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If you don’t get your second stimulus check on January 15th, here’s what to do


If the IRS owes you money from the first or second stimulus check, you can still claim it this year.

Sarah Tew / CNET

Millions of Americans have their second stimulus control in front of up to $ 600 per eligible person in the past two weeks, until direct deposit, check mailed or EIP card. If you haven’t gotten yours yet, keep an eye out: the IRS and the Treasury have one deadline Friday, January 15 to send your second check, because of the cutoff mentioned in The December Incentive Act (you can track your payment online through the IRS, or follow it via email).

What happens if you change your second incentive payment by Friday’s deadline, or if it arrives but is missing money for your family members? And what if you first check never arrived? If you are qualified to receive an incentive payment, don’t worry – that money will not be forfeited. But you’ll have to do some extra work to make sure you get the incentive payment you owe this year.

To claim your missing incentive money, during tax season this year, you must apply for a Recovery Rebate Credit from the IRS. This credit could be your amount either tax returns or reduce the amount of tax you must pay by the amount of incentive money the government owes you on the first and second payments. (In some cases – for example, if you got a confirmation letter from the IRS about receiving a payment, but the payment never arrived – you may need to contact the IRSHere’s an overview of what you need to know about applying for a Recovery Rebate Credit. This story was recently updated.

When and how to make a claim for a missing stimulus check

If you belong to one of the groups below, or estimated your total for the first stimulus payment or used our calculator to get an idea of ​​your payment for the second and think the IRS has not sent the full amount for which you were eligible, you have another chance this year to claim missing stimulus check money through an IRS Recovery Rebate Credit.

You can apply for this credit when you file your federal tax return this year; if the normal schedule is correct, your federal tax return should be paid on April 15 (although in 2020 the IRS extended the deadline to July 15th due to the COVID-19 pandemic).

read more: How much money in total you could get with one $ 2,000 Third Stimulus Check

While the IRS does not yet have definitive instructions for each personal situation (more on this below), the agency does say that people filing tax returns can use what is called the Recovery Rebate Credit on the 2020 Form 1040 or the 1040-SR form to claim a catch-up fee. The IRS will provide a recovery discount worksheet to help you determine if you are missing a payment and for how much.

To begin, you will need the calculated amount from the IRS from the letter named Notice 1444 for the first payment and Notice 1444-B for the second payment when you file this year.

If you apply for the credit and owe money, you will see either the amount of your tax refund increased or the amount of tax you owe decreased, depending on the amount of incentive money you qualify for.

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Second stimulus checks: everything you need to know


If you don’t normally file a federal tax return, here’s what you can do

Last fall, the IRS sent letters to 9 million Americans who may be eligible for a payment but may not have known they had to register to claim it. This group – which the IRS categorizes as “non-affiliates” – includes people who are did not file a tax return in 2018 or 2019, such as older adults, retirees, SSDI or SSI receivers and individuals with an income of less than $ 12,200. Those in this group were required to file a claim using the Non-Filers tool by November 21. The IRS said if you missed the deadline, you can claim the payment, which is, again, called a Recovery Rebate Credit, this year when you file a 2020 federal income tax return:

When you file a 2020 Form 1040 or 1040SR, you may be eligible for the Recovery Rebate Credit. Keep your IRS letter – Notice 1444 Your Economic Impact Payment – with your tax information for 2020. You will need the amount of the payment in the letter if you are filing in 2021.

If you miss a payment for a dependent child, here’s what you need to know

Each qualifies under the CARES Act child dependent – those 16 and under – were eligible for a $ 500 check. But some people pay were $ 500 short for each eligible dependent.

If you claimed it before November 21, 2020, you should receive payment in December of last year. You can use our stimulus check calculator to get an idea of ​​how much you might owe.

As with the non-affiliates, the IRS said you can claim payment on your 2020 federal tax return this year by filing a 2020 Form 1040 or 1040-SR if you missed the deadline.

Note that in some cases, where parents are divorced or divorced and share custody of a dependent, each parent can receive a payment of $ 500 per eligible child, so you may not even know you are eligible for the payment.

Was your stimulus check garnished accidentally?

Although there are a few instances where the federal government or a debt collection agency could seize your first payment to cover an outstanding debt, in general, if you are eligible for a check, it is up to you to spend or save as you wish. One area in which the federal government can garnish the first check is for child support backlog. You cannot confiscate your second check for overdue support. If it parents are divorced or divorced, only the spouse who owes child support may have the check confiscated.

According to the IRS, the parent who does not owe child support should receive their share of the initial payment without taking any action. If you haven’t received your check, the IRS said it works to send the missing payments. While you can’t rely much on IRS decisions, you can also try the Non-Filers tool to make a record of your claim.

What to do if you’ve used our stimulus check calculator and think the amount you received is incorrect

Finally, if you use our first stimulus check calculator or second payment calculator and find that you may be eligible for a larger payment than you received, you can use the IRS Get My Payment tool to see if a check is in the works. If the IRS is waiting for information from you that it needs to make your payment, you can still claim your money this year.


There are still unclaimed stimulus controls.

Sarah Tew / CNET

If you are a US citizen abroad, in US territories, or not a citizen

The IRS has rules that determine the terms of payment for US citizens living abroad and non-US citizens who work in the US – along with spouses of non-resident aliens. We have a guide running through the different eligibility scenarios along with what to do if you qualify but did not receive a check.

People in prison or prison are eligible for a court order

Since April, when it started sending payments, the IRS has been going back and forth on whether those in US prisons and prisons are eligible for an incentive check.

A ruling last fall by a federal judge in California appeared to have provisionally resolved the matter and required the IRS to contact those in prison who can file a claim for a stimulus check. The deadline for submitting a claim in 2020 – by mail or online – has passed. As with others who miss a payment, the IRS said that if you don’t receive a payment by December 31, 2020, you may be able to claim it this year by filing a 2020 Form 1040 or 1040-SR.

To know everything about the first payment, see our guide to the first round of checks. We also have an idea of ​​how much money you can get in one $ 2,000 stimulus check, what the situation is with a third incentive payment and all benefits that the next stimulus package could bring.

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