What if my economic stimulus never comes?


100 dollar bill with the head of Ben Franklin
If you are still waiting for your stimulation test, you are not alone.

Angela Lang / CNET

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Over 152 million Americans have already received their stimulus checks via direct deposit or in the United States mail, but for some payments may seem lost in transit with no clear answer why the checks are missing.

The IRS has sent economic relief money to eligible Americans since April to offset the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. The agency even built an online tool to help people track the status of a payment because it is being processed and authorize a relief check if they generally do not generate taxes. But if the portal, titled Get My Payment, doesn’t give you information that you understand or your check is on the way and you haven’t received it, there may be a reason – and something you can do about it, including contacting the IRS.

If you are looking for more personal financial information, we have suggestions for spend stimulus money, how coronavirus can affect your rent payment and other ways to get financial relief
during the pandemic.

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Telephone assistance for stimulation checks


Are you eligible for a check?

Before going any further, just make sure that you meet one of the following conditions for a stimulus payment:

  • You are a single US resident and you have an AGI, or adjusted gross income, less than $ 99,000.
  • You deposit as head of household and earn less than $ 146,500.
  • You produce jointly without children and earn less than $ 198,000.
  • You are the parent of a child 16 years of age or younger.
  • You can find your AGI on your federal tax form 1040 2018 or 2019.

The IRS may need more information from you

If you filed a 2018 or 2019 tax return or received government benefits, the IRS should automatically send your check without you having to do anything.

However, if you are a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, had gross income in 2019 of less than $ 12,200 – or $ 24,400 as a married couple – and did not report for 2018 or 2019, you you may need to give the IRS some information before it can process your payment. Go to the non-filers website and see if the IRS needs you.

IRS Says It Sent Your Payment Weeks Ago, But You Didn’t Receive It

A handful of CNET readers report that the IRS Get My Payment app told them to expect payment weeks or weeks ago, either by mail or direct deposit, but they haven’t seen their check.

“Mine was to be posted on May 1,” said a reader in a comment. Another said that the IRS had told them “it would be in my direct account on April 15”. A third said that she had a date on April 24 and that her husband had had May 4. Another also had a date on May 4. They all say they are still waiting for their checks.

“Last week, I received a letter in the mail saying that I received my payment. But no, I didn’t do it, “said another reader after receiving the confirmation letter sent by the IRS 15 days after the payment was sent.

We asked the IRS how it will process payments that, according to its Get My Payment tool, were sent but people say are missing, and will update this story with the agency’s response.

The Get My Payment portal will not give you an update on the status of your check

Some people continue to get error messages on the payment status in the Get My Payment tool and a group launched an online petition asking for help from the IRS. Commenters on the group’s Facebook page report on the variety of possible reasons for the delay.

One person said that the IRS had told him that his payment was being reviewed for 60 days because of a problem with his direct deposit information. Another said that the IRS told them that their social security number matches his records. The IRS did not respond to our questions about these possible errors.

The IRS has sent your check to a closed account

Your check may have bounced to the IRS if it tried to send your payment to a now closed bank account or to a temporary prepaid debit card prepared by a tax preparer for you. If your payment has been returned to the IRS, the agency will send your check to the current address it has on file.


Are you still waiting for your stimulus check in the mail?

Sarah Tew / CNET

You accidentally threw it away

Four million people will receive their stimulus money on a prepaid debit card called the Economic Impact payment card instead of a paper check. The EIP card arrives in a single envelope, the IRS said, with “Money Network Cardholder Services” as the sender.

Some people mistaking it for spam may have thrown these letters away by mistake. If you have misplaced or discarded your card, the EIP Card Service has a FAQ on what to do if your card is lost or stolen.

Federal government intercepted your payment

If you owe child support, the IRS can redirect your payment to cover overdue support. The Tax Services Office will send you a notice if this happens.

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You have not received the full amount due to you

A different, but related, problem could be a change in your income in 2020. In some cases, the IRS may owe you more money than you received if the income figure it used to calculate your payment from your tax returns in 2018 or 2019 is less in 2020.

Likewise, if you now have a new dependent, such as a child, who is not on your tax returns, you may owe more money. In either case, the IRS has stated that you can claim the additional amount on your 2020 tax return when you file next year. We recommend that you keep a detailed record so that you don’t forget.

Someone stole it from your mailbox or defrauded you

Although this is rare, you may believe that you have been scammed on your payment or stole it. The Federal Trade Commission has a website where you can report a stolen stimulus check. We asked the IRS what other remedies you have if this situation applies to you.

How to contact the IRS

Within 15 days of sending your payment, the IRS will send you a letter confirming the payment. At the bottom of the letter is a number that you can call for more information: (800) 919-9835.

Earlier this month, the IRS added 3,500 telephone representatives to resolve potential payment issues. The IRS help number is (800) 829-1040.

As you work to find the status of your money, here’s what we know from one second set of stimulus checks, how to best use your stimulus and how to avoid scams
that target fears of coronaviruses.


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