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Stimulus check US: How to track payment if it's arriving by mail

Advice on how to follow the progress of your coronavirus Economic Impact Payment if the IRS is sending it to you in paper-check form.

FILE PHOTO: A United States Postal Service (USPS) worker works in the rain in Manhattan during the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in New York City, New York, U.S., April 13, 2020. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly/File Photo
Andrew KellyREUTERS

As part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has been issuing $1,200 Economic Impact Payments to eligible Americans since April, in a bid to help people in the United States cope with the financial effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Issued either by direct deposit or as paper check

If the IRS has the recipient’s bank details, this payment is being deposited directly into their account; if not (and the deadline to enter direct-deposit information in the IRS’ Get My Payment portal passed on Wednesday 13 May), the US tax office will send a paper check to the postal address it has on file for that person.

Receiving paper stimulus check slower than by direct deposit

Those receiving a paper check are likely to face a significantly longer wait than those being paid by direct deposit: indeed, the US House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee said in April that the entire rollout of snail-mail payments was expected to take a total of 20 weeks to complete.

IRS opens up phone lines for stimulus check queries, adds 3,500 representatives.

If your paper check is arriving by post, here are two ways to track your check:

Get My Payment tool

You can use the IRS' online Get My Payment tool: enter your Social Security Number (SSN) or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN), plus your date of birth, address and ZIP code, and you should be able to view your payment status and information on the scheduling of your check.

It is also worth pointing out that the IRS says it will send a letter to check recipients within 15 days of payment, providing “information on how the payment was made and how to report any failure to receive the payment”.

Note: If you are not required to file a US tax return, your check is processed via the Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info Here tool, rather than Get My Payment.

USPS Informed Delivery

There is also another way to follow the progress of your paper check: the US Postal Service (USPS) offers a free mail-tracking service called Informed Delivery, which lets subscribers know when letter-sized post is on its way to their address.

You’ll find a useful, step-by-step guide on how to sign up for Informed Delivery here.

See also:

Follow live coverage of the coronavirus crisis

You can stay up-to-date with the latest developments in the coronavirus pandemic by following our daily live blog. We also have a dedicated rolling feed for the United States here.


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