Most eligible Americans received their third and final (so far) economic impact stimulus check in March 2021. At the time, the Biden administration passed legislation totaling $1.9 trillion. The legislation included a check-up to $1,400 for each American under a certain income threshold. The status of those checks can always be found using the IRS online tracker tool.
However, some folks are still waiting for their money nearly a year later. If you’ve been waiting patiently for your stimulus check for months now, hoping to pay bills or pay down debt with the funds, but haven’t received it yet, here’s why.
Some common reasons you haven’t received a stimulus check, yet
The most common reason for missing a check is that you simply didn’t qualify for the final round of stimulus. The previous payments allowed single filers up to $100,000 in income and joint filers up to $200,000 to receive checks. The third payment lowered the threshold to $80,000 and $160,000, respectively. Therefore, you may have qualified for the first two rounds but not the third.
Another reason for missing a check is a lack of a tax return. Even if you lived below the poverty line in the previous year — well under the threshold for payment — if you didn’t file a return, then the IRS didn’t consider you for stimulus. Americans who made less than $12,400 in 2020 and were under 65-years-old were not technically required to file a tax return. You can still fix this problem if you file a late return.
Social Security claimants also faced delays in processing their stimulus checks because of internal communication errors between the SS administration and the IRS. If you’re retired and collecting Social Security and haven’t received your check, that connection may be worth investigating.
The fourth most common reason for processing delays is a change of address or bank account. The IRS can only work based on the information that they are given. Make sure the IRS knows all of your pertinent details by going online and opening an account in their user portal. There, you can see everything that they see, and double-check your details.
Along the same lines as the last reason, taxpayers without any direct deposit banking information whatsoever may have not received a check because it was lost in the mail. Paper checks or preloaded debit cards get lost or accidentally discarded all the time. Follow up with the IRS to check your status.
Less common, but still-possible reasons for delay
The sixth reason for delays is processing errors within banks, themselves. Some banks, including JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo, future-dated their checks to coincide with the IRS’s official payment date. Therefore, funds were artificially held up and may have never been distributed in certain cases.
Seventh, a debt collector claimed the payment first. The third payment was available for debt collectors to claim if some sort of serious debt burden was monitored by the courts. The first two payments were not allowed to be claimed by collectors.
Finally, the IRS simply may not have sent the check, yet. The government agency still has not declared that it is fully done with distribution. So your stimulus check may still be processing.