Americans who fell below certain income thresholds have received stimulus checks of $1,200 per adult and $500 per child that were designed to help deal with the economic troubles created by the coronavirus pandemic. Millions of direct deposits were made, and millions of paper checks have been processed by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and mailed out.
The process, however, was rushed, and it used tax data and account info from your 2018 or 2019 tax returns. If that information has changed -- or you have yet to file a tax return -- the IRS may have sent your money to the wrong place (or not issue the payment at all).
But if you have not received your payment, there is still hope. Assuming you're entitled to money, you should be able to eventually get your piece of the stimulus pie.
Still no stimulus check? Do this now.
The first place you should go to is the IRS "Get My Payment" web page. This can, in theory, tell you if a payment has been made, whether one is coming, or if your check is in process. This can be a frustrating endeavor because it often returns unhelpful information, but it's still worth trying first.
"If you verified your identity and received 'Payment Status Not Available,' this means we cannot determine your eligibility for a payment at this time," according to an IRS FAQ page. "This may occur for a variety of reasons, for example, if you didn't file either a 2018 or 2019 tax return or you recently filed and the return has not been fully processed."
Anyone who filed paper returns since the pandemic hit may be stuck for a while. The IRS is not prioritizing the processing of those returns at the moment. If your return from 2018 or 2019 has not been filed and/or processed, you may not get a payment (though you are still entitled to one).
The fast way to rectify this is to file a return for one of those two years electronically. If you weren't legally required to file taxes in either 2018 or 2019 the IRS has an internet tool where you can claim your stimulus check. Do not use this tool if you intend to file a 2019 tax return, as doing both may slow down your processing time.
Of course, it's possible you may not have gotten a check because you are not eligible for one. The payments are for any U.S. citizen and U.S. resident alien with a work-eligible Social Security number with adjusted gross income (AGI) up to:
- $75,000 for individuals if their filing status was single or married filing separately,
- $112,500 for head of household filers, and
- $150,000 for married couples filing joint returns.
Taxpayers will receive a reduced payment if their AGI is between:
- $75,000 and $99,000 if their filing status was single or married filing separately,
- 112,500 and $136,500 for heads of household, or
- $150,000 and $198,000 if their filing status was married filing jointly.
Numbers are further inched up for each child you can claim as a dependent. Payment eligibility is based on adjusted gross income. As of May 18, about 140 million Americans had received stimulus payments, according to the U.S. Treasury.
The IRS began sending out paper checks on April 24 to people who didn't provide banking information, according to published reports. The release plan for paper checks prioritized low-income Americans, so people with an AGI of $10,000 or less were issued April 24. The IRS will send out about 5 million paper checks a week, moving up the income thresholds in $10,000 increments. On May 22, people with incomes between $50,000 and $60,000 were sent checks, for example. The last group of people to get paid using this process should be issued payments on Sept. 11.
I want my stimulus check
If you have not received your stimulus check, it can be frustrating. You may need that money for everyday expenses, and not having the money may bring added financial burdens.
Unfortunately, the system is inherently flawed as the government went for speed over accuracy. Mistakes will eventually get rectified, but the timetable may be very frustrating for some.