Fact Checked

Haven’t received your stimulus check? This could be why.

Closeup of a $100 billImage: Closeup of a $100 bill
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Americans recently started receiving stimulus checks as part of an economic relief plan approved by Congress last month. If you’re expecting the one-time direct payment and haven’t received it yet, there could be a few reasons why.

Everyone’s situation is different, but we’ve tried to outline some of the most common reasons why the government may not have paid you yet, or hasn’t paid you what you expected.

  • The government needs your information because you didn’t file taxes in 2018 or 2019. In this case, you can go to the IRS’ non-filer website to enter your information so that the government knows where to send the payment.
  • You’re not part of the first round of payments. The IRS should have sent payments to people who filed taxes in 2018 and 2019 and who gave the IRS direct deposit information. For anyone who filed taxes but didn’t use direct deposit, paper checks should go out after the first round of payments.
  • You used tax preparation software or services to file your taxes. The Washington Post reported that some who used tax preparation services may not have received their stimulus checks yet because the government didn’t have their direct deposit information on file.
  • You’ve received your $1,200 payment but not the $500 per dependent. If you didn’t file taxes in 2018 or 2019 and applied for the stimulus check through the IRS’ non-filer website, you still need to enter information for any dependents you have. You can go to the IRS’ non-filer website to enter this information by April 22. If you miss the deadline, you won’t receive your dependent credit until after you file your 2020 tax return next year.
  • A financial institution or debt collector may be trying to collect on a debt. The New York Times and Washington Post have reported that some financial institutions or debt collectors attempting to use people’s stimulus payments to recoup unpaid debts, including overdrawn accounts. Financial services trade groups, including the American Bankers Association, have urged Congress to clarify regulations to protect stimulus payments from being garnished.
  • You’re in the process of divorcing, or recently finalized your divorce. If your divorce is pending, it’s important to know that the stimulus funds may be sent to the bank account or address associated with your last tax return. This could mean a joint account or an ex-partner’s account. If your ex-spouse received your stimulus funds, or received the $2,400 granted to a married couple, they could face legal consequences for failing to turn over your share of the payment.

What’s next?

While you wait for your payment, it’s important not to fall for any scams. The IRS is warning that coronavirus-related scams could take the form of a phone call or email phishing attempt. The IRS isn’t going to call you or send you an email asking you to verify your financial information in order to deliver your stimulus payment. And don’t believe anyone who says they can get you your check faster if you work with them rather than going through the IRS.

You can also go to this IRS website to check on the status of your payment.

About the author: Paris Ward is a content strategist at Credit Karma, providing readers with the latest news that will aid their financial progress. She has more than a decade of experience as a writer and editor and holds a bachelor’s… Read more.