Five reasons why your coronavirus stimulus check might be delayed

Five reasons why your coronavirus stimulus check might be delayed
TerriAnneAllen / Pixabay

Stimulus checks started going out earlier this month and millions of eligible people have already received their money. If you haven’t yet received your coronavirus stimulus check or the status of your payment is not available, then there could be several reasons for it. It is better that you understand these possible reasons and then act accordingly.

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Coronavirus stimulus check: reasons for delay

The first reason why your coronavirus stimulus check may not have arrived yet is if you changed your bank account recently. The IRS uses your bank account information that it already has on record to make a direct deposit.

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If you recently closed the bank account that the agency has on record, then your payment may be delayed. In this case, you will either get the payment as a paper check or debit card. If you don’t get the payment, then you will have to claim it this year when you file your 2020 tax return.

Another reason for a delayed payment is if you haven’t filed your 2019 tax return yet. The agency looks at your tax return to determine your eligibility for the stimulus checks. So, if you haven’t filed your return, the IRS has no way to check your eligibility. In such a case, you will have to claim your direct payment as a "recovery rebate" credit on your 2020 tax return.

It is possible that you have filed your 2019 tax return, but the IRS has yet to process it. In such a case also you may not get the stimulus check. The IRS had to deal with staff shortages throughout 2020. So, it is possible it hasn’t processed your return yet. In such a case, you need to claim your stimulus check as a "recovery rebate" credit for tax year 2020.

This may also delay your payment

If you used software, including TurboTax, Jackson Hewitt or H&R Block, to file your 2019 tax return, you also might face a delay with the stimulus check. This is because these software services use a temporary bank account to process the tax refund. Since the IRS has these bank accounts on record, it is unable to send you the payment. The IRS and software companies are working to resolve the issue.

Another reason for a delay could be if you moved to a new location recently. In case you were expecting to get a paper check or debit card and recently changed your address, then the IRS is likely to send your payment to the wrong address.

If the postal service has your new address, you might get the check soon. However, if they don’t have your new address, they are likely to return your check or card to the IRS. If such is the case, then it is likely that you will have to claim the payment as a "recovery rebate" credit on your 2020 tax return.

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Aman is MBA (Finance) with an experience on both Marketing and Finance side. He has worked as a Risk Analyst for AIR Worldwide, and is currently leading VeRa FinServ, a Financial Research firm. Favorite pastimes include watching science fiction movies, reviewing tech gadgets, playing PC games and cricket. - Email him at
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