The IRS started sending coronavirus stimulus checks in April.

Angela Lang/CNET

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If you’ve tried but couldn’t see the status of your stimulus payment schedule with the IRS site, the good news is the IRS has updated its Get My Payment portal to make it easier for you to set up and track the arrival of your 2020 payment. CNET readers report that the IRS tracker app is still not perfect, but is now working better.

The IRS says it has already made more than 130 million payments to eligible US residents, including stimulus checks of up to $1,200 sent through the mail, plus $500 for each qualifying child. The federal agency has also transferred coronavirus economic impact payments through direct deposit to bank accounts. If you have questions about the status of your payment — How much money do I receive? How will I receive my stimulus check? And when will I receive it? — we’ve got some answers on how to get to an update. You may also want to know if Congress is working on a second round of stimulus checks.

The IRS said it expects to step up mailing paper checks through through May and June. If you want to still receive your payment faster through direct deposit, you have a May 13 deadline to set that up. Whichever way you choose, we’re going to show you how to track your status to see your payment schedule, including for Social Security recipients. After it’s mailed, you can check when your payment will arrive in the mail with a free US Postal Service tool.

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We’ll provide step-by-step instructions on how to use the IRS’ online status tracker, which is called Get My Payment. Be aware that some who meet the requirements for an economic relief payment are having trouble tracking their payment status and entering their electronic banking information for direct deposit — we’ve asked the IRS for details. We’ll also tell you what happens if you’re getting a paper check through the mail.

As for how much money you should expect to receive, that involves calculations, as your final allowance will depend on a line in your tax form from either your 2018 or 2019 taxes. You can check our info or use a calculator to find out. 

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How to track the status and arrival of your stimulus check from the IRS 

If you’re eligible for a check, the IRS lets you track your your payment schedule through its Get My Payment web portal. Some people have reported having trouble using the portal, and the IRS said it has significantly improved the Get My Payment app to help you set up and track the date of your stimulus payment.

For those who are adding electronic transfer details, the IRS said if you enter your bank information in Get My Payment before 9 a.m. PT on a Tuesday, you can see your payment date the following Saturday in Get My Payment.

1. Head to the IRS’ Get My Payment page and tap the blue Get My Payment button to check the status of your economic impact payment. 

2. On the next page about authorized use, tap OK.

3. Now on the Get My Payment page, enter your Social Security number (SSN) or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN), your date of birth, your street address and your ZIP or postal code. Tap Continue.

On the next page, the portal will show your payment status, whether it’s been scheduled or if the service can’t yet determine your status. If you haven’t set up direct deposit with the IRS, the service may walk you through those steps to get your check sent straight to your bank account. Here’s how to set up direct deposit.

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How do I know if my check is in the mail?

In April, the IRS began transferring the first stimulus payments to the accounts of tens of millions of US residents who’ve set up direct deposit with the government. But not everyone gets an electronic transfer.

It may till through June for all the checks to go out, however, and the Get My Payment app can tell you when your payment will be issued and how. The IRS will also mail you letter about 15 days after it issues your payment, with information on the amount you received and how you received it.

How do I know that my status information is accurate and what if I get an error message?

Unfortunately, you may see confusing messages when using the status tool — so much so that the IRS explains common status messages in an FAQ. You may get a message if it’s impossible to determine your eligibility, for example, or your payment status is not available. We’re looking into it, but so far we’ve unearthed a handful of reasons why Get My Payment may not be able to track your payment status. 

The IRS once a day updates its status tracking information on who has and hasn’t received a payment. 

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You don’t need to sign up to receive stimulus money

To receive the stimulus payment, you may need to file a tax return for 2018 or 2019 if you are normally required to. You can still do that now. Here’s how.

Senior citizens, Social Security recipients, railroad retirees and other beneficiaries who typically aren’t required to file tax returns will not need to file one to receive a payment.

Again, the agency will mail a letter to a taxpayer’s last known address within 15 days after sending the payment. The letter will contain information on when and how the payment was made and how to report to the IRS if you didn’t receive your check. 

For more on the stimulus checks, here’s how best to use your stimulus check and how to avoid being scammed. Here’s everything you need to know about the coronavirus and unemployment.

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