Problems tracking your stimulus check and setting up direct deposit? 10 reasons why


Need your stimulus money? You’re not alone.

James Martin/CNET

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Get My Payment is an online tool designed by the IRS to help you set up direct deposit for your coronavirus stimulus check of up to $1,200. It will also help you track the money’s progress into your bank account. The idea is to deliver your economic relief money faster than you’d otherwise get it via snail mail, a process that could take up to 20 weeks at a rate of 5 million checks per week, according to Congress. 

There’s just one problem: The online portal doesn’t always work. We’ve heard from CNET readers who have experienced roadblocks checking their status and completing their direct deposit information through the IRS website tool, and a few of us have experienced error messages ourselves.

“It stops at ‘payment status not available,’ and ‘we can’t determine your eligibility,'” said CNET reader Tabmowj in a comment.

“In my case the IRS already has my bank account information, but they are not using it for direct deposit; rather they are using it for direct withdrawal, which is something else,” said another commenter, Pecabot.

Read more: What to expect when coronavirus lockdown ends and cities reopen

We did some digging — mostly in the IRS’ help page — and found several reasons why the Get My Payment tool may not be working for everyone as intended. Note that this list is not exhaustive and may not apply to your particular situation. We’ve also reached out to the IRS multiple times for more information about these issues.  

As for the solution? We’re trying to learn more about that, too. In some cases, the IRS may not have a fix yet. There may be nothing to do but to wait and try again with the Get My Payment tool or you may find that your check arrives in the mail instead of in your bank account. If you’re worried about making rent or car payments before your stimulus money arrives, or you need information about filing for unemployment, we have some additional resources to help.

You checked at the ‘wrong’ time of day

The IRS only updates information once a day, so if you happen to time it before the update comes in, you may be out of luck. You can always try again later in the day or keep checking at the same time each day.

You entered your information incorrectly

The simplest reason the IRS might not be able to match you with your stimulus payment status could come down to your keyboard. If you accidentally entered a typo, the wrong address or a different name than the government has under your record, the tool may not be able to find you. This one is simple enough to correct — so try again before assuming the worst.

You used Turbo Tax, H&R Block or other tax-preparation apps to file past taxes

Your total stimulus allowance is based on your 2018 taxes, or your 2019 taxes, if you already filed them before the government extended the federal tax deadline to July 15

If you filed your taxes using popular tax preparation software, like Turbo Tax, H&R Block and others, like millions of people (myself included), you may run into issues. 

According to The Washington Post:

Several million people who filed their taxes via H&R Block, TurboTax and other services were unable to get their payments because the IRS did not have their direct deposit information on file, according to the Treasury, companies and experts.

The IRS and Treasury departments are aware of the problems and are working on a fix, the Washington Post also said. We have repeatedly reached out to the IRS for more information.

Turbo Tax provided this statement in an email to CNET:  

The bank account information for TurboTax filers is transmitted to the IRS as a part of the tax return. The IRS has the appropriate banking information for all TurboTax filers that received a refund electronically, which can be used by them to distribute stimulus payments. This is true regardless of whether a customer chose to receive their refund on a debit card, selected refund transfer or other services.

Any TurboTax customer who selects a refund transfer or a debit card and gets a stimulus payment sent from the IRS to those accounts will receive those stimulus payments without delay or fees into the account they received their tax refund.

The IRS is responsible for determining taxpayer eligibility for receiving a stimulus and, if a taxpayer is eligible, how and when the stimulus payments will be delivered to them. The IRS would be the best source for additional information related to their online stimulus tracking tools and payment details and timing. 


The waiting is the hardest part.

Angela Lang/CNET

You haven’t filed a 2018 or 2019 tax return

It the IRS can’t determine if you’re eligible in the first place, you may see an error message that reads “Payment Status Not Available.” If the IRS doesn’t have your tax information, this message could flash on screen.

Your 2019 return hasn’t been processed yet

If you filed your 2019 taxes ahead of the original April 15 deadline, but the IRS hasn’t had a chance to process you, it won’t be able to determine if you’re eligible for a stimulus payment of how much you’d receive.

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You don’t usually file a return, and your information isn’t in the system

You may still be eligible to receive a stimulus payment if you don’t usually file taxes for a number of reasons. The IRS has a system in place for nonfilers (“Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info Here”), and for people who receive SSA, RRB Form 1099, SSI or VA benefits. The IRS advises that if you see the message “Payment Status Not Available,” your information may not have been processed or loaded into the system. The advice is to try again later.

You’re not eligible to receive a stimulus check

If you see the message “Payment Status Not Available” and you don’t belong to the group above, it may be you aren’t eligible to receive a stimulus check. It might be that your adjusted gross income from the previous year is high enough that you don’t qualify, or you might be in the specific age range that is excluded. We have a handy primer on eligibility, or you can check the IRS website directly. 

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You didn’t answer the security questions correctly

The Get My Payment tool asks you for security questions to help verify your identity. If you get those wrong, it could lock you out of the system — temporarily, of course.

You’ve temporarily been locked out of the Get My Payment tool

If you see a cryptic message that only says “Try again later,” you might be locked out of the tool.

According to the IRS, “If the information you enter does not match our records multiple times, you will be locked out of Get My Payment for 24 hours for security reasons. There is no need to contact the IRS.”

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Your bank is struggling to keep up with demand from people checking their accounts

If you’re receiving an error message from the IRS and are turning to your bank for answers — like to see if a deposit has been made to your account — you might find you’re having trouble taking a look. Some banks have reportedly had issues keeping up with the high demand, especially on Wednesday, as customers look to their account balances for the stimulus money.

We’ll continue to update this story with new information as the situation develops. Meanwhile, here are ways to spend your economic stimulus money, five things not to do when coronavirus quarantine ends and a new perspective on boredom during lockdown.


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