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Can’t get your stimulus check info? Try this simple fix

Published Apr 30th, 2020 2:17PM EDT
Stimulus check tracker
Image: Eric Gay/AP Images
  • The coronavirus stimulus check tracker launched by the IRS has been giving many people an error message when they visit the site — a message like “payment status not available.”
  • The IRS launched that tool after Congress passed its $2.2 trillion stimulus legislation that appropriated billions of dollars for direct checks to Americans.
  • If you get that message, here’s a workaround you can try to fix it.
  • Visit BGR’s homepage for more stories.

For a few weeks now, I’ve been checking the IRS’s coronavirus stimulus payment website once a day to see whether the tax agency finally says I’m eligible for the direct payments funded by last months’ $2.2 trillion stimulus legislation passed by Congress. It took a while to finally get that confirmation at the site, which kept giving me a “payment status not available” error message.

The site, by the way, is a tracker launched by the IRS — which is the agency mailing out the stimulus payments that amount to direct cash infusions to most Americans of up to $1,200 for individuals and $2,400 for married couples, including an extra $500 for each qualifying child. No surprise, it’s been inundated with traffic as Americans desperate for their direct payment from the government check on its status at a time when the jobless rate in the country is approaching levels not seen since the Great Depression. But what if you keep getting the error message that I saw?

Here’s one fix you can try.

When you log on to the site, it asks for things like your Social Security number and your address, to confirm that you are, in fact, you. If you keep getting the error message we mentioned, the next time you log on, try entering all of your information in all caps.

Los Angeles Times reporter Jessica Roy tweeted a few days ago that she tried this workaround, and not only did it do the trick for her, but lots of people replied to her tweet saying the same thing.

In a piece from Roy the Times published on Monday, she wrote that: “Many people, including this reporter, have found that entering their street address in all capital letters was the key to getting in and being able to enter their bank account information in order to have their stimulus funds deposited electronically instead of waiting for a check in the mail.”

According to an update from the IRS, meanwhile, the agency to-date has paid out more than $157 billion to Americans as part of the direct stimulus check disbursements. As of April 24, the tax agency had issued 88.1 million stimulus checks each totaling, on average, $1,791. Waves of paper checks have started being mailed out for taxpayers that haven’t given the IRS their direct deposit banking information, and those mailings will continue through September.

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.