Stimulus check timeline update: Important payment details, plus-up money, IRS scorecard – CNET

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Here’s your status update on the IRS sending $1,400 stimulus checks — and what you need to know about the timeline and potential delays.


Sarah Tew/CNET

The IRS is now in the thick of sending the third wave of $1,400 stimulus payments, a rollout that will continue into the week. This new stimulus check payment batch includes people who receive Social Security, SSI and SSDI benefits (but not these veterans just yet). People who the IRS owes money as a result of their 2019/2020 tax situation and a change to their AGI or dependents (like a 2020 baby) are also receiving “plus-up” payments from the IRS, mostly through direct deposit.

While some folks are reporting they’ve tracked their stimulus money to the mail or scheduled for later this week, many are expected to arrive by or around April 7, the IRS said. If your stimulus check amount was smaller than you think it should be, you might be eligible for a catch-up payment without having to file an amended tax form to receive it.

However, if your check is delayed, held up, or worse, never arrives (even if an IRS letter said it did), you may need to report that or find the rest of your stimulus money or request a payment trace. That’s why it’s important you know how much money you should expect. We explain what to expect below. In the meantime, here’s the talk of a potential fourth stimulus check, and how child tax credit payments will bring more money if you have eligible dependents and qualify for the CTC. This story was recently updated.

Stimulus check delivery status: The updated timeline and scorecard

This weekend through April 7 (and after), SSI and SSDI recipients will finally get their payments, though many veterans will still have to wait. If you receive federal benefits, you’ll get your stimulus money either as an electronic transfer to an existing benefits card, like Direct Express; a transfer to your bank account; or as a payment through the mail. The IRS won’t send EIP cards to this group, the Social Security Administration said.

Many people who don’t receive federal benefits and didn’t get a direct deposit by March 24 will receive a stimulus payment in the mail as a paper check or EIP debit card. However, some folks may see an electronic transfer appear in their bank account, as an adjustment called a “plus-up.” This is primarily for people who received a partial payment based on their 2019 taxes but who are actually due more money based on their 2020 taxes. The people receiving this now have had their 2020 taxes processed by the IRS. The IRS said it will continue to send these plus-up payments on a weekly basis as it processes tax forms and reevaluates payments.

Note that it could take days between the date the IRS or Treasury processes your payment and when you receive it, especially if your check is delivered through the mail. If your life circumstances changed between getting the second stimulus check, which was authorized in December, and now, any complications could hold up your payment. If you moved recently, you need to tell the IRS and USPS.

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

Stimulus check scorecard: Payments so far

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
Third payment batch, including Social Security, April 3 2 million, including “plus-up” adjustments ($5 billion) 2 million ($5 billion) Not disclosed Not disclosed

Yes, you can and should track your check status. Here are two ways to do that

The IRS updates its Get My Payment tracker tool for stimulus checks daily. This online app shows the status of your payment, including when a check is scheduled for delivery. The IRS portal also flags 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. The tracker also shows payment status for SSI and SSDI beneficiaries. You can use a free tool from the USPS to track your mailed stimulus payment.

Social Security, SSI, SSDI, veterans, more: What to know about your stimulus timeline

After a weeks-long holdup, the IRS said it’s making payments for SSDI and SSI recipients and retired railroad workers, many of whom automatically qualify for the third check. The first payments started going out the weekend of April 3, with the majority of payments made electronically — either through direct deposit or to existing Direct Express cards (PDF) — by April 7, according to the IRS.

For those who receive veterans benefits, the IRS said it’s reviewing data for Veterans Affairs benefit recipients and expects to determine a payment date soon, with payments possibly going out by mid-April. VA beneficiary payment information will in the future be available in the Get My Payment tool, the IRS said.

Note that you’ll most likely get the electronic payment transfer if this is how you normally receive benefits, and if you didn’t file taxes in 2019 or 2020. But, some in this subset of non-filers could receive an automatic payment sooner if they got a previous check by using the IRS’ Non-Filers tool, which is now closed. The SSA says this group will not receive an EIP debit card. Here’s our complete guide to stimulus checks for people receiving Social Security benefits.

Stimulus check delivery start and end dates

Stimulus bill signed into law March 11
First direct deposits made 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, unless you receive a “plus-up” adjustment for 2020 taxes
First Social Security, SSI, SSDI payment sent Weekend of April 3, most arriving April 7
First plus-up payments Weekend of April 3
VA benefits for veteran nonfilers Mid-April, more details to come
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)
Final claims for missing stimulus money 2021 tax season likely (in 2022)

What to know if you’re missing a part of your stimulus check

There are several reasons the IRS may owe you stimulus money after it sends out the third round of checks.

For example, the agency may have processed your 2019 tax return before it received 2020 tax forms and you’re entitled to a bigger payment. If this is your situation, the IRS said it will automatically evaluate if you qualify for more money after it receives your 2020 tax return. It will then send you a supplemental payment for the difference between what you originally received and the the amount you now qualify for. You don’t need to take any action to receive this supplemental payment, according to the IRS.

If you had a baby or added a dependent in 2020, the IRS said it will also automatically send you a supplement payment once it receives your taxes this year.

But what if a clerical error accidentally left out a new dependent? Or perhaps your payment never arrived or was accidentally garnished? 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 non-filer who isn’t typically required to file taxes).


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Stimulus check 3: How much money you’ll get

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Your payment delivery could be split up or delayed for these reasons

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

How your tax return could affect your payment delivery date

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 the amount of your stimulus 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.)

How you can report a problem with your payment

The IRS doesn’t want you to call if you have any issue with the delivery or amount of your stimulus check. So what to do instead? Our guide 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 other issues.

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


Sarah Tew/CNET

Stimulus payments could arrive through the end of 2021 by law

Although the IRS and Treasury are sending stimulus checks now, the agencies have until Dec. 31 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 gave them a 17-day window to get the payments out. 

On the other hand, the nearly nine-month delivery window also means some people may find themselves waiting for their payment, 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. 

More details about your stimulus payment you might need to know

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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