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IRS stimulus checks update: When will mailed paper checks or EIP cards arrive?

A second batch of Economic Impact Payments is on the way, but it could take a few weeks to receive it by USPS.

IRS stimulus checks update: When will mailed paper checks or EIP cards arrive?
[Photo: insung yoon/Unsplash; NeONBRAND/Unsplash]
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If you’ve been waiting for your third Economic Impact Payment to arrive via the U.S. Postal Service, there’s a chance it could already be in the mail.

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The Internal Revenue Service said last week it would deliver the second large batch of stimulus checks—about 37 million of them. Although many were delivered via direct deposit, the batch also included about 15 million paper checks and 5 million debit cards.

It appears as though some mailed payments went out on Friday, March 26. That’s according to a number of social media users who were able to obtain an update from the IRS using the Get My Payment tool. If you have access to that tool—and you’re expecting a check by mail—it’s worth checking it for an update. If you’re among the 20 million people whose mailed payment is part of the second batch, there’s a chance it will show up this week, but the IRS says it will take a few weeks to deliver all of them.

Here are a few other things to know:

  • Nonfilers are still waiting: In its recent update, the IRS said the payments that went out with the latest batch included people who filed a tax return in 2019 or 2020. It also included people who didn’t file a return but were able to register with the IRS’s “nonfilers” tool. Nonfilers who didn’t use that tool are going to have to wait longer. Sadly, this includes many recipients of federal benefits such as Social Security. (We’ve reached out to the IRS for an update on when payments for these individuals will be sent out.)
  • It could be a paper check or a card: If you’re expecting a mailed payment, the IRS isn’t really saying whether you’ll receive it by paper or a debit card (EIP Card). Importantly, if you received a previous stimulus check by debit card, the IRS will not simply replenish it with $1,400. You’ll either get a new card or you’ll get a payer check. (Needless to say, don’t throw away any envelopes from the IRS.)
  • Lost payments are traceable: If you received a paper check or debit card but lost it, all hope is not lost. For paper checks, you can request a payment trace from the IRS. For debit cards, you can request a replacement from MetaBank, the issuing bank.

The American Rescue Plan Act, signed into law on March 11, authorized checks of up to $1,400 for individuals and $2,800 for couples. As of last week, the IRS said it has issued 127 million payments totaling $325 billion. Unfortunately, it hasn’t provided a timeline for when subsequent batches of payments will be sent out. We’ll keep you posted with updates.

About the author

Christopher Zara is a senior staff news editor for Fast Company and obsessed with media, technology, business, culture, and theater. Before coming to FastCo News, he was a deputy editor at International Business Times, a theater critic for Newsweek, and managing editor of Show Business magazine

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