Stimulus check: how long could payment be delayed?

There are several reasons why your stimulus check payment could be delayed. Here are some of the reasons and how to track the payment online.

Stimulus check: how long could payment be delayed?

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.

Even if you missed the cutoff to give the agency your direct deposit banking info (the deadline was May 13), as long as you are eligible, the IRS can still send your stimulus payment. There are several ways to track your payment.

The stimulus money could take up to five months before it is sent to you given the pressure the IRS is under with stimulus checks according to a memo obtained by NBC at the beginning of the pandemic. The IRS says it will send out 150 million payments in total, which has led to significant backlog.

The IRS also wanted to give non-filers and those who don't normally get tax refunds the chance to provide their bank information to speed things up for them. If you think you provided the information, there could be another reason behind the delay.

Nine reasons why your payment might be delayed

You won't get a stimulus check if you aren't eligible

You might have made too much money last years to be eligible for a stimulus check. Check who is eligible here.

The IRS has scheduled your payment for later in the year

In April, the IRS estimated it could take up to five months to send every payment out and it is prioritizing the payment schedule by sending checks to those with lowest incomes first.

The IRS still intends to send your payment through the mail

The IRS said it will start sending paper checks and debit cards to those it doesn't have banking information for, from the end of May through June.

The IRS started processing your paper check before you submitted your direct deposit information

The banking information the IRS has for you is out of date or no longer valid

If you didn't file a 2018 or 2019 tax return, or you filed one but weren't due a refund and therefore didn't include bank account details, then you'll need to give the IRS that information so your stimulus payment can be processed quickly.

Your bank had trouble processing the direct deposit

You owe child support

A claimed dependent is not eligible for a payment

This might be the case or perhaps you are under 17 and were not claimed as a dependant. One reason why you might not have a received a stimulus check could be because you were claimed as a dependent by someone else, such as a parent or family member.

You need to file a nonfilers form

If you are eligible for a payment but because of low income didn't need to file a tax return for 2018 or 2019, you may need to use the IRS' nonfilers tool to give the agency your information.

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.

Go to the IRS’ Get My Payment tool

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.