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Stimulus check tracker: Why you may see ‘Payment Status Not Available’—or a pending direct deposit in your bank account

March 15, 2021, 4:07 PM UTC
Updated March 15, 2021, 5:54 PM UTC

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While some Americans received their $1,400 stimulus checks from the government this weekend, the relaunch of the Get My Payment tool by the Internal Revenue Service has once again increased frustration.

Many users, hoping to learn about the status of their check, are being met with a vague message reading “Payment Status Not Available” that steers them to a FAQ page.

Finding real answers has proved challenging, though, as the FAQ page doesn’t give people a clear idea of why that eligibility can’t be determined.

Why am I getting the ‘Payment Status Not Available’ message?

About halfway down the IRS FAQ page, the agency offers a few possible reasons you might be seeing that message after you enter your information:

  • You might not be eligible for a payment.
  • Your payment might not yet have been processed (or scheduled).
  • The IRS doesn’t have enough information to issue you a payment.

What can I do to resolve the ‘Payment Status Not Available’ issue?

For now, not a lot. The IRS says it will continue to issue the 2021 Economic Impact Payments throughout the year. It’s urging patience and suggests people check in regularly to the Get My Payment portal for updates. (The portal is updated once a day, usually overnight, so there’s no reason to check multiple times a day.)

Can I change my bank account information?

If you’ve closed the bank account the IRS has on file—or the organization has incorrect information—that will cause a delay. Banks will return stimulus payments to the IRS, which will then mail you a physical check.

The portal does not enable you to update your bank information—and the IRS is asking people not to call, as its phone staff are unable to change the information on file.

The best way to make a change, the IRS says, is to file your 2020 taxes with your current address and updated account information. Just be aware this could impact the amount you receive if your adjusted gross income rose above $75,000 last year. (Or, for heads of household, $112,500. Married couples who file jointly can earn up to $150,000 to qualify for the full $1,400 per person checks.)

Why can’t I withdraw the stimulus payment direct deposit that’s ‘pending’ in my bank account?

Several banks riled up customers over the weekend with tweets showing timelines on when their checks would be accessible. Many users felt the financial institutions were holding the money hostage. Not quite.

Banks, actually, are waiting on the deposits to process, meaning the IRS hasn’t finished things on its end. As a result, most major banks expect the funds to be accessible on March 17—a bit of gold for customers on Saint Patrick’s Day.

My second stimulus check was deposited into the wrong bank account. Will that happen again?

It shouldn’t. During the second round, you might recall, millions of customers of tax preparation companies, including TurboTax, H&R Block, and Jackson Hewitt, saw their checks go to “pass through” accounts that consumers didn’t have access to. That delayed people getting the money, sometimes by weeks.

TurboTax and the IRS, though, say they have ensured that won’t happen again.

H&R Block says it has cleared up the issue as well and expects clients will see the money added to their H&R Block Emerald Prepaid Mastercard by March 17.