Where’s my $600 stimulus check? Tips to track it online with the Get My Payment app – CNET

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If your second stimulus check hasn’t arrived yet, here’s the first step to tracking it down.


Sarah Tew/CNET

If you still haven’t received your second stimulus check, you need to keep a close eye on the state of your “$600” payment before the Jan. 15 stimulus deadline comes and goes. Maybe your check got caught in the IRS’ delivery error with direct deposit. Or maybe your paper check or EIP card is still on its way, so keep checking the mail. It could be that you’re one of the millions of people who will need to file a claim with the IRS after the deadline and get this second stimulus payment later in 2021.

Right now, the best thing you can do for yourself is to use one or both of the free tools we know of to check in on the status of your second stimulus payment. The IRS’ Get My Payment tool, an online app, will tell you how your $600 stimulus check money will arrive and when it’s being sent, among other things. You can also track your mailed check to your house — or, in some cases, reach out to the IRS directly.

Be forewarned that the Get My Payment tool can also be hard to decipher. For example, you may see a vague error message highlighting an issue that might be holding up your check’s delivery. We’ll tell you what it means and what to do. (Plus, here’s why you’ll get the total stimulus money you do and how large a payment you could expect in a third stimulus check.) This story updates often.

Read this before using the IRS Get My Payment app online

The IRS’ payment-tracking tool, called Get My Payment, requires a bit of explanation:

  • The IRS updates its status tracking information overnight, once a day.
  • If you try to access the tool during a busy period, you may wait in a queue before you can enter your information.
  • You’ll need to plug in your Social Security Number or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, date of birth, street address and ZIP or postal code — so have those handy.
  • The portal may show your payment status, whether it’s been scheduled, the payment method (direct deposit or by mail) and date. It’ll also let you know if the service can’t yet determine your status — more below on error messages.
  • The IRS is sending payments on a schedule and in batches. If your payment schedule is set, the Get My Payment tool will show you the date.

After using the IRS tracker, you could also sign up for a free service from the post office that tells you exactly when your stimulus check will arrive in the mail (more below).


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Second stimulus checks: Everything you need to know

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What does the ‘Need More Information’ error really mean?

You may see an error if the tool can’t determine your eligibility — or if you’re completely ineligible — if your payment status isn’t available, or if a lot of people are trying to access the tool at once. Here are some initial reasons why Get My Payment may not be able to track your payment status, though the IRS has since said it’s improved its tool. 

If the Get My Payment tool gave you a payment date but you still haven’t received your money, the IRS may need more details from you. Check the Get My Payment tool again — if it reports “Need More Information,” this could indicate that your check has been returned because the post office was unable to deliver it, an IRS representative told CNET.

After you see the “Need More Information” message, the online tool will let you enter your banking information to receive your payment straight to your bank account. The IRS said If you don’t provide your bank account information, the agency will hold your payment till it receives a current mailing address. Head to the IRS change-address page for how to update your address with the IRS. You’ll also want to inform the USPS of your new residence.

I got a ‘Payment Status Not Available’ message — what should I do?

It’s normal for the Get My Payment tool to give you a message that says “Payment Status Not Available” until the payment is scheduled to be issued, according to the IRS. This message does not mean you’re not eligible or that you won’t receive a payment — you’ll likely just have to wait. 

Important reminder: Keep the IRS letter confirming your payment was sent

With the first check, the IRS sent mail to a taxpayer’s last known address within 15 days after sending the payment to confirm delivery. The letter contained information on when and how the payment was made and how to report to the IRS if you didn’t receive your check. The IRS said it is sending a letter for the second checks as well. Hold on to the letter in case you don’t receive your full payment and need to claim your money later.

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The IRS and US Treasury are now making the second round of stimulus payments.


Sarah Tew/CNET

You can’t change your direct deposit account at this time

For the first round of stimulus checks, you could use the Get My Payment tool to give the IRS your banking information to have your check sent via direct deposit. According to the IRS’ FAQ, for the second check, this option is no longer available: “Your payment information cannot be changed. If you don’t get a payment and you are eligible to receive one, it may be claimed on your 2020 tax return as the Recovery Rebate Credit.”

For the second checks, the IRS said it is using banking information it gathered from your 2019 tax return, from the now-closed Non-Filers tool if you used it prior to Dec. 22, 2020, or from a federal agency that issued benefits to you, such as the Social Security Administration.

The US Treasury and IRS have not responded to our requests for additional clarification.

Next step: Track your stimulus check until it arrives in your mailbox

If your second stimulus check is going to arrive 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.

For more information, here’s everything to know about a second stimulus check, how the IRS actually decides how much money you get and here’s what we know about a third stimulus check.