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Stimulus Checks Started Arriving This Week -- Here's How to Know When to Expect Yours

By Matthew Frankel, CFP® - Updated Apr 15, 2020 at 7:53AM

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The IRS is launching a new tool to let Americans know the status of their money.

The $2.2 trillion economic stimulus package, formally known as the CARES Act, was signed into law about two weeks ago. And Economic Impact Payments -- often referred to as "stimulus checks" -- are already starting to show up in Americans' bank accounts.

However, the volume of payments processed so far is just a tiny fraction of those that will be paid out to qualifying households, who will receive as much as $1,200 per adult and $500 per qualifying child under 17. So, here's what has happened so far, and where to get information if your payment has not yet arrived in your bank account.

U.S. Treasury check with money on top.

Image source: Getty Images.

The first stimulus payments have started to arrive

The IRS announced via Twitter on Saturday, April 11 that the first Economic Impact Payments had been deposited into recipients' bank accounts. 

The House Ways and Means Committee estimates that the IRS will make about 60 million direct deposit payments in mid-April. This group will primarily include households whose direct deposit information is already on file with the IRS from their 2018 or 2019 tax return. 

Next, the IRS will make a second round of April payments to Social Security beneficiaries who don't file tax return and receive their payments by direct deposit. It isn't clear which wave will include Americans who haven't filed or haven't given the IRS their direct deposit information previously, although the IRS has outlined steps to allow people in these groups to get their payments direct deposited.

Finally, paper checks will begin to be sent in early May to taxpayers who didn't get theirs through direct deposit, although this process is expected to take as long as 20 weeks, as the IRS has the capacity to issue about 5 million checks per week.

The "Get My Payment" tool launches

The U.S. Treasury Department and the IRS announced a new tool on the IRS Economic Impact Payment Web page. The Web application is called "Get My Payment" and serves several important functions: 

  • If you have not received your stimulus payment yet, it allows you to check the status of yours, so you'll know approximately when it will reach your bank account or be mailed.
  • If you filed tax returns in 2018 and/or 2019 and did not provide your direct deposit information -- meaning that you either chose to receive your tax refund as a check, or didn't get a refund at all -- you'll be able to share this information with the IRS if you choose to do so.
  • If your payment hasn't been issued yet, you can confirm whether you want to receive it by direct deposit or check. (Note: Direct deposit will be much faster.)

If you didn't file a 2018 or 2019 tax return, here's what you need to do ASAP

It's important to note that if you didn't have to file a 2018 or 2019 tax return and are worried about not getting a stimulus payment, you don't need to wait until the Get My Payment tool becomes available. The IRS launched a non-filers portal last week to allow people who typically don't need to file a tax return to submit their bank information so they can receive a stimulus payment.

Finally, Social Security beneficiaries for the most part don't need to do anything to receive a stimulus payment. With a few exceptions -- such as SS beneficiaries with children or new beneficiaries in 2020 -- Social Security recipients will automatically receive their stimulus payments in the same manner in which their Social Security benefits are paid out.

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