2 Reasons Your Stimulus Check Could Be Delayed

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Eager to get your $600? Here's why you could be in for a long wait.

After months of haggling and negotiations, lawmakers have finally passed a $900 billion coronavirus relief bill to follow up late March's CARES Act. The new bill includes boosted unemployment benefits, a second round of Paycheck Protection Program loans for small businesses, and, perhaps most notably, direct stimulus payments in the amount of $600 per adult or child.

The good news is that since this is the second go-round for those stimulus payments, the IRS has a system in place for pumping them out, and the checks have already started hitting some recipients' bank accounts. Those who expect a paper check will need to wait a bit longer, but even those payments are already in progress. If you're eagerly anticipating that money, you should know that you may end up waiting longer than expected. Here are two reasons why.

1. You've changed banks

There are plenty of good reasons to switch from one bank to another -- better interest rates on your savings, superior customer service, and more convenient branch and ATM locations. But if you've switched to a new bank since filing your last tax return or since registering your bank account details on the IRS website, then you're apt to experience a delay in getting your stimulus money.

If the IRS attempts to send your stimulus payment to an invalid bank account, it will generally bounce back. At that point, the IRS will issue you a check in the mail -- but only once that initial payment is rejected. The result? It could take a number of weeks to get your money.

2. You've moved

If you're getting your stimulus payment via direct deposit and your bank account hasn't changed, your new address shouldn't affect when you get that money. But if you're expecting a check in the mail and you've moved recently, you can expect a delay in getting that cash.

First of all, it will take the IRS longer to issue paper checks than direct deposit payments, so you're looking at a bit of a delay off the bat. But if your address has changed, you could get stuck waiting even longer.

That said, you can file a change of address form with the IRS so the agency has the right details for you on file. That could help minimize any delays you experience.

You may also be able to use the IRS' Get My Payment tool to update your mailing address. As of this writing, that tool is temporarily unavailable -- most likely because the agency needs to update it to account for this new stimulus round. But once it's back, you'll probably be able to register your address so the IRS knows where to send your money. You may be able to update your bank account information there too. We should know more once the tool is back up and running.

If you've been hurt financially in the course of the pandemic, you may be anxious to get the stimulus cash you're entitled to. But if the above scenarios apply to you, you may experience a delay. Be prepared for that possibility and do what you can to prevent it.

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