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Did you not receive your stimulus check? You’re not alone. The relief bill that provided Americans with their second stimulus check to counter the coronavirus’s economic impact was signed in late December 2020. It was the middle of the holiday season, and there was a transfer of presidential power on the horizon. On top of that, the bill called for payments to be made by January 15, which didn’t leave a lot of time to send payments. As a result, millions of Americans have reported not receiving the stimulus payment.

Tracking Down a Stimulus Check

The IRS provides the public with an online tool to track down payments. This tool provides information from both rounds of stimulus payments. The first was from the CARES act, signed in March 2020. Payments of up to $1,200 (plus an additional amount for people with dependent children) were distributed in April. The second round was for up to $600, and payments were sent in January – if they were sent at all.

Use the IRS Get My Payment tool to find the status of stimulus checks. This online tool will give you the status of both rounds of payments. Unfortunately, many Americans report receiving a message that reads “Payment Status – Not Available.” This rather unhelpful error message provides very little useful advice for finding more detailed information. As a result, many people have not received their checks, and they feel like they probably won’t.

How to Get A Missing Payment

Luckily, the IRS also provides a method to claim missing stimulus payments. The process is to claim the Recovery Rebate Credit when filing 2020 taxes. For anyone filing taxes online, the filing platform will offer an easy way to claim this credit. For instance, taxpayers who use IRS e-file will be shown a list with a few options:

  • I received stimulus payment(s) during the first round of payments.
  • I received stimulus payments(s) during the second round of payments.
  • I have not received any stimulus payments.

Check the box that applies, and the software will automatically update the 2020 refund amount to include any missing stimulus payments.

Popular tax filing programs like TurboTax and H&R Block offer similar options, so anyone filing can easily claim this credit.