No stimulus check? 5 reasons why you haven’t gotten yours

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The first round of stimulus check payments were sent out starting earlier this spring, so you may be wondering: why haven’t I received mine? 

It turns out that distributing $2 trillion in relief takes time, and your money may have been held up for a number of reasons—from your income level to issues with your direct deposit info to delays in mailing out paper checks.  

If you’re still waiting on your first stimulus check, you can check the status of your payment using the IRS’s Get My Payment app. You can also set up stimulus check notifications with the USPS’s Informed Delivery tool to get an alert when your check or stimulus check debit card lands in your mailbox.

Finally, you can try calling the IRS stimulus check phone number to speak to a representative if you’re still having trouble locating your check. 

Here are a few reasons your first stimulus check may be missing. 

You’re not actually eligible for a stimulus check

The stimulus package under the Cares Act provides $1,200 for single taxpayers who earn less than $75,000 and married taxpayers who earn less than $150,000. Those earning more—up to $99,000 for single filers, $146,500 for head of household filers and $198,000 for married filers—will receive prorated benefits. 

If you’re above these income caps, you won’t get a stimulus check at all. 

The Cares Act also limited funds to individuals with Social Security numbers. If you file taxes using a tax identification number instead, you’re not covered with this round of relief. 

To find out how much you’re eligible for, use this stimulus check calculator. The only info you need is your tax filing status, how many children you have and your adjusted gross income for 2019.

Your payment is scheduled for later this year

When the IRS started sending out stimulus payments in April, it estimated that it would take up to 20 weeks to get through every paper check recipient (anyone who didn’t have direct deposit information on file). Checks are going to lower-income individuals first, so if you’re near the top of the income eligibility cap, yours may come later. 

There was an issue with your direct deposit info

The IRS tried to get everyone with a bank account to submit their direct deposit information by mid-May for faster stimulus payment processing. Anyone who didn’t will have to wait for a paper check or stimulus debit card (another reason your payment may not have arrived yet). 

If you did enter your direct deposit info, or if the IRS already had it on file from a previous tax year, there are a few potential issues. One is that your account information is out of date or incorrect, which means the IRS will have to send you a paper check. Another possibility is that your bank was unable to process the electronic payment—and again, you’ll receive a check instead. 

The IRS is still processing your tax paperwork

Some people have received a 'payment status not available' message when using the IRS check status tool. One possible reason is that the IRS is still processing your 2019 tax return or a non-filer form that you submitted online. 

If you didn’t file a tax return in 2018 or 2019 and haven’t filed a non-filer form, you’ll need to do so before the IRS can send you your stimulus check.  

You owe collections debt or child support

As MarketWatch reports, the Cares Act does not prohibit debt collectors from seizing stimulus funds. And if you owe child support payments, the IRS may reduce or eliminate your benefits completely. You should have received a notice if your stimulus check was used to cover past-due child support. 

Emily Long

Emily Long is a Utah-based freelance writer who covers consumer technology, privacy and personal finance for Tom's Guide. She has been reporting and writing for nearly 10 years, and her work has appeared in Wirecutter, Lifehacker, NBC BETTER and CN Traveler, among others. When she's not working, you can find her trail running, teaching and practicing yoga, or studying for grad school — all fueled by coffee, obviously.