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What’s my stimulus check status? Tips to track your $600 with the Get My Payment app – CNET

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If your second stimulus check hasn’t arrived, here’s how to track it down — and the first check, too.

Sarah Tew/CNET

With all the turmoil in Washington, it may be easy to forget that the IRS must stop sending second stimulus checks at the end of this week — Friday, Jan. 15, to be exact. For anyone who has not received their ‘$600’ payment, or was caught up in the IRS’ delivery error with direct deposit, the Jan. 15 stimulus deadline looms large. It may mean you need to file a claim with the IRS after the deadline to get your money later this year, or, in some cases, reach out to the IRS directly

Before we get ahead of ourselves, the first step is to check the status of your second stimulus payment, you can use a free tracking tool from the IRS called Get My Payment, which can let you know if your $600 stimulus check money will arrive through direct depositEIP card or a paper check — and when it’s getting sent. (You can also track your mailed check to your house.) 

The tool can also tell you how much money you can expect to receive in a second stimulus check (we decode the IRS’ stimulus formula here), and if there are any issues that might be holding up your check’s delivery. But you might also see a confusing error message. We’ll tell you what it means and what to do. (Here’s how much money you could in a third stimulus check.)

What to know before you use the IRS’ Get My Payment tool

The IRS’ payment-tracking tool, called Get My Payment, requires a bit of explanation. Here’s what you should know:

  • The IRS updates its status tracking information once a day, overnight.
  • 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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What does ‘Need More Information’ mean, specifically?

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.

What should I do if I see the ‘Payment Status Not Available’ message? 

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. 

Make sure you 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 set up new direct deposit info 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.

We’ve asked the US Treasury and IRS for additional clarification.

Next step: Follow your stimulus check right to 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.