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Would you be first in line for the next stimulus check? Depends on your payment group



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A stimulus check is back in the conversation, but not everyone gets it right away.

Sarah Tew / CNET

The next incentive package can be approved in the next few days, or delayed until next year, depending on what happens next to the turbulent negotiations in Washington. Much is uncertain, but we know that if Congress succeeds another round of payments for $ 1,200 – or even $ 600 – not everyone will see money at the same time. There is all evidence that the order the IRS would take to send payments would be less based on your individual qualifications and more about payment groups that are separated by the way you receive your money.

For example, the IRS sent the first round of stimulus help through direct deposit, as a paper check or prepaid EIP card. Some of these methods take longer than others, and some situations are more confusing too, causing some people to receive their incentive payments weeks – sometimes months – later than others. A second round would probably work the same way, although there may be ways you can speed up the receipt of your next check.

Below we explain what the different “priority groups” are and what that means for you. You can also use our graph that charts the differences. If a second stimulus check isn’t approved in 2020, here it is what is likely to happen in 2021. We recently updated this story.


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Here are the 5 incentive payment groups we discovered

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.

With the IRS under pressure to get stimulus money quickly, the speed at which you received your check often depended on the method you were paid with. Any kind of complication can slow it down. In addition, some calculation errors caused some people who might not see it all or part of their allotted share until mid-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 received 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 sending checks to those with no direct filing information on file about a week later.

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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 begin 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 the IRS can’t send all payments at once

There are a few reasons why the IRS doesn’t send all of the 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.

In fact, the last checks of the first round are still being distributed 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.

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

Angela Lang / CNET

The first payment round will be completed 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 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 owe 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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