Is your stimulus check in the mail? 2 ways to track it to your mailbox with the USPS


Stimulus check or junk mail? Know what to look for so you don’t toss it in the trash.

Angela Lang/CNET

After Friday, time runs out for the IRS and Treasury to meet the Jan. 15 deadline for sending out the second stimulus checks. But unlike direct deposit, which is a near-instant transfer, payments of up to $600 per person that are mailed through a paper check or EIP debit card may just take longer. If you’re eligible for a second payment of up to $600 per person, but you still haven’t received the money, your check could arrive a few days after the cutoff.

If you’re waiting and wondering, the best thing you can do for yourself is the track your payment through one or two free and easy ways. The first is by using the IRS’ stimulus check tracker tool, which can inform you about your payment timeline, how it’s arriving, your second stimulus check total and if there’s been an error processing your check

Then, if your check is coming in the mail, you can sign up for a free USPS service that will show you when your letters have been scanned, are in transit and have been delivered to your home. That includes your second stimulus check, of course. If your check doesn’t come shortly after that date, you’ll have to file a claim during tax season to get it and that could affect how quickly it arrives. We’ll walk you through how you can use the USPS service to monitor your stimulus payment in the mail. (Here’s the latest proposal for a third stimulus check.) This story was recently updated.

USPS Informed Delivery: Here’s how it works

Informed Delivery is a free mail-tracking service from the USPS that automatically scans your letters and can alert you with an image each time a letter with your name on it is about to be delivered — this includes, of course, your second stimulus payment

When the USPS runs mailed letters through its automated mail sorting equipment, it automatically creates a digital image of the front of all letter-size mail. Anyone who signs up for Informed Delivery can access the information by asking the USPS to notify you when each piece of mail with your name on it is on the way. Note that it can take three days to activate your account.

As part of the program, you’ll receive an email each morning, Monday through Saturday, to notify you of any mail being delivered to you. You’ll also see a grayscale image of the front of the letter. Informed Delivery has free apps for Android and iPhone that you can use. 

Just be aware that signing up means you’ll see all your mail scanned by the post office, not just your stimulus check. You can cancel the service at any time. 

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How Informed Delivery can track your second stimulus payment (and a third)

Informed Delivery does have some limitations. For example, it’ll work with many residential and personal post office box addresses but not businesses. It also won’t work for some residential buildings where the Postal Service hasn’t yet identified each unit. 

To check whether Informed Delivery is available in your area, head to the Postal Service’s Informed Delivery page.

1. Tap Sign Up for Free.

2. Enter your mailing address and confirm it’ll work with the service; then accept the terms and conditions and tap Continue

3. On the next page, choose your username, password and security questions. Then, enter your contact information and tap Continue.

4. On the next page, you’ll need to verify your identity. Tap Verify identity online if you want to receive a verification code on your phone or tap Request invitation code by mail if you want the Postal Service to mail you a code. You may also have the option to visit a post office to verify your identity in person.

For more stimulus check details, here’s how to calculate an estimate of your total, what we know about a third stimulus check and how some of your rights have changed for the better with a second stimulus check.

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