tossed the letter.

How can I track the status of my stimulus check if it’s being mailed to me?

If your third stimulus check is going out in the mail, the US Postal Service has a free app that notifies you when it’s about to deliver your stimulus money from the IRS. Called Informed Delivery, the mail-tracking service automatically scans your letters and alerts you as to when they’ll be delivered. Here’s more on how to set up and use the letter-tracking service from the USPS to keep tabs on your payment.

What if I’m still missing money from the first or second stimulus check?

The IRS is no longer automatically sending out the first and second payments. If you believe you’re still owed money from either of those payment rounds, your best chance of claiming those funds is to file for the Recovery Rebate Credit as part of the tax season 2020. If you’re eligible, you’ll need to know the amount of money the IRS allotted you, which you can find out online or from the letter the agency mailed. The IRS said the updated Get My Payment tracker won’t give you information on the first and second checks. Instead, you need to set up and check your IRS account for information on those two payments.

For more stimulus check details, here’s everything to know about the third check. Here’s every way the March 2021 stimulus bill can benefit you And this is what we know so far about whether a fourth stimulus check could happen.

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