Stimulus check timeline update: Everything to know about when your payment will arrive – CNET

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If you didn’t get your stimulus check, when’s it coming? If you did, are you sure you got the right amount? Here’s what you need to know.


Sarah Tew/CNET

Up to 30 million more Americans could expect to see their stimulus check for up to $1,400 head their way in the next days and weeks. That’s because the Social Security Administration gave the IRS updated data, thus doing away with a situation that’d been holding up stimulus checks for Social Security recipients, including people in SSI and SSDI programs, and veterans who receive federal benefits.

Combined with the 127 millions stimulus checks already processed, the new figure could bring the total to 157 million checks, with millions of more payments going to qualified recipients in the next batch. So when will they all arrive, and what happens if your check encounters a problem? (First off, the IRS doesn’t want to hear from you.)

No matter which group you’re in, it may not help that the US Postal Service is currently experiencing delays, and some of you may not get a full payment for months if the IRS uses your 2019 taxes to calculate your share. We’ll go over these scenarios below. (And here’s the story so far on a fourth stimulus check.) This story has been updated with new information.

Stimulus check delivery status scorecard and timeline

The IRS and Treasury have distributed 127 million third stimulus payments to date, and are now prepping tens of millions more. 

People who didn’t receive a direct deposit by March 24 will receive a stimulus payment in the mail as a paper check or EIP debit card. No distribution date has been given for SSI and SSDI recipients, but we can expect up to 30 million payments soon (more below). With mail delays continuing, though, it isn’t clear how long it’ll take from the time the IRS or Treasury sends your payment to the date it’s received. Other additional complications could also hold up your payment. If you moved recently, tell the IRS and USPS.

Here’s how the checks have been sent so far:

Stimulus check scorecard

Direct deposit Paper checks EIP card Direct Express card
First payment batch — March 17 90 million ($242 billion) 150,000 ($442 million) Not released Not released
Second payment batch — March 24 17 million ($38 billion) 15 million ($34 billion) 5 million ($11 billion) Not released
Social Security, including SSI, SSDI Not disclosed Not disclosed Not disclosed Up to 30 million to come

After a weeks long holdup, the IRS can now prep payments for SSDI and SSI recipients; veterans; and retired railroad workers, many of whom automatically qualify for the third check. Many people are expected to receive money through a Direct Express card if this is how they normally get benefits, and if they didn’t file taxes in 2019 or 2020.

However, some in this subset of nonfilers could receive an automatic payment sooner if they got a previous check by using the IRS’ Non-Filers tool, which is now closed. In that case, you could get your payment in the current wave.

Stimulus check delivery start and end 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
Last day to get direct deposit March 24
SSI and SSDI checks sent Soon to be announced
IRS deadline to finish sending checks Dec. 31, 2021 (mandated by the bill)
Last date to receive a check January 2022 (if mailed checks sent late December)
Claims for missing stimulus money open 2021 tax season likely (in 2022)

How to see your stimulus check status from the IRS

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 could hold back or divvy up your stimulus payment delivery

Here’s more information on problems you might encounter with your stimulus check.

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If you don’t get all your stimulus check money right away, you may need to address the issue down the road.


Sarah Tew/CNET

What you should do if there’s a problem with your check

Sorry, but the IRS really doesn’t want you to call if you have any issue with the delivery or amount of your stimulus check. So what should you do instead? We have a guide that walks you through how to report stimulus check problems, including checks that never arrive (try filing a payment trace), direct deposit payments that go to the wrong account and more. 

Why your 2019 tax return could add a wrinkle

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 flip side, 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.)

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Millions may wind up getting a smaller check than they’re owed, depending on their 2020 taxes.


Sarah Tew/CNET

You’ll have to claim your missing money later, but no word yet on how or when

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).

Stimulus check money could legally arrive through December

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, such as the need to claim missing money. 

Additional stimulus check details for these groups of people

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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