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Ethical Banking

4 Reasons Why You May Not Have Received Your Stimulus Check

By Evelyn Trainor-Fogleman|May 12, 2021
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What’s ahead:

Tips Section:

The 4 Reasons

The third round of economic impact payments (also known as “stimulus checks”) have now been approved and issued to millions of eagerly waiting Americans.

However, many people have found that their checks have yet to arrive, leaving them wondering, “Why have I not received my stimulus check?” 

We’ve compiled 5 possible reasons why you may not have received your stimulus check, along with some helpful tips to ensure that your check makes it into your bank account as quickly as possible. 

#1: You Didn’t File Your Tax Returns for 2019 or 2020

The IRS is using 2019 and 2020 tax returns to determine how much of the stimulus payment you are entitled to.

If you didn’t file a tax return for either of these years, the IRS cannot issue your check without accurate information.

To fix this situation, simply file a 2020 tax return as quickly as possible, the IRS has currently extended the deadline for filing to May 17th, 2021. 

#2: You Changed Your Bank Account

The IRS is currently issuing direct-deposit checks straight to the bank accounts of people who opted for direct-deposit of their income tax returns in 2019 or 2020.

If you closed the bank account that you received direct deposits from previously, the IRS will have to wait until the deposit is returned by the bank before issuing you a paper check, which can take some time. 

#3: You Recently Moved

Similar to changing your bank account, if you don’t have a direct deposit bank account on file with the IRS, they will choose to send you a paper check to the address listed on your most recent tax return.

Unfortunately, if you have moved to a new address than the one listed on your tax return, your check may have been mailed to your previous address instead of your current one. 

#4: You Made Too Much Money Last Year

As we said previously, the IRS uses your most recent tax return on file to determine your eligibility for an economic impact payment.

For single-filers, payment amounts start to decrease if you made over $75,000 on your last tax return, with the payment completely disappearing if you make $80,000 or above.

For married people filing jointly, you will not receive a stimulus payment if your collective income is $160,000 or above, and for “head of household” filing separately, $120,000 is the cutoff for receiving any benefits.

You can calculate your expected stimulus check amount by using this handy calculator

No matter what the reason, you deserve to know what’s going on with your stimulus check, and you may be struggling to find out where it is or what’s happened to it.

Here are some handy tips to help you find out where your stimulus check is. 

What Do I Do If I Have Not Received My Stimulus Check?

If you have not received your stimulus check, the first thing you should do is track its status at the IRS.

How to Track My Stimulus Check:

  1. Go to the IRS “Get My Payment” portal
  2. Enter your required personal information into the form provided
  3. Hit “Continue”
  4. A page will appear entitled “Payment Status” which should give you any information the IRS has on the status of your payment

The IRS Get My Payment Tool Says “Need More Information.” What Does That Mean?

According to the IRS, “if you are seeing “Need More Information” in the Get My Payment tool, it is because:

#1: Your 2020 return was processed and we don’t have bank account information for you and your payment has not been issued yet.


#2: The Post Office was unable to deliver your third Economic Impact Payment and returned it to the IRS.”

This can be easily fixed by updating your bank account or home address on file with the IRS, which you can do here

Who Do I Contact If I Haven’t Received My Stimulus Check?

If you are still unable to locate your stimulus check, it’s time to contact the IRS directly. 

How Do I Contact the IRS About My Stimulus Check?

You can call the IRS’s main customer service number at 800-829-1040 to be directed to the correct department, or you can reach out directly to the department dealing with missing or incorrect stimulus payments at 800-919-9835.

Do I Have to Claim My Stimulus Check on My Taxes? 

If you received your stimulus payment as expected, you do not have to include it in your tax filings.

However, if you are missing one or more stimulus payments, a new feature implemented by the IRS allows you to claim unpaid stimulus amounts on your next tax return.

This feature is known as the Recovery Rebate Credit and allows you to claim any missing amount from your first or second economic impact payments. 

While this doesn’t currently extend to the third payments that may be missing, there is a good chance this program will be enacted for third payments in the future.

However, if you are missing money from either your first or second stimulus checks, go ahead and claim these now using these simple steps.  

I Think I Got Paid Too Much. Will I Have to Return My Stimulus Payment?

The answer is: it depends. If you made more than the cutoff amount on both your 2019 and 2020 tax filings and still received a stimulus check, the IRS will likely ask you to return all or most of the payment.

However, if you received a stimulus payment based on your 2019 taxes prior to filing your 2020 taxes, you won’t be expected to pay back any money if you made more in 2020 than in 2019. 

You can find a link to the specific circumstances in which the IRS will and won’t seek repayment here

Not receiving a stimulus check can be incredibly frustrating, but by following these tips and practicing some deep breathing (or possibly indulging in a pint or two of rocky road), hopefully you can track down what happened to yours and finally receive the payments you’re entitled to. 

Evelyn Trainor-Fogleman
Evelyn Trainor-Fogleman is a writer based in New York City. After over half a decade in the film industry, she came back to her Journalism roots to write for a variety of media outlets about subjects including technology, business, marketing, and social and environmental justice.

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