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Why the stimulus check tracker says your payment status is ‘not available’

Published Mar 16th, 2021 1:39PM EDT
Stimulus check tracker
Image: Roman Lipovskiy/Adobe

For anyone who wants to check on the status of their $1,400 stimulus check, now that the third wave of emergency coronavirus relief payments has begun, the solution is a simple one.

All you need to do is visit the IRS’ “Get My Payment” stimulus check tracker and input a few identifying details about yourself, like your date of birth, street address, and social security number. Once you’ve done that, you’ll see one of three messages. One of those messages is that your payment has been processed, a payment date is available, and payment is going to be sent to you either by direct deposit to your bank account or through the mail (which can mean you’ll either receive the money as a paper check or as a pre-loaded debit card).

Along these same lines, you might also see that you’re eligible for one of the stimulus payments funded by the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief legislation that President Biden signed into law a few days ago — which also includes an extra $300/week in federal jobless benefits, as well as funds to aid in COVID vaccine distribution. But that your payment hasn’t been processed yet and a date for when you’ll receive it is not yet available.

Two other messages that might greet you upon visiting the “Get My Payment” web portal: Another is “Payment status not available.” What that means is that the IRS either hasn’t yet processed your payment, but, unfortunately, it might also mean you’re not eligible for one. You might also see the following message — “Need more information.” According to the tax agency, that means your payment was returned to the IRS because the Postal Service was unable to deliver it. “Only people who get this message can use the tool to give us bank account information,” the IRS says.

According to the IRS, if your page shows the “Need More Information” message, you can have your payment reissued as a direct deposit. All you need to do is provide a routing and account number for either a bank account, a prepaid debit card (which must be reloadable), or, per the tax agency, “alternative financial products that have a routing and account number associated with them.”

If you need to give the IRS your updated address, the IRS says the easiest way to do that is by simply filing your 2020 tax return with your current address if you haven’t done so yet — and the fastest way to do that is to file electronically.

If your payment is returned to the IRS, what you need to do to get it reissued is the following:

  • Set up direct deposit through the Get My Payment tool. After your payment is returned to the IRS, your payment status will update to “Need More Information,” and you can then choose direct deposit to any of the three destinations mentioned above, such as a bank account.
  • Also, update your address with the IRS.
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.