The IRS says it has distributed more than 171 million of the pandemic’s third stimulus checks, which began as early as March and were worth up to $1,400 each. The IRS says Americans have received about $325 billion in direct aid payments, made possible by President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID rescue package.
But that doesn’t mean much if you’re still waiting for your money – and like to use it to pay bills, reduce your debt, save or invest.
What happened to? your stimulus check? Here are eight possible reasons for the long and frustrating delay.
1. The stimulus checks went out in ‘batches’
The IRS was multitasking massively last spring — down to the last detail in both tax returns and the millions of stimulus checks.
Rather than completely overwhelm itself and risk creating an ugly payment arrears, the IRS chose to deliver the stimulus funds in batches.
The most recent amount of cash, announced by the IRS in July, totaled more than $4 billion and included about 2.2 million payments. Officials never formally ended the distribution.
2. A debt collection agency has taken your money
If you haven’t seen your incentive money, it could mean that someone else has beaten you. The first two payments were off limits to collection agencies, but the third was not.
Because Biden’s relief bill was swiftly passed through Congress using a complicated budget process, a legislative loophole allowed creditors to garnish your stimulus check. The money can be seized to pay off various types of debt, but not for tax debts or child support arrears.
If you are at risk of losing your incentive payment because of overwhelming debt, a consolidation loan for debt with lower interest can help you take more control of what you owe — and pay it off faster.
3. You have moved or changed your bank account
Moving can be a hectic time. Notifying the IRS of your new residence may not have been at the top of your priority list when you were packing, but if you didn’t update your address with the agency, it sent your check to where it previously mailed your tax refunds.
And if the IRS did indeed route your payment to an old address, the check will have to be reissued. That means waiting longer.
Or, if you’ve changed bank accounts, the IRS won’t have your new account information on file unless you provide it. When you need to receive a direct deposit, but the IRS doesn’t know where to send it, get a paper check or debit card instead. And that can take weeks.
4. You are no longer eligible for a stimulus check
After already spending trillions of dollars supporting the U.S. economy during COVID-19, Congress took a more measured approach to discussing what to include in the latest round of stimulus.
So individuals who made more than $80,000 and couples who made more than $160,000 got nothing. Eligibility was based on adjusted gross income, a household’s taxable income before the standard deduction or itemized deductions.
The previous thresholds for getting a stimulus check were $100,000 for single taxpayers and $200,000 for couples applying jointly.
5. You would get a paper check or debit card
Americans who queue for direct deposits almost certainly received their payments earlier than those scheduled to get debit cards or old-fashioned paper checks, which can take weeks to reach the intended recipients.
Not sure how your payment is divided? You can use the IRS “Receive my payment” tool to see how your money was supposed to be delivered and if it was sent.
If the tax folks had asked you for a check or debit card, you better hope you didn’t accidentally throw your envelope from the IRS. When the first $1,200 incentive checks were issued in 2020, some recipients mistook their sent checks or debit cards for junk mail — and threw them away.
6. You Didn’t Tax Last Year – Or The Year Before
Not everyone is required to file federal income taxes every year. For example, if a person brings in less than $12,400 a year, has no supplemental income as a self-employed person, is single, and under age 65, they would not have to file a tax return for 2020.
But if you hadn’t recently made it onto the IRS’s books and you’re not a Social Security or railroad pension beneficiary, the IRS had no data on your stimulus checking eligibility.
You can use a reliable tax software program to get yourself on the radar of the IRS. If money is coming in, that’s not a bad place to be.
7. Your bank may be holding back the money
In at least some cases, the IRS has apparently given the payments “future date,” similar to the way a consumer might date a check. And your bank may not have made your stimulus check money available to you until the official payment date of the tax authorities.
Such was the case for JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo customers, who did not receive the money in their accounts until days after it was distributed. The banks said they were observing the IRS “effective date” for the payments, but some people threatened to close their accounts in protest.
The ommicron COVID wave has renewed speculation as to whether there will be a fourth stimulus check, but Washington has shown little interest. So if you receive a delayed third payment of $1,400, use it wisely — perhaps by putting it to work with one of today’s popular investment apps.
What if your money is still missing – and you need it now?
If it looks like your stimulus check is still holding up, or if the new income guidelines meant there was no money for you, there are several options if you seriously need the $1,400 Today.
Lower your insurance bills. Car insurers are handing out discounts to motorists who are less on the road due to the pandemic. Not yours? Sounds like it’s time to shop around for a better deal from a more flexible provider.
Lower your mortgage payments by refinancing. Mortgage rates remain historically low, and transfer your existing mortgage big savings – usually hundreds of dollars a month.
Limit your budget and “make your own” stimulus control. By finding a few creative ways to cut back, you can rearrange your budget to find another $1,400. Use cloth instead of paper napkins, refill water bottles instead of buying bottled water, and use your own coffee cup to get a discount at your local cafe. And, download a free browser extension that automatically hunts for better prices and coupons when you shop online.
This article provides information only and should not be construed as advice. It comes without any kind of warranty.