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Aug 18, 2020
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How To Follow Up On Your Stimulus Check

If you’re eligible to receive a stimulus payment but you haven’t received yours yet, there is a formal process required to follow up. Start by heading to the Get My Payment tool from the IRS, which may require you to enter your banking information in order to set up direct deposit.

This page on the IRS website explains how the tool works while answering common questions about who should use it. Specifically, this IRS tool is set up to allow you to check on your stimulus payment status, see the type of payment you should expect, and enter your banking information if it’s required.

The IRS notes that you may actually receive a debit card with your stimulus payment, even if the tool says you should expect a check. They also state that debit cards come in a plain envelope that is addressed from “Money Network Cardholder Services." If you’re expecting a physical check from the government, it can help to keep an eye out for a piece of mail that fits this description.

What If You Didn’t File Taxes In 2018 Or 2019?

The IRS still maintains that the majority of people don’t need to take any action to receive their stimulus payment check, but that is predicated on the idea that most people filed a tax return in 2018 or 2019.

The IRS says it’s possible you didn’t file a tax return because you earned less than $12,200 for the year, you were married filing jointly and you earned less than $24,400 or you have no income, and any of those situations are okay. If you did not file a tax return in either of those years, then you do need to take a few steps to claim your stimulus payment.

The IRS has a non-filer tool you can use to enter your information and claim your stimulus payment if you didn’t file a tax return in 2018 or 2019. The free non-filer tool works when the IRS “can identify you and your dependents, and receive valid direct deposit and address information about you,” they note.

However, you should not use the non-filer tool in the following situations:

You receive Social Security retirement, disability (SSDI), survivor benefits, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Veterans Affairs benefits, in which case the IRS will automatically send your payment
You just filed a 2019 federal income tax return
You earned more than $12,200 for the year (or $24,400 for a married couple)
You got married at the end of 2019, in which can you may not need to use the non-filer tool
You were not qualified for receive a stimulus payment in 2019 because you were not a U.S. citizen, a permanent resident or a qualifying resident alien
How To Follow Up On A Missing Stimulus Payment

The IRS says you need to request a “payment trace” if your stimulus payment check was lost, stolen or otherwise destroyed. Specifically, you should make this request if you received Notice 1444 (a notice from the IRS that lists what your stimulus payment should be) or the IRS Get My Payment tool shows your payment was issued but you have not received it.

The IRS issues some guidelines on how long to wait before contacting them once your payment is late, which include:

5 days after a direct deposit payment was originally scheduled to arrive
4 weeks since your check was mailed to your address
6 weeks since your payment was mailed if you have a forwarding address on file with the local post office
9 weeks since a check was mailed if you have a foreign address
To request a payment trace, you can call the IRS at 1-800-919-9835. However, you can also start the process by mail. Specifically, you’ll want to fill out a Form 3911, Taxpayer Statement Regarding Refund (PDF), with “EIP” written on the top of the form and Sections I, II, and III completed. You’ll also want to answer all the questions as they relate to your stimulus payment.

Finally, when completing Number 7 under Section I, you’ll want to check the box that says “individual” in order to signify the type of return, and you’ll enter “2020” as the tax period while leaving the date you filed your taxes blank.

That part sounds insanely complicated, and it is, but it gets worse since there is no standard address where you should mail your request for a payment trace. The IRS lists different mailing addresses for various states with 9 different options in total on their website, so you’ll want to find the right address before you start the process.

While the IRS says “you may experience long wait times or recorded help because our staffing is limited” if you call, I would probably set aside some time and go this route instead.

Still Can’t Get Your Stimulus Check?

At the end of the day, you may be waiting until you file your 2020 tax return. While we don’t know the specifics of the tax forms yet, it’s likely to include a spot to report how much stimulus you received in 2020, and you’ll likely be able to get anything missing included in your refund.
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