What to Do If You Haven&039t Received Your Stimulus Check | Nolo

Millions of people have already received their third stimulus checks, many of them through direct deposit. but many people haven’t even received their second stimulus payment, never mind their third payment. while some can expect to receive a prepaid debit card or paper check in the coming weeks, others may not receive a check at all this time. (Fewer households are expected to receive a third stimulus check due to the income phase-out. Read about eligibility in our article on income phase-out for the third stimulus check.) here are some answers for those who haven’t received their second or third stimulus payment.

verify the get my payment tool

The irs website has been loading data for your third stimulus payment into a tool on their website called get my payment. If your information has been updated, you will be able to see the date you can expect to receive your stimulus payment, or the date it was deposited or mailed. You should also be able to see if your money was directly deposited or if you will receive the payment in the mail.

many people see a message that the irs does not yet have enough information or that you are not eligible for the payment. this message does not necessarily mean that you are not eligible for payment. this information may be updated next weekend.

These are some of the issues people are seeing with either their actual deposit or the Get My Payment tool.

my stimulus payment went to the wrong bank account

If the Get My Payment tool tells you that your check will be direct deposited, it will also provide you with the last four digits of the bank account number where your stimulus payment will be deposited. for initial checks, some people saw their deposit going to an old bank account, or even saw bank account numbers they didn’t recognize. this is what to do:

  • if the tool says your payment was deposited into your bank account but you haven’t seen it yet, your bank may still be processing it.
  • you won’t necessarily get the third check deposited directly, even if the first or second was direct deposited.
  • If your third stimulus payment is sent to a closed bank account, the bank must wire the money to the IRS. The IRS will not redeposit it or send you a paper check. instead, you’ll need to file your 2021 tax return (by April 15, 2022) to claim your “recovery refund credit.” see below for instructions on how to claim the refund on your tax return.
  • if h&r block filed your last tax return and signed up for a “refund transfer,” the irs could deposit your stimulus payment with h& ;r block (so you can see your account number instead of yours). h&r block should transfer the money to your bank account within 24 hours.
  • those who filed their last tax return with turbo tax should receive their payments in the same bank accounts through which received their tax refunds.

my third stimulus payment was too low

Many individuals and families will find that their third stimulus checks are lower than they thought. That could be because people who earn more than a certain amount have part of their $1,400 payment taken away. For example, singles earning more than $75,000 in adjusted gross income will have their second stimulus check reduced by 28% of income over $75,000. married individuals filing jointly and heads of households will see their payments reduced by a similar amount.

The third stimulus payment is technically based on your 2021 income, but the IRS uses your 2020 tax return (or 2019 tax return if that’s the last one you filed) to calculate it. If your income drops in 2021, making you eligible for one payment or a larger payment, you will be able to file a tax return for your 2021 taxes (before April 15, 2021) and receive the stimulus money you missed: it’s called a recovery refund credit.

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(calculate how much you can receive with our stimulus check calculator).

why do we only receive half the amount?

many couples are finding that they receive direct deposits for only a portion of what they think their stimulus payment should be. Some have had half their pay deposited one week and half the next, and other couples are finding that their dependents’ portion of their stimulus money is split between both parents.

The IRS has explained that the first payment made could be based on the taxpayer’s 2019 tax return, and the second payment is an “additional” payment that is based on the taxpayer’s 2020 tax return.

The IRS has also said that part of the problem may be due to “injured spouse” claims on a tax return. (If the IRS takes part of a joint refund to settle the tax debt (or back child support) of only one spouse, the “injured” spouse can request a refund.) the irs says these couples will receive their payments as two separate payments.

if you haven’t received the full amount, wait until you receive your 1444 notice, your economic impact payment, from the irs. that letter should have the correct amount of your stimulus payment. if you don’t receive deposits or checks for that amount, you may need to submit a recovery refund credit (see below). You can also read the irs press release for april 1, which contains many helpful details.

I had a problem with the first or second payment

Some people had too much income in 2019 to qualify for the first or second stimulus payment (as the IRS based eligibility on 2019 income), but their income dropped enough in 2020 to qualify. If you fall into this category, you can file a tax return for your 2020 taxes (before May 17, 2021), and you’ll receive a recovery refund credit as part of your refund (more on that below).

In other cases, families received stimulus payments via direct deposit, but the IRS forgot to add money for one or more of their children. sometimes there didn’t seem to be a reason for this (the family filed a tax return electronically in 2018 or 2019 claiming the child tax credit for all of their children). For other families, it appears that the IRS did not update the number of children taxpayers have, even for families who claimed new children on their 2019 tax returns. You will be able to claim the rest of the stimulus payment when you file your next tax return. .

get my payment says payment issued but I haven’t received it

The irs says it can take three to four weeks to receive a check after you mail it. If it’s been weeks since the Get My Payment tool says the payment was mailed and you haven’t received it, you can request a payment tracking. the irs will investigate what happened to your check; If the check didn’t cash, you’ll need to claim the “Recovery Refund Credit” (RRC) on your next tax return. (See below for instructions on how to claim the refund on your tax return.) If the IRS finds that the check was cashed, you will receive a claim packet from the Treasury Department with a copy of the cashed check and instructions on how to file a claim.

