Stimulus check timeline status: Payment details and updates, IRS scorecard

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If you don’t have your stimulus check, when’s it coming? If you got the latest one, are you sure you got the right amount? Here’s what you need to know.


Sarah Tew/CNET

A fresh new wave of stimulus checks will start to arrive Saturday and Sunday, ending a wait for the $1,400 payments for millions more people. By this weekend, Social Security, SSI and SSDI recipients could start seeing payments come in electronically to a Direct Express card or through paper checks in the mail. Also in this batch with the checks and EIP debit cards will be 2 million “plus-up” adjustments made through direct deposit, the IRS said Friday. However, people who receive veterans benefits and don’t file taxes don’t have a payment date yet. (Here’s how to track your check with the IRS and follow your payment to your mailbox.)

For millions of people, getting that check may be just the first part of the journey. There are several situations that could result in a partial payment, such as if the IRS uses your 2019 taxes to calculate your stimulus share, but you’re entitled to more (this is what the plus-up adjustments are about). There may have been a change to your AGI, or maybe new dependents, like a 2020 baby, were left out. 

It could be there’s a holdup in delivering your stimulus check and you’ll need to know how to report or find the rest of your payment. For example, if your check never arrives (but an IRS letter said it did), you may need to request a payment trace. That’s why it’s critical you know how much money you should expect. We’ll explain what to expect below. In the meantime, here’s what we know about a fourth stimulus check happening, and how child tax credit payments will bring more money if you have eligible dependents and qualify for the CTC. This story was updated with new information.

Stimulus check schedule: The current timeline and scorecard

This weekend, SSI and SSDI recipients may finally get their payments, though many veterans will still have to wait. If you receive federal benefits, you’ll see your stimulus money either as an electronic transfer to an existing benefits card like Direct Express, your bank account or in the mail. The IRS will not 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 may see an electronic transfer as an adjustment called a “plus-up” appear in their bank account. This is primarily for people who received a partial payment based on 2019 taxes, but are actually due more money based on their 2020 taxes. The people receiving this now have had their 2020 taxes processed by the IRS.

Note that it could take days between the date the IRS or Treasury processes your particular payment and when you receive it, especially if your check is delivered through the mail. If your life circumstances changed between your second check and now, any complications could hold up your payment. If you moved recently, you’ll 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 “plus-up” adjustments ($5 billion) 2 million ($5 billion) Not disclosed Not disclosed

You can (and should) track your stimulus payment status these two ways

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 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.

Social Security, SSI, SSDI, veterans and other federal beneficiaries: Your timeline is different

After a weeks-long holdup, the IRS said it is ready to start making payments for SSDI and SSI recipients and retired railroad workers, many of whom automatically qualify for the third check. The first payments are set to arrive the weekend of April 3, with majority of payments going out 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 is 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. 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. 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
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 if you’re missing part of your stimulus money?

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

For example, the agency processed your 2019 tax return before it received 2020 tax forms and you are 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 and send you a supplemental payment for the difference between what you originally received and the the amount your now qualify for. You do not 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 nonfiler 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 stimulus delivery could be delayed or divided up because…

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

Yes, your tax return could cause a snag in your payment 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 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.)

How you’ll need to report a problem with your payment

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 to do instead? See our 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 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 actually be ‘due’ until the end of 2021

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 stimulus check details you may need to know about

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.

source: cnet.com