If you are looking for your second stimulus check money, the IRS is updating its tracking tool to help.


Sarah Tew/CNET

With the IRS and US Treasury now making second stimulus check payments through Jan. 15, if you’re waiting for your money to arrive, you may be starting to wonder about the status of your $600 relief check. The IRS said it began making direct-deposit payments Dec. 29 and mailing paper checks and EIP cards Dec. 30.

As of today, Jan. 4, you can now track your second stimulus check through the Get My Payment portal, the free IRS tool that lets you see the status of your second stimulus check. (For an estimate, here’s how to calculate your new stimulus check total.) The IRS built the tool to help track the payment schedule for the first checks and has now said it has updated the app with information on the new payment.

The free tool can help those who were eligible for the second stimulus check monitor how much money they can expect to get, their payment status and any issues that might be holding up delivery. You can also see the status of your first stimulus payment, if you’re still waiting for that too. Here’s how to track the status of your second stimulus check along with another way to track your mailed check to your house.

Track your second stimulus check status with the IRS now

The IRS payment-tracking tool, called Get My Payment, reopened on Jan. 4, after the IRS updated it with information on the just-approved second check. If you used the tool this past spring, it works much the same way now. The IRS said you’ll still be able to view the status of your first check too, if you’re still waiting for that one.

Here’s how the Get My Payment tool works.

1. Head to the IRS’ Get My Payment page and tap the blue Get My Payment button to check the status of your economic impact payment. Note, if you try to access the tool during a busy period, you may be put into a queue before you can enter your information.

2. On the next page about authorized use, tap OK.

3. On the Get My Payment page, enter your Social Security Number or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, your date of birth, your street address following the instructions on the page and your ZIP or postal code. Tap Continue.

On the next page, the portal may show your payment status, whether it’s been scheduled, the payment method (direct deposit or by mail) and date, and if the service can’t yet determine your status.


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What to know about using the Get My Payment tool

Here’s what to know about using the payment-tracking tool, based on using it for the first and second checks.

  • You’ll need to provide your SSN or ITIN along with your date of birth, street address and postal code, following the instructions on the page.
  • The IRS is sending payments on a schedule. Think of it as batches of payments that get sent at once. If your payment schedule is set, the Get My Payment tool will show you the date.
  • The IRS updates its status tracking information once a day, overnight. 
  • The tool may require you to enter your details in a specific way.
  • You should receive a letter after the IRS issues your payment, with information on the amount you received and how you received it.

After using the IRS tracker, you could also sign up for a free service from the post office that tells you exactly when your stimulus check will arrive in the mail.

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The IRS and US Treasury are now making the second round of stimulus payments.


Sarah Tew/CNET

How to deal with an error message

When the IRS rolled out the tool last spring, you might have seen confusing messages when using the status app. To help explain the messages, the IRS created an FAQ to explain common status messages. In our early checks this time around, we also received a few confusing messages. You may see confusing messages if the tool can’t determine your eligibility, for example, if your payment status is not available or if a lot of people are trying to access the tool. Here are some initial reasons why Get My Payment may not be able to track your payment status, though the IRS has since said it’s improved its tool.

Will you be able to set up direct deposit with the tool?

For the first checks, you could use the Get My Payment tool to give the IRS your banking information to have your check sent via direct deposit. According to the IRS’ FAQ for the second check, the answer is no. “Your payment information cannot be changed. If you don’t get a payment and you are eligible to receive one, it may be claimed on your 2020 tax return as the Recovery Rebate Credit.”

For the second checks, the IRS said it is using banking information it gathered from your 2019 tax return, from the now-closed Non-Filers tool if you used it prior to Dec. 22, 2020, or from a federal agency that issued benefits to you, such as the Social Security Administration.

We’ve asked the US Treasury and IRS for additional clarification.

This handy USPS mail-tracking service will keep tabs on mailed stimulus checks

If your second stimulus check is going to arrive in the mail, the US Postal Service has a free app that can notify you when it’s about to deliver your stimulus money from the IRS. Called Informed Delivery, the mail-tracking service automatically scans your letters and can alert you when they’ll be delivered. Here’s more on how to set up and use the letter-tracking service from the USPS to keep tabs on your payment.

The IRS will send you a letter confirming your second payment was sent

With the first check, the IRS sent mail to a taxpayer’s last known address within 15 days after sending the payment to confirm delivery. The letter contained information on when and how the payment was made and how to report to the IRS if you didn’t receive your check. The IRS said it is sending a letter for the second checks as well. Hold on to the letter in case you don’t receive your full payment and need to claim your money later.

For more information, here’s everything to know about a second stimulus check, including when the next IRS checks could potentially get sent and who might qualify for more money.

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