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Similarly, if the Get My Payment tool says your payment was direct deposited, but the money doesn’t appear in your bank account after five days, check with your bank first. If the bank says you haven’t received a payment, you can request a payment follow-up.

To request payment tracking, call 800-919-9835 or complete IRS Form 3911, Taxpayer’s Statement Regarding Refund.

why did i get a debit card?

The IRS issued millions of debit cards to taxpayers in lieu of the second stimulus check, but will send fewer debit cards for the third payment. Visa prepaid debit cards, issued by Metabank, are called Economic Impact Payment (EIP) cards. Your EIP Card will arrive in a white envelope with “Economic Impact Payment Card” on the return address. You will need to activate the card by calling the phone number that comes with the card and choosing a 4-digit pin number. (For cards with more than one name, only the person who appears first on the card can activate it.)

You can use your eip card for purchases or use it to withdraw cash (subject to a daily limit). you can also transfer funds from your eip card directly to your own bank account, after registering for online access. (The card will come with instructions on how to set up online access.)

If you use the card wisely, it will be free, but there are some fees to be aware of. if you use an out-of-network ATM or bank teller machine to withdraw cash, you may have to pay a fee; and if you check your debit card balance, either at an in-network or out-of-network ATM net. network ATM, you will be charged a small fee. (You can use your web browser or a free mobile app to check your balance instead.)

The IRS has announced that the vast majority of taxpayers should receive their third stimulus payment via direct deposit this time.

I received a “payment status not available” message

Many reviewing their second stimulus check saw a message that said “Payment Status #2: Not Available.” The IRS has indicated that these individuals will not receive a stimulus check by direct deposit or mail and will need to file their 2020 tax return (by April 15, 2021) to claim their “recovery refund credit.” See below for instructions on how to claim the refund on your tax return.

These messages are now gone and will be replaced by information about the third payment.

I received a second payment but my spouse did not

There have been cases where a couple files their tax returns as “married filing jointly” and both spouses are eligible for a $1400 stimulus check, but one spouse received a payment and the another did not (and the message “get my payment” tool says there is no information available for the spouse who did not receive a check). this is an error on the part of the irs. Unfortunately, the spouse who did not receive a check will have to claim a catch-up refund credit on their 2020 tax return. See below for instructions on how to claim the refund on their tax return.

how to claim recovery refund credit

If you did not receive your first or second stimulus payment, or it was for the wrong amount, you will need to file a tax return for tax year 2020 (by May 17, 2021, unless you request an extension) . You will file Form 1040 or Form 1040-SR (Senior Tax Return). You will need your 1444 notice, your IRS Economic Impact Payment, when you file your return. You should have received your first 1444 notice (in the form of a letter) sometime last spring or summer, and you should have received your second (called a 1444b notice) in February 2021. You will need the payment amount in the letter when you file. your tax return in 2021.

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If you don’t receive your third stimulus payment, or it was for the wrong amount, you’ll need to file a tax return for tax year 2021 (by April 15, 2022, unless you request an extension). You will file Form 1040 or Form 1040-SR (Senior Tax Return). You will need your 1444 notice, your IRS Economic Impact Payment, when you file your return. you will need the payment amount in the letter when you file your taxes in 2021.

You can take the recovery refund credit for any refund amount that is greater than the economic impact payment you received when you completed line 30 of form 1040 or form 1040-sr. The instructions for Form 1040 and Form 1040-SR include a worksheet you can use to figure the amount of credit you’re eligible for.

my stimulus payment was too high

Some people whose income grew too much in 2019 weren’t eligible for a full stimulus payment, but they got it anyway since the IRS based the payment on their 2018 taxes. Those people won’t have to pay it back.


In other cases, families were paid an additional $500 or $600 for children over 17 (families are supposed to receive $500 for each child under 17). this could happen if the irs took the number of children who qualified for the child tax credit in 2018 without updating the children’s ages for 2019. but in other cases, it appears that the irs took the number of dependents from the tax return of a family from 2018, regardless of their age. The IRS has said that those who received such overpayments will not have to pay them back.

tool for non-filers is no longer available

Those who had little income and did not need to file a tax return for 2018 or 2019 taxes had until November 21, 2020 to submit “non-filers” information to the IRS. if they didn’t, they may have to wait until 2021 to get their stimulus “recovery refund credit” by filing a 2020 tax return. with the second and third rounds of stimulus payments, there’s no choice to add or change your bank account information.

if you find yourself in this situation, you can file a free tax return with the irs. go to their free file page, where you will be asked to create an account and provide your social security number and bank information for direct deposit.

how can errors be corrected?

The IRS mails the 1444 notice within 15 days of making a direct deposit or mailing a paper check. that letter will tell you the amount of your stimulus payment and how it was made. the letter also provides instructions on how to fix problems with your payment.

do not answer phone calls or text messages about your stimulus check

The Internal Revenue Service will not call, text, or email you about your stimulus payment. The Federal Trade Commission is warning that thieves are posing as government employees to take advantage of recipients of stimulus payments. These scammers may ask for your personal information or threaten to lose your driver’s license if you don’t send money in the form of money transfers or gift cards. ignore these communications.

updated April 5, 2021

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