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You can now call the IRS with questions about your stimulus check

Published May 19th, 2020 11:17AM EDT
Stimulus check update
Image: Eric Gay/AP Images
  • Up this point, there were few options available to taxpayers who have a question about their coronavirus stimulus payment, beyond visiting and checking the “Get My Payment” section.
  • Now, however, the IRS has started adding 3,500 people who can answer questions from taxpayers by phone, and the number to call is 1-800-919-9835.
  • Visit BGR’s homepage for more stories.

Instead of constantly visiting the IRS “Get My Payment” page when you’re trying to determine the status of your coronavirus stimulus check, the tax agency is now offering another solution for anyone who has questions about their direct payment from the federal government.

If you don’t mind waiting, the IRS now has dedicated staff — some 3,500 people to be exact — to man phone lines and take your questions live, as the distribution of payments rolls along following the initial rollout that began more than a month ago now. The number to call is 1-800-919-9835, but it seems that service, at least initially, will be limited. That number, for example, connects users to an automated recording that reminds callers most people will receive one of these payments automatically.

If you do call, be aware that not everyone has been able to experience live call support, at least not yet. There are a number of automated options to choose from, such as recorded messages that will explain various aspects of the direct payments, like whether your income is too high to qualify. The goal is to let callers who want more help to eventually be able to be connected to a live representative at the end of these messages, an option that didn’t seem to be working as of Monday, when the IRS announced that it’s started to add those 3,500 phone representatives.

“IRS telephone assistance and other services will remain limited,” the agency’s announcement explains, “and answers for most of the common questions related to Economic Impact Payments are available on The IRS anticipates bringing back additional assistors as state and local advisories permit.”

This is one more new development in the ongoing distribution of the stimulus payments, which is also taking on a new form for a few million Americans now that the IRS has started sending out money this week in the form of prepaid debit cards.

If you gave the IRS your direct deposit bank information, you’ll get your payment (of up to $1,200 for individuals or $2,400 for married couples, with an extra $500 for each eligible child) electronically. If you didn’t, you’ll have to wait on a paper check delivered via the mail.

Starting this week, however, Treasury and the IRS are sending out almost 4 million coronavirus stimulus payments in the form of prepaid debit cards in lieu of paper checks. For some people, this will no doubt be a relief, since it collapses the time between receiving the money and being able to use it. You don’t have to drive to your bank to deposit the check or use a mobile app to scan it and wait for it to show up in your account. The debit card is essentially money in your hand, ready to be spent immediately.

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.