How to track the third stimulus check and find out its status

The feds have created a way to see when your third coronavirus stimulus check will arrive — but it’s far from foolproof.

The Internal Revenue Service reopened its “Get My Payment” tool so taxpayers can track the status of the $1,400 payments that started hitting bank accounts over the weekend.

The tool should be familiar to anyone who received either of the first two economic impact payments Congress authorized last year. It’s a simple online form that should tell you whether your payment has been processed and when to expect it — after you enter your Social Security number, birth date, street address and ZIP code. 

But the tool’s latest iteration faced complaints from people who didn’t see details about when the much-needed money would arrive.

“Get My Payment” became a trending topic on Twitter Monday morning as taxpayers griped about the tool spitting out four dreaded words: “Payment Status – Not Available.”

The IRS says there are three reasons you might see that vague message. It’s possible that your payment just hasn’t been processed yet, or the IRS doesn’t have enough information to send it to you.

It may also mean that you’re not eligible for the check. Congress tightened the eligibility rules so that anyone making more than $80,000 a year won’t receive any money. Full payments are still available to individuals who had an income of up to $75,000 on their 2019 or 2020 tax return.

"Get My Payment" became a trending topic on Twitter Monday morning as taxpayers griped about the tool spitting out four dreaded words: "Payment Status - Not Available."
‘Get My Payment’ became a trending topic on Twitter Monday morning as taxpayers griped about the tool spitting out four dreaded words: ‘Payment Status – Not Available.’
AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File

While it may be tough to wait, the IRS urged taxpayers to be patient. The “Get My Payment” tool updates daily, so check back regularly if the payment status isn’t available right away. Most checks should arrive automatically, and calling the IRS or your bank won’t speed up the process, officials say.

“Even though the tax season is in full swing, IRS employees again worked around the clock to quickly deliver help to millions of Americans struggling to cope with this historic pandemic,” IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig said in a statement last week.

If the IRS has your information on file, Get My Payment should tell you the date of the payment that will come by paper check or direct deposit, which is what most people will get.

The tool may show some taxpayers a “Need More Information” message, which means the Postal Service was unable to deliver your payment. Those people can use Get My Payment to submit bank account information to the IRS.

The Get My Payment tool wasn’t the only source of grief for taxpayers awaiting their stimulus funds.

JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo customers slammed the banks on social media after they said the funds would not be available until at least Wednesday even though the first checks arrived this weekend.

That’s because March 17 is the official payment date on the first batch of checks, according to the banks. The IRS says some people may see the direct deposits show up as pending or provisional payments before that date.

This also isn’t the first batch of complaints about Get My Payment. The tool told some people earlier this year that their $600 stimulus checks had been sent to unfamiliar bank accounts as the result of a snafu involving tax-preparation firms. 

As the IRS distributed the first $1,200 checks last spring, some people who owed no tax and didn’t get a refund on their most recent tax return were temporarily unable to expedite their payments before the feds fixed a bug in the Get My Payment tool.

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