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Where’s My Stimulus Check? 6 Reasons You Didn’t Get it Yet



The CARES Act, which promised eligible Americans a stimulus check of up to $1,200, passed three months ago by now – but about 35 million still haven’t seen it arrive.[1]

If you’re one of those people, don’t fret. The IRS has provided a portal where you can check in on your payment status. And even if you don’t get the money this year, you will be able to receive it when you file your 2020 tax return next year.[2]

But in the meantime, here are six reasons why your payment may be stalling right now.

1. You didn’t fill out the right tax paperwork

To get the money you’re owed, you must have filed taxes for 2018 or 2019. But if you haven’t, don’t panic. You now have until July 15 to file, thanks to extended deadlines.

The IRS also has a non-filers form for people who didn’t need to file due to low income.[3] If you fill it out by Oct. 15, you can receive the stimulus check, too.

2. Your bank account information isn’t up to date

The IRS begged Americans to update their direct deposit information by May 13 for a reason.[4]

An electronic deposit is the fastest way to get your money. If the information hasn’t changed since your 2018 or 2019 tax return, you have nothing to worry about.

If the information is out of date, it doesn’t mean you won’t get your money – it just means you’ll get it in the form of a paper check or prepaid debit card in the mail. But mail delivery has slowed due to COVID-19 complications, so it could take months to receive it.[5]

3. You accidentally threw it away

Not every error has to do with complicated policies and numbers. It could just be that you accidentally pitched the money if it was mailed.

The debit cards arrived in a plain envelope with no indication that it was from the federal government, so some Americans just assumed it was a scam and threw it away.[6]

This doesn’t mean your money is gone, though. Just call 800-240-8100 for a free replacement – but if you want it quickly, priority mail costs $17.

4. You were scammed

The federal government’s payment may look like a trick, but real stimulus check scams are out there – and you may be a victim.

There are a few different ways it’s done, the Federal Trade Commission warned.[7] Sometimes someone calls and poses as an IRS worker to ask for your bank account number or other sensitive information to “register” you for the check. Other times, a poser will ask you to send them a check, claiming that the government accidentally overpaid you.

If you think you’ve been scammed, you can track your stimulus payment online.[8] If it’s been disbursed but you didn’t receive it, call the IRS at 800-919-9835 for assistance.

5. You aren’t prioritized

The government isn’t sending payments out on a whim – those with the lowest incomes are put at the front of the delivery list.

If your annual income is close to the eligible income cap, which ranges from $75,000 for single residents and $150,000 for married couples, you may have to wait a while to receive your money. If all goes well, it should come in by the end of the year.

6. You owe money

Under the CARES Act, federal debt collections have been relaxed until July 15. But that doesn’t mean you’re entirely in the clear when it comes to your stimulus check.

If you are past due on child support, your payment could be reduced or taken away completely. The same goes for bank debts or private debt collections. However, the law is clear that the check can’t be held back for defaulted student loans, due taxes, or any bankruptcy proceedings.[9]



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