‘Payment Status Not Available’— Difficulties With The Economic Stimulus Check


Just when you think you will get a little treat in the form of an Economic Stimulus Check deposited into your bank account.

Then, you don’t.

No worries, you can wander over to the shiny new IRS website page. Click on the Get My Payment button, type in your information (your social security number or your address), and track your check.

it’s kind of like the Dominoes Pizza Tracker.

Except some people, myself included, are getting the message: “Payment Status Not Available.”

The answer to this, from the IRS website:


In certain cases, the Get My Payment app will be unable to tell you the status of your payment.  You may receive this message for one of the following reasons:

  • If you are not eligible for a payment (see IRS.gov on who is eligible and who is not eligible)
  • If you are required to file a tax return and have not filed in tax year 2018 or 2019.
  • If you recently filed your return or provided information through Non-Filers: Enter Your Payment Info on IRS.gov. Your payment status will be updated when processing is completed.
  • If you are a SSA or RRB Form 1099 recipient, SSI or VA benefit recipient – the IRS is working with your agency to issue your payment; your information is not available in this app yet.
  • (updated information from IRS.gov as of April 17, 2020): You are required to file a tax return, but:
    • We haven’t finished processing your 2019 return
    • The application doesn’t yet have your data; we’re working on adding more data to allow more people to use it.
    • You don’t usually file a return, and:
      • You used Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info Here but we haven’t processed your entry yet
      • You receive an SSA or RRB Form 1099 or SSI or VA benefits; information has not been loaded onto our systems yet for people who don’t normally file a tax return

You can check the app again to see whether there has been an update to your information.  Get My Payment data is updated once per day, so there’s no need to check back more frequently.


Now what? Well, some people have been rechecking the site so often that they’ve actually been locked out. I rechecked ours a number of times too—even alternating between my social security number and my husband’s since we file jointly. But that did not work.

I then decided to ”view my account.”

I created an account, and just as I was feeling like I was getting somewhere, the site kicked me out with this message:

We’re sorry; this service is experiencing occasional errors. Please try again later.

Okay, so I try to go back in later…same problem, but different. I was not able to receive the ”text code.” Again. Bumped out.

Right now I can only assume that the glitches and problems logging on are related to excessive use by other concerned citizens who have nothing better to do than sit at home and keep checking and rechecking. Of course, I’m including myself in that motley group.

That’s what happens when you shutdown an entire population of people, I suppose.

Still, if you too are getting this message, it is important to note that the above list, from the IRS website, does give away some crumbs of information:


Some people are not going to get a Stimulus Check because they are considered ineligible. It may seem unfair (considering the rich also pay taxes) but still, at least it is obvious that those who are in a high-income category will not be given a check. After more digging, however, I found that there is a little dusty layer of hidden ‘ineligibles,’ that less obviously, will not be receiving a red cent. Students, or any adult, for that matter, over the age of 17, who are ‘dependents’ on their parents tax return, will not see any money at all—and neither will their parents. This is true whether the student worked or not, or if the adult is disabled.

Forgot to Filers

Here is the second reason that you may not have seen any cash: you forgot to file your paperwork.

In order for the IRS to determine how much to give you—and what account to put the money in—they need to have recent information. For this stimulus check they are taking information from either your 2018 or 2019 tax forms. If you have not filed your 2019 taxes, then they will use 2018 information. But, if you haven’t turned in either, and you don’t fall into the non-filer category, then you are behind, my friend. Ironically, the IRS allows you to file online for free.

Maybe not so ironically.

Just Under The Wire Filers

If you recently filed your return or provided information through Non-Filers.

This is where I think my own payment went awry. Things have been really backed up, we have a new accountant, and despite the fact that I gave our tax information to the accountant a month ago, she’s been hounded with piles of other work—most of it related to Covid-19. I haven’t emailed her yet—I don’t want to bug her. But, I suspect that she may just have filed our taxes and that puts us in the ‘recently filed your return’ category. Oh. Joy. Time to wait. Non-filers who just gave the IRS their bank information are waiting here too.

The Others

Those who receive SSA (Social Security Administration), RRB (Railroad Retirement Board), SSDI (Social Security Disability Insurance) will receive money later in April, even if they don’t ordinarily file taxes.

Those who receive SSI (Supplemental Security Income) will see their check in early May.

  • If you are in this group, and have dependents under the age of 17, you will need to go to the non-filers tool to claim the $500.00 per child payment. You’ll need a valid Social Security number or Adoption Taxpayer Identification Number of each child to process the application.

Final Notes

If you are eligible for money, but the IRS does not have your direct deposit information, you will receive a paper check in the mail. These have not been mailed yet.

Those in the low-income category, including the homeless, (if they did not file taxes during 2018 or 2019) will need to provide the IRS with bank account or mailing address information through the “non-filers tool” on the IRS.Gov website.

Another thing to keep in mind is that while we all are expecting a $1200.00 check for each adult in the home, and $500.00 for each child, it doesn’t always add up that way if your income is in the higher-earning categories.

According to the Washington Post, many filers who used “H&R Block, TurboTax and Jackson Hewitt” did not receive their stimulus check because the way those companies process their payments. …”tax preparation companies received these people’s tax refund first, deducted their fees and then distributed the remaining refund to the customers. Because of that, the IRS had a “temporary bank account” on file that the tax preparer created for the 2019 tax season.”

The IRS is aware of the problem and working on resolving it.

Finally, the IRS will be sending out a letter approximately 15 days after you receive a payment. Keep you eye on the mail and if there are any discrepancies between what you have in your hot hand and what you think you should have received, there will be instructions included so that hopefully you can resolve those issues.

*Note: Watch out for scammers during this time! There are many ways that tricksters try to get your information. The IRS will not call, text, or email you. (In fact, I’ve been audited by the IRS a couple times and they are notoriously difficult to get ahold of.  You will either receive the money in the mail or in your account. You do not have to pay anyone for information or to receive your check. Beware.


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