Stimulus Check Update: 6 Reasons You Don't Have Your Stimulus Check Yet

A stimulus check from the U.S. Treasury on a computer keyboard.

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As stimulus checks begin hitting bank accounts across the country, here's what may be taking yours so long to arrive.

Although Americans can expect smaller checks than they received last spring, this round still promises $600 for each adult and qualifying dependent child. If you find yourself patiently (or not so patiently) waiting, here are six likely reasons you have yet to see hide nor hair of your check.

1. It has not been issued

It's only Jan. 8. The $900 billion relief bill passed into law last month gives the Treasury Department until Jan. 15 to get those checks distributed. That may be cold comfort if you're counting on stimulus money to buy groceries or pay rent and your emergency fund is depleted, but it also signals that your check could still be processing.

2. It's in the mail

The check you're waiting for may be in the mail. With the IRS working to get so many out the door in a short period of time, it's natural that some checks are arriving later than others.

3. You've moved

If you received your last stimulus payment via mail but have since moved, it may take longer to receive your check or debit card. As long as you forwarded your mail with the USPS, the payment will likely find its way to you. However, if you haven't forwarded your mail yet, contact the IRS and provide them with your new address. You can give them a call, submit a change of address form, send a written statement, or wait until you file your 2020 tax return. The IRS breaks it down here.

4. You have a new bank account

If you changed banks after your last stimulus check was directly deposited into your bank account, that might be the issue. The IRS does not have the routing or account information needed to deposit into your new account. Legally, your original bank is obligated to return the payment to the IRS if you've closed the account. If the IRS has your current address on file, they will likely send a check or prepaid debit card by mail to your residence.

5. You filed 2019 taxes through tax preparation software

If you filed your 2019 taxes using tax preparation software and opted to pay for the service out of your expected refund, you might have to wait for your check. That's because when you allowed the company to take their cut from your refund, they created a temporary bank account to receive the money. Once they were paid, they passed the remainder on to you. At the time, the process seemed seamless, and if COVID-19 had never come along, no one would be worried about how payment for the service was processed. The problem is this: Since the IRS sent your 2019 tax refund to the company, that's the address they have for you on file.

6. You're ineligible

Given the flurry of negotiations surrounding the potential of a second stimulus check, it's no surprise if there's some confusion. If you're hoping for a check but not sure you're eligible, here's how eligibility breaks down:

  • You must be a U.S. citizens or resident alien
  • You cannot be claimed as a dependent on another person's tax return
  • If you're single, your 2019 adjusted gross income (AGI) must be under $75,000, heads of households must have an AGI under $112,500, and married couples filing jointly (or surviving spouses), must have an AGI under $150,000. You may still receive a reduced payment if you exceed the income requirements, but payments phase out entirely at $87,000 for individuals and $174,000 for couples.

If you do not receive your stimulus check for any reason, you can claim the stimulus money as a "recovery rebate" on your 2020 tax return. Once you file a new return, the IRS will have your current address on file and, if you request direct deposit, they will also have your updated banking information.

As long as you're eligible, your stimulus check will eventually find its way to you. Whether you need the funds to cover immediate expenses or plan to pay down credit card debt, it's your money to do with as you please. The hard part is waiting for it to arrive.

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