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Third stimulus check: what to do if I don't get it in the mail

The IRS sent out the second batch of $1,400 stimulus payments set to land in bank accounts 24 March, but some may be expecting theirs to arrive by mail.

The IRS sent out the second batch of $1,400 stimulus payments set to land in bank accounts 24 March, but some may be expecting theirs to arrive by mail.

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) began sending out the first batch of $1,400 direct stimulus payments the day after President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act in March. The IRS plans to send the payments to the vast majority of eligible Americans via direct deposit, but cautions that the form of the third round of payments may be different than in previous rounds.

The overworked agency, in an effort to get the $1,400 Economic Impact Payments (EIP) out the door as fast as possible, has already begun to send payments through the mail in the form of physical checks and debit cards. Last week the IRS announced that 150,000 stimulus checks had been mailed to eligible Americans with the second batch now on its way. But how do you know whether the payment will arrive by mail or appear directly in your bank account?

How to find out how and when your third stimulus payment will arrive

The quickest way to check your payment and how it is coming is to go to the IRS Get My Payment tool where you can track your payment. The tool will let you know how and when you will receive your payment. The IRS will continue to issue the EIP stimulus payments throughout 2021. The IRS only updates the Get My Payment tool information once per day, typically overnight, so refreshing throughout the day won’t yield any new information.

When you use Get My Payment, you’ll see one of the following messages:

Payment Status: Will inform you that your payment has been processed or that you are eligible for a stimulus payment but it hasn’t been processed yet. If your payment has been processed, the portal will tell you when to expect it and whether it will be sent by mail or by direct deposit, but it will not tell you how much to look forward to receiving.

Payment Status Not Available: The IRS still hasn’t determined whether you are eligible or not. It may be the IRS is missing information to finish the determination. The IRS recommends filing a tax return this year even if you don’t normally have to.

Need More Information: This message means that your payment was returned to the IRS because the Postal Service was unable to deliver it. You will need to update your information with the agency so they can reissue the payment. There is more information on this at the end of the article.

For other questions when troubleshooting problems with your third stimulus check payment the IRS provides a helpful Get My Payment Frequently Asked Questions.

The Get My Payment said my $1,400 check is in the mail, but it hasn’t arrived

If the Get My Payment portal tells you that your payment has been sent but you are still waiting for it, some patience may be needed. The Postal Service has been experiencing delays due to changes implemented by the Postmaster General Louis DeJoy. However, if you don’t want to sit on your laurels you can do a couple of things in the meantime.

First of all, you can check that the IRS has the correct information for you and that there hasn't been a clerical error. You can check out the agency’s View Your Account Information to view or create an online account with the IRS. You will also be able to see your previous tax returns and how much you received in the previous EIPs.

The other option is to use the USPS free service Informed Delivery that lets you know what mail will be arriving. To help people avoid throwing out their stimulus payment the IRS provided examples of the physical checks and EIP cards, as well as the envelope that will contain the $1,400 payments.

What to do if your stimulus check was returned to the IRS

If you check the Get My Payment tool and you see the “Need More Information” message, the IRS issued your payment but it was returned to the IRS because the post office was unable to deliver it. You will need to update your information with the agency so they can reissue the payment.

If you want the IRS to send the payment as a direct deposit, you can provide the IRS with a routing and account number for a bank account, a reloadable prepaid debit card, or other financial product.

  • Include the new address when you file your 2020 taxes
  • Use Form 8822, Change of Address or Form 8822-B, Change of Address or Responsible Party - Business and send them to the address shown on the forms.
  • Send a letter with your full name, old and new addresses, Social Security number, Individual Taxpayer Identification Number or Employer Identification Number, and signature to the IRS address on your last tax return.

If your mailing address has changed, you can also notify the IRS of your new address. There are a few ways to do this:

Stimulus relief bill: latest news

For all of the latest updates on the stimulus checks and tax credits as they happen, follow our dedicated live feed.


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