Stimulus status: Follow our tips to track your $600 check with IRS’ Get My Payment tool

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Waiting for your second stimulus check? Use the IRS’ tracking tool to keep tabs on your payment.


Sarah Tew/CNET

By now, the IRS has made the majority of the second stimulus checks going out to those who are eligible, with a week to go before a Jan. 15 deadline to complete sending the new $600 stimulus payments. That’s a tight turn-around, and it means that 1 in 5 people who are due a check still haven’t received their money yet. If you’re still waiting for your first or second stimulus check, you may be one of millions of people experiencing problems receiving their checks. Or it may be delayed and then you’ll need to file a claim with the IRS after the Jan. 15 deadline.

To see the status of your payment, the IRS has a free tracking app called Get My Payment that can give you insight into your second stimulus check, such as whether your $600 stimulus check money will arrive through direct depositpaper checks or EIP card and when it’s being sent. (Here’s how to track your mailed check to your house.) 

It can also tell you how much money you can expect (we decode the IRS’ stimulus formula here), and if there are any issues that might be holding up your check’s delivery. But there are sometimes confusing errors messages you might see. We’ll tell you what they mean. 

Important things to know before you use the Get My Payment tool

The payment-tracking tool, called Get My Payment, requires a bit of decoding:

  • 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.
  • 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.

You should receive a letter after the IRS issues your payment, with information on the amount you received and how you received it.

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.


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Are you getting an error message when using Get My Payment?

When the IRS rolled out the tool last spring, you might have seen confusing messages when using the status app. To help explain the messages, the IRS created an FAQ to explain common status messages. In our early checks this time around, we also received a few confusing messages. 

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.

Can I set up direct deposit with Get My Payment?

For the first 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, the answer is no. “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.

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


Sarah Tew/CNET

It’s free to see when your stimulus check arrives in the mail

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.

Don’t lose the IRS letter confirming your second 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.

For more information, here’s everything to know about a second stimulus check, including when the next IRS checks could potentially get sent and who might qualify for more money.



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