March 1, 2021

PC TECH THERAPY

PC Tech Therapy Blog by Daniyal Computer

Stimulus check arriving in 2 phases: Will you get your check before or after the deadline?

5 min read


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It’s true, whichever payment group you’re in could affect when you get your second stimulus check.


Angela Lang/CNET

Yesterday, chaos ensued in Capitol Hill with a breach of President Donald Trump’s supporters in the US Capitol Building. However, as far as we know, the delivery of the second stimulus checks to tens of millions of bank accounts and mailboxes has not been affected.

The IRS and US Treasury have only eight days left to complete sending out payments before a Jan. 15 deadline imposed in the stimulus bill. (Here’s how to calculate the size of your payment and how to track it.) Despite the payments’ quick release, it’s unlikely everyone who qualifies for more stimulus money will receive it by then, especially if your second stimulus check trips over hurdles that could hold up its delivery. 

Knowing which IRS sorting group you’re in can help give you an idea if you’ll be among the first to get a check for up to $600 per person, or near the end of the line. (Remember, not everyone will qualify for the $600 payment.) We have more information about IRS payment groups below, and here’s how Democrats’ narrow control over the Senate could pave the way for a third stimulus check for $2,000. This story was recently updated.

Direct deposit payments are arriving quickly, however…

The IRS has reportedly sent out two-thirds of its $600 stimulus payments through direct deposit, which demonstrates a clear advantage to people who receive an electronic transfer of funds. Direct deposit is a quicker, more efficient mode of delivery than a mailed check, which means the IRS can process many more people faster. (On Jan. 4, the IRS turned on its tool to track your second stimulus check online.)

However, there are two things to know. First, some reported problems with checks being sent to the wrong bank account mean that millions of people haven’t been able to receive their stimulus payments through direct deposit after all. And the IRS’ tracking tool won’t let you sign up for or change your direct deposit information this time around. 

If the IRS does not already have your banking information, you’ll have no choice but to wait for the mail. If there’s a problem with your payment, you’ll need to wait to file a claim.


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Second stimulus checks: Everything you need to know



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Social Security beneficiaries: When will you get your check?

With the first stimulus payment, many people who receive Social Security disbursements who also had direct deposit information on file with the federal government received checks in the first week, though not always the first day.

For the second check, the IRS will automatically send the money through how you regularly receive your benefits, such as direct deposit, Direct Express card or paper check.

Paper checks are on the move, but don’t forget about that deadline

Paper checks are on their way, at a much faster clip than the first time around — here’s how you can track your stimulus check to your mailbox. There are still two major limitations you need to know. First, the US Treasury can process between 5 million and 7 million paper stimulus checks a week in addition to checks for other federal programs, according to a Government Accountability Office report from June, which means some people will have to wait.

Second, there’s that same Jan. 15 that affects all the payments. So anyone who doesn’t receive their check around the middle of the month will have to claim it this year during tax season. If you’ve recently moved, be sure to tell the IRS and USPS so you can get your stimulus check, and your confirmation letter from the IRS (you’ll need this if you have to file a claim.)

After the cutoff, the timing of your stimulus check delivery then becomes a matter of how soon you submit your taxes for 2020 and how quickly the IRS will be able to process your return. People who file their returns in February would likely receive their stimulus check money — in the form of a Recovery Rebate Credit — months before people who wait until the April 15 deadline or file an extension.

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When you get your stimulus money could depend on who you are.


Sarah Tew/CNET

8 million EIP cards set to arrive faster this time

EIP debit cards are prepaid Visa cards the IRS may send you instead of a paper check — the envelope will look unmarked, so be careful not to toss out your mail without carefully checking first (this free tracking tool can help). The IRS and Treasury have reportedly begun sending around 8 million EIP cards, a change from the one-month delay in sending this type of payment the first time. The same rules apply as paper checks. If you don’t get yours around Jan. 15, you’ll need to claim it as a Recovery Rebate Credit as part of filing your taxes this year.

A complex situation could delay your check

For the first check, this category includes people who received a check after June, still haven’t received their full stimulus payment or who didn’t know they needed to complete an extra step. It isn’t clear what would happen if there was a problem during the process and the Recovery Rebate Credit was further delayed. It’s likely the IRS would set a different, later deadline to address clerical errors, like missing stimulus money, and other scenarios. Here are 10 things that could hold up your stimulus check.

What if you think you’re missing money from your check?

It isn’t always clear how much money the IRS might owe you in the event of an error. We suggest starting with our second stimulus check calculator or the calculator for the first stimulus check and this introduction to how the IRS tabulates your total sum. If the numbers seem lower than they should be, you might want to investigate further.

See if any of these situations could apply to you: Are you missing $500 allotted for your child dependents, or do you pay or receive child support? Are you a tax nonfiler who may be owed a stimulus check (including older adults and people who receive SSI or SSDI)?

If you’re a US citizen abroad or live in a US territory and didn’t receive a check as expected, you may also need to read up on the rules. And a court ruling has made it possible for millions of people who are incarcerated to get a check, even after the IRS changed its interpretation to exclude this group.



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