Personal Finance

Still no $1,400 stimulus check? Here's what you can do if you're waiting for the money

Key Points
  • Even as about 90 million stimulus checks went out last week, others have yet to receive the money.
  • Additional $1,400 payments will be deployed in the coming weeks via direct deposit, paper checks or pre-paid debit cards.
  • Here's what you need to know if you're still waiting.
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Even as the U.S. government has deployed about 90 million $1,400 stimulus checks, you may still be asking, "Where is my money?"

The IRS and Treasury Department announced last week it had sent out the first batch of stimulus checks totalling more than $242 billion.

The $1,400 stimulus payments were authorized by Congress and President Joe Biden earlier this month. This time, the payments are as much as $1,400 per person, as well as $1,400 per child or adult dependents.

As with the first two sets of stimulus checks, you must meet certain income thresholds in order to qualify. Generally, individuals with up to $75,000 in adjusted gross income will get a full payment. That goes up to $112,500 for heads of household or up to $150,000 for married couples filing jointly.

This time, however, the payments phase out more quickly. The checks are capped at $80,000 for individuals, $120,000 for heads of household and $160,000 for married couples.

Other eligibility rules also apply.

Millions more payments will be dispensed in the coming weeks by direct deposit, mailed paper check or pre-paid debit card.

If you receive no payment or a smaller deposit than you anticipated, you may fear you're missing out. If that's the case, here's what you can do.

File your 2020 tax return

Three ways to get a bigger stimulus check using your tax return
How to get a bigger stimulus check using your tax return

The $1,400 stimulus checks generally will be calculated on either 2019 or 2020 tax returns, whichever you most recently filed.

If the IRS has received and processed your 2020 filing, your third stimulus check will be based off that.

That's important to know because if your income dropped in 2020 your stimulus check could be bigger as a result, provided you meet the income requirements and other qualifications.

If the government sends your payment based on your 2019 return, they will evaluate whether it should have been bigger once your 2020 return is processed and potentially top it off in a follow-on payment.

Filing your 2020 tax return promptly has several advantages.

More from Personal Finance:
New stimulus checks could be garnished for unpaid debts
Who qualifies for $1,400 stimulus checks
What to watch for if you're expecting a $1,400 stimulus check by mail

These five other benefits are included in the new $1,400 stimulus check bill
Five other benefits are included on top of the new $1,400 stimulus checks

First, you can update your direct deposit information, if necessary.

Second, filing as soon as possible may reveal that you were eligible for additional stimulus funds from the previous two rounds of payments.

Third, there may be other stimulus benefits for which you qualify. That includes the earned income tax credit, child tax credit or other tax benefits.

The IRS does not plan to reopen the non-filers tool that was available last year. Instead, people who do not already have their information on file with the government are encouraged to submit a tax return in order to receive their money.

The IRS has more information on free filing tools on its website.

Check the 'Get My Payment' site

The IRS Get My Payment website will show the status of the payments.

That site will be updated regularly as payments are processed.

Unfortunately, it is not equipped to let you submit new or different bank account information.

Be patient

It may just take time for your money to arrive.

For most taxpayers, no action is needed to prompt a payment, according to the IRS.

The money will automatically be sent to qualifying individuals and families the government has on record.

That includes people who do not typically file tax returns who either used the non-filer tool last year or who submitted a special simplified tax return.

It also includes federal beneficiaries who receive Social Security, Supplemental Security Income, Railroad Retirement or Veterans Affairs benefits.

Three ways your eligibility may change for the $1,400 stimulus checks
Three ways your eligibility may change for the $1,400 stimulus checks