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The next stimulus check could come in 5 waves. Which one is yours?


Sarah Tew / CNET

Did you know the IRS planned stimulus check payments by priority groups? That is why some people got their economic aid money on the first day the payment was sent, others within the first week, and some groups weeks and months after the IRS began delivering the $ 1,200 allocations. In fact, the last checks of the first round are still being handed out this month, and catch-up payments due to errors and unclaimed checks will keep coming in in 2021. Some people will even have to do that claim their first check as part of their 2020 tax return.

All of this means that which group you are in can make a big difference when it comes to when you get your check. If you’re counting on that money to meet a financial obligation, that’s really important to know. Is There Anything You Can Do About It? There may be, depending on your specific situation.

We’ll explain more, but before we dive in, a few reminders. Even if you received the first payment, there is no guarantee of a second check – that is more likely to appear in 2021 than in these last weeks of 2020 – follows the same blueprint as the first rollout. It is also possible some qualifications may change right away new incentive accountthat you could leave less money than you expected. You may even think that you are are no longer eligible, depending on what will happen to negotiations in Washington.

There are still many details yet to be sorted out. But what we To do knowing is that if and when more checks come in, they will not come to everyone at once. Here’s information on the top priority groups we’ve identified and why those groups could once again be the government’s guide to sending a second stimulus payment.

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5 stimulus check payment groups we know today

When the CARES Act passed in March, it took a few weeks for the IRS to build a tool and procedure to find out who owed a check and for how much. This formula helped determine the size of your household’s total amount, but the check sending schedule may have felt much less conscious.

Because the IRS was under pressure to get stimulus money quickly, the speed at which you received your check often matched the method by which you were paid. Any kind of complication can slow it down. In addition, some calculation errors caused some people who may not see all or part of their assigned share until the middle of 2021.

Direct Deposit Recipients: People who use their direct deposit information registered with the IRS or providing that information when and if the registration is reopened, must be first in line to receive a stimulus check. An electronic money transfer is faster and more efficient, which means that this group got their first payment much faster.

Beneficiaries of social securityAt the first incentive payment, many Social Security beneficiaries who had direct deposit information with the federal government received checks in the first week, but not always on the first day.

People who get paper checks: The IRS began mailing checks to those with no direct filing information on file about a week later.


When you get your incentive money it may depend on who you are.

Sarah Tew / CNET

EIP card receivers: Debit cards with economic impact are prepaid Visa cards that the IRS has sent to about 4 million people as of mid-May. If the IRS follows the same order of payment priority, this group can start seeing their payment weeks after the first direct deposits are made.

People with more complex situations: This category includes people who received a check after June, are waiting for their incentive payment, or who didn’t know they had to go the extra mile. Direct payments will continue until the end of 2020 for some individuals who were not part of the previous groups. This is what could be there withhold the delivery of the stimulus check for some people and how to contact the IRS to report a missing, lost, or stolen check.

Why would the IRS stagger its payment schedule?

There are a few reasons why the IRS doesn’t send all stimulus payments at once. One of them is the sheer number of payouts it has to handle. With the first check, the IRS said it could deliver anywhere from 5 million to 7 million paper incentive checks per week people with an adjusted gross income, or AGI, is less than $ 20,000, and then moving to people whose AGIs are getting bigger, according to the Government Accountability Office.

Another reason why payments are made at different times for different people depends on how they get the money. By the summer, the IRS had sent money to at least 160 million people, as had the federal government direct deposit information to get their checks first.

Physical checks and EIP payments followed, creating a de facto order of priority that could result in some Americans receiving their checks days or even weeks earlier than others.


Understanding your incentive priority group will help you determine your expectations about the next audit.

Angela Lang / CNET

The first checks are still being delivered this month

While the majority of people who lined up to receive an incentive check got theirs in late July, through the end of November, there were still millions of people who were eligible for incentive money who had not received it. That includes people who were not allocated $ 500 for their family members, Someone who be involved in child support situations and non-filers who may be due a stimulus check (including older adults and people who Receive SSI or SSDI.)

If you have a US citizen abroad or resident in US territory and did not receive a check as expected, you may also need to research. And a new court ruling has made it possible for millions people who are locked up to get a check even after the IRS changed its rules to exclude this group.

The November 21 deadline to claim payment in 2020 has passed, but you can claim a catch-up allowance or error correction during the 2021 tax season.

Depending on which group you’re in, we’ve also mapped out some speculative dates how soon you could possibly get your next stimulus check.

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