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Stimulus check status: If you did this, your $1,400 check could be delayed

Published Mar 15th, 2021 3:39PM EDT
Stimulus check status
Image: methaphum/Adobe

It’s official: The third round of coronavirus stimulus payment disbursements has begun, with checks from the IRS starting to show up in the first recipients’ bank accounts as the tax agency sends out the stimulus payments that are generally for $1,400 in successive waves.

You can use the “Get My Payment” tool on the IRS website that most people are probably familiar with by now to see your stimulus check status, ahead of the disbursement of your check. If you’re like me, you’ve already set up direct deposit with the IRS, meaning you’ll be among the first recipients of the payment (since the IRS has prioritized sending out the checks in electronic form first, as those are faster). But here’s something important to know if you’re among the millions of Americans waiting on this payment and you don’t have your banking details on file with the IRS. Not only will you be waiting longer than most people to receive your payment, but you might also be waiting an extra-long time if you happen to have taken one particular action over the past year.

If the IRS doesn’t have the correct address on file for you as a result of you moving residences over the past year, this could delay your check even more. We say “could,” because, again, this would only apply to those of you waiting on a paper check — compared to a direct deposit, which isn’t sent to an address at all but rather to your bank account. There are, however, exceptions to every rule, and we have seen scattered reports of people who got their first stimulus payment last year as a direct deposit, but then received the second payment in the mail in the form of a debit card. In which case, those people would have been affected by this.

The IRS has a webpage you can visit to check out all of the myriad ways you can inform the agency of your new address, such as by telephone. To do that, you’ll need to be prepared to provide your full name, new address, old address, date of birth, and social security number. Be warned, though; this process can take several weeks to complete, by which time you may have already been caught up in a stimulus payment delay related to your change of address.

Meantime, a few additional points about what to expect with this third stimulus check:

  • Check out our earlier coverage for more details on how big the checks will be, and who is eligible for what amount.
  • According to the IRS, most of the new stimulus checks will be distributed to recipients in the form of direct deposits to bank accounts.
  • Also, the IRS says that no action is needed by most taxpayers. The payments will be automatic and, in many cases, similar to how people received the first and second stimulus payments.
Andy Meek Trending News Editor

Andy Meek is a reporter based in Memphis who has covered media, entertainment, and culture for over 20 years. His work has appeared in outlets including The Guardian, Forbes, and The Financial Times, and he’s written for BGR since 2015. Andy's coverage includes technology and entertainment, and he has a particular interest in all things streaming.

Over the years, he’s interviewed legendary figures in entertainment and tech that range from Stan Lee to John McAfee, Peter Thiel, and Reed Hastings.