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Still Waiting For Your Stimulus Check? Here’s Why

Rebecca Cohen  |  April 21, 2020

For those who qualify, your stimulus check is likely on the way... But where is it now? Here's why you may still be waiting and how to check the status.

Around 80 million Americans got their stimulus payments at some point last week, but if you weren’t one of them, talk about feeling left out of an exclusive club. Before you panic, if you qualify, you will get your money, even if it hasn’t shown up just yet. There are several reasons why your $1,200 (or whatever amount you qualify for) might not be showing up in your bank account or your mailbox. Here’s a rundown and how to check your stimulus check status. 

You don’t qualify for a stimulus payment

First things first: Double check to make sure you do qualify for the stimulus check from the government. Those who qualify are American citizens who have filed taxes in the last two years and make up to $99,000 per year as a single adult, according to Forbes. You will get the full $1,200 if you are a single person making up to $75,000, a head of household making up to $112,500, or a married couple making up to $150,000 jointly. Upwards from there, the amount you are entitled to will be decreased by $5 for every $100 more you earn, and the benefits will stop if you earn more than $99,000 as a single filer and $198,000 as a joint filer, per Forbes. Read more about the details of the CARES Act here

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You haven’t filed a tax return recently

The amount of money you get from the government is determined by how much you earn in a year. If you did not file a federal tax return for 2018 or 2019, you do not qualify for this check, according to Forbes

You very recently filed your first tax return since 2017

Your paperwork might still be being processed, which means the IRS has not been given the proper information to send your stimulus money yet. Patience is a virtue. 

You filed a paper tax return

Paper return = paper check. In this case, you’ll have to wait for the snail mail to show up to get your stimulus. These checks are set to be distributed once all of the direct deposit money has been delivered, so it could be weeks — even months — before you see your check. 

RELATED: How To Survive a Major Pay Cut 

You didn’t get a tax refund for 2018 or 2019

In order for your stimulus to be delivered electronically, you must have received a refund on your 2018 or 2019 taxes via direct deposit… If you owed money to the government, and sent them a payment via your bank account for either of those years, you will not see your stimulus deposited into that account. (They aren’t going to pay money to an account that was previously only used for debits.) Likewise, if you got a refund to your bank account prior to 2017, you won’t see the stimulus direct deposited, due to concerns that your bank account information might have changed. If you need to provide the IRS with your bank account information for direct deposit, or update the information they have on file, you can do that here

You got your refund, but it went to an old bank account 

Think about the last bank account you included in your tax returns. Is that the one you still use as your primary checking account now? If not, and you haven’t updated the government with your new account information, there is a chance it went to the old account. Update the IRS with your new information here, and be sure to check all old accounts you may have, even if they’re largely inactive. 

The person or company who does your taxes set up a temporary account under your name

Oftentimes, tax preparers will set up a temporary bank account into which your tax refund will be deposited, according to an article from CNN. Before transferring the refund back to you, they will withdraw their fees to be paid, without you having to do anything. But, if this is the case, your stimulus money might have gone into one of these accounts instead of to your personal bank account.The money will need to be sent back to the government, at which point it will be resent to you by paper check. In this case, it will take much longer to arrive. 

If you’re still worried, use the IRS stimulus check status tool

The IRS has put together a tool that helps you check the status of your stimulus payment. On their page, you can clarify if you are eligible for a payment, and there’s a helpful chart that guides you through certain steps you may need to take, depending on your personal situation. 

Once you have that figured out, use their “Get My Payment” tool to check the status of your payment, confirm the type of payment you’re going to receive, and provide your most up-to-date bank account information to the IRS. There is a “Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info Here” tool for those who are not required to file taxes but still qualify for the stimulus money. There, those individuals will provide the necessary information to ensure they get their government money. 

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