IRS stimulus check 3 tracker: How to use Get My Payment, what it will and won’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

Are you waiting for your third stimulus checks to arrive through direct deposita paper check or EIP card? As of Wednesday, there were 90 million direct deposits, the IRS announced, and 150,000 paper checks mailed out. That means tens of millions more stimulus checks are yet to be delivered in batches over the coming weeks. 

If you’re waiting for your $1,400 check (calculate your total), we’ll explain what you need to know about tracking your payment with the IRS tool online — including what it will and won’t tell you. 

In addition, if any issue comes up with your stimulus check delivery, the tracker tool will be the IRS’ main way of communicating with you. Here’s everything you need to know below. For more details, here’s the latest talk about a fourth stimulus check, and here’s where to brush up on stimulus check qualifications. This story was recently updated.

IRS Get My Payment tracker: Update schedule and other things to know

The IRS tracking tool, called Get My Payment, is designed to share the status of your third stimulus check. To get the status of the third check, enter your Social Security number, date of birth, street address and ZIP code. Then the tool will display a message with information about your check.

What the tool will tell you:

  • Whether the payment 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 if you have a payment problem. The agency has said its representatives don’t have information beyond what’s in the tool.


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Stimulus check 3: How much money you’ll get

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Can I sign up 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 will 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 it mean if the status says ‘Need More Information’?

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 was unable to deliver it.

The FAQ says you will 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 does ‘Payment Status Not Available’ mean?

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 are 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.

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 the mail or in your bank account and it never arrived in your mailbox, you may need to file a stimulus check payment trace. It’s handy if you also 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 keep the IRS letter confirming my third stimulus payment? What if I can’t find it?

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 sent through mail?

If your third stimulus check is going out in the mail, the US Postal Service has a free app that can notify 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 can alert you 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 payments?

The IRS is no longer automatically sending out the first and second payments. If you believe you are still owed money from either of those rounds, your best chance of claiming that missing first or second payment is to file for the Recovery Rebate Credit as part of 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 will not 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.

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