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Still waiting for your stimulus check? Here’s what you can expect

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For many parents whose finances are taking a hit again this month, we’re still on the lookout for the stimulus check (officially called the “Economic Impact Payment,” or EIP) coming our way from the federal government. 

A handful of eligible folks have received the payment, but some—such as individuals who have not filed a tax return in the last two years, and others who have filed but didn’t have their direct deposit info on file with the IRS—are still waiting. Here’s what we know right now about what to expect and when.

As of April 24th, the federal government had issued 88.1 million stimulus checks totaling $157.96 billion, which accounts for about half of the funds put aside in the recent federal CARES Act for payments to individuals. According to Market Watch, the IRS expects to put approximately 5 million checks in the mail each week for up to 20 weeks, and has shared some timelines for when certain eligible folks should receive their payment:

  • Payments for Social Security, Social Security survivor, and disability non-filers should have been issued on April 29; Social Security non-filers should begin seeing payments in early May.
  • Veterans benefit recipients should also begin receiving their stimulus payments by early May.
  • According to the IRS, if you have successfully entered your bank information “any day until noon on Tuesday, your payment date will be available beginning the following Saturday.” Those who miss the Tuesday deadline will need to wait another week to get a payment date. Or, if your payment has already been processed, it could take up to 14 days to receive your payment. (If the IRS doesn’t have your info, keep reading to find out how to submit it.)

If you’re not sure when to expect your payment, the first thing to do is check out the IRS’s Get My Payment tool. If you get a “status not available” message on this site, it’s possible that your delivery info is still missing or that you’re not eligible (see below for more on eligibility). This site will let you enter direct deposit details for your bank account, which in many cases can speed up the delivery of your payment. There were some early glitches on this IRS website, so if you previously got an error message, try it again—though it’s only updated once a day, so there’s no need to check more often than that. For those who don’t file taxes (like if you get Social Security or Veterans Administration benefits) and who have a dependent under 17, there’s a specific Non-Filers Portal where you can go to share your address or payment info.

Remember: the actual amount of your stimulus check depends on your family’s income, since the amount will be lower for some people who make a bit more money. Check out an earlier ParentsTogether piece on the CARES Act if you’re still not sure how much your family is likely to get (we included this calculator from the Washington Post to help you estimate what you’re eligible for). If your income is too high, you won’t be eligible to receive a stimulus check—the limit is set at over $99,000 for individuals, or $198,000 for couples.

Unfortunately, the law was written in such a way that only individuals who have a Social Security Number, and who live in households where everyone has a Social Security Number, are eligible for the benefit. The IRS has shared that checks are going to “legal permanent residents,” also known as green-card holders. However, if someone still has a green-card application pending they may not be getting a stimulus check, or will experience a major delay. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) field offices need to administer in-person interviews before issuing green cards, and are closed temporarily until June 3rd as a result of the pandemic.

Other people haven’t received their check because they were claimed as a dependent on someone else’s taxes, and therefore aren’t eligible. Yet another reason for missing a check is the possibility that debt collectors are garnishing the funds as soon as they hit your bank account—Market Watch offers some tips for preventing creditors from taking those funds if you find yourself in that situation.

Still not sure why you haven’t gotten your stimulus payment? There’s an FAQ page on the IRS site that might provide some answers. 

Andrea is a mindfulness and yoga teacher, as well as an independent education consultant in Washington D.C. with expertise in child development, social-emotional learning and personalized learning. Andrea formerly lead a $500 million program for the U.S. Department of Education but still talks about her first job as a high school dropout prevention counselor.