Missing your third stimulus check, or even the first or second?
If you’re still waiting on your third stimulus check to arrive, it may be too soon to worry since the IRS is still working on sending the payments out. (Here’s how to track your third check.) But when should you stop being patient and start acting? And what’s the right way to hunt down a missing stimulus check? What if you never got the first or second check?
You’re right to have these concerns if you qualified for stimulus money from any of the checks — its lack of arrival could signal a problem with your check, especially if the IRS doesn’t have your correct information on file, like an address if you moved. If you received some of your $1,400 payment but not everything you’re owed, you may be due a “plus-up” payment, which you should automatically receive without having to file an amended tax form.
We’ll show you some ways to track your payment, either through a Recovery Rebate Credit (even if you don’t usually file taxes) or an IRS payment trace. Plus, here’s what we’re hearing about a potential fourth stimulus check, all of the tax credits you could claim this year, what may happen with student loan forgiveness and the latest on the child tax credit (calculate your total). This story has been updated.
When should you worry about a missing stimulus check?
Third stimulus checks are still being sent, so we’d suggest holding out a little longer. If you didn’t get your first or second check at all, though, it’s time to act. In general, this chart shows when you can and should request an IRS payment trace, which is designed to hunt down a stimulus check the agency said it sent. More below on exactly how a payment trace works, how to get started and when to use it.
This timeline was the same for the first and second checks as well. If your first or second stimulus checks are missing, you can no longer use the Get My Payment tool to track them down. Here’s how to find the amount of your first two stimulus checks.
What to do if the IRS tracker tool says your payment was sent, but you don’t have it
The IRS continues to send out the third stimulus check to millions of people, so there’s a good chance that if you haven’t gotten yours yet, it’s in the works. You can check the status of your third check. You need to plug in your Social Security number or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, date of birth, street address and ZIP or postal code.
The portal will show your payment status, if your money has been scheduled to send and the payment method (direct deposit or by mail) and date. You might also see a different message or an error. (Here’s how to track your mailed check through the USPS.)
You’ll need to request a payment trace if the Get My Payment portal shows your payment was issued, but you haven’t received it within the time frames outlined in the chart above.
What to do if the IRS sent you a letter confirming a payment that never came
About 15 days after the IRS sends your third stimulus check (by either direct deposit, paper check or EIP card), you should get a letter from the agency confirming your payment.
If you received this letter — also called Notice 1444, Your Economic Impact Payment — but you never got your payment, you’ll need to request a payment trace. Make sure you keep the letter — you’ll need the information to file your claim. (Here’s what to do if you lost the IRS letter about your stimulus check.) The same is true for the first and second stimulus checks as well.