Tracking Your Stimulus Check? Here’s How To Decode The Confusing “Payment Status Not Available” Error Message.
US Internal Revenue Service launched a website for tracking coronavirus stimulus checks today, but some users are getting told their payment status is “not available,” and no way of knowing what’s wrong.
Finally! This was the week millions Americans were expecting to receive their $1,200 stimulus payments from the federal government. The funds, part of the $2.2 trillion-dollar Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, are meant to provide a much needed cash infusion for individuals struggling due to the economic downturn. “We expect over 80 million hard-working Americans will get the direct deposit by this Wednesday,” said U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin at a Monday press briefing.
Many individual did receive payment via direct deposit from The Treasury Department, if it had their bank-account information from their 2018 or 2019 tax returns on file; however, others have been left to wonder, “where’s my money?” Finding the answer is proving to be difficult and confusing.
Where Can You Check Your Payment Status?
To allow Americans to track the status of their stimulus payments, the IRS and Treasury Department launched a new tool, Get My Payment. The tool provides individuals “with the status of your payment, including the date your payment is scheduled to be deposited into your bank account or mailed.”
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After providing basic personal information, the IRS tool is supposed to let Americans know when they will receive their stimulus payment. In a press release, the IRS noted, “more than 6.2 million taxpayers have successfully received their payment status.” However, others attempting to track their payment are instead left trying to decipher a confusing error message: “Payment Status Not Available.”
The tool says that “according to the information we have on file, we cannot determine your eligibility for a payment at this time,” and directs users to a “Frequently Asked Questions” (FAQ) page. Unfortunately, the FAQ page has a laundry list of potential reasons for why individuals are seeing the error message and no additional guidance other than to check back for updates.
What Are The Reasons You May Be Getting An Error Message?
According to the IRS FAQ page, “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.”
Even more puzzling is a wrinkle that was uncovered, which is that you get the same error message if you enter in fake information including social security number, date of birth, or address. In short, receiving a ‘Payment Status Not Available’ message “appears to be generic catch-all error for the system, instead of a useful or actionable error message.”
The lack of clarity has frustrated many individuals and added to uncertainty in a time of crisis. As one user on Reddit summed up, “everyone is getting the same thing, and now I’m locked out for 24 hours because I tried too much. This is infuriating. Imagine families living paycheck to paycheck trying to get this stimulus to live and the website is broken so they keep getting that error message.”
Is There Anything You Can Do?
Sadly, the answer for now is simply to wait and check again the following day because the IRS only updates Get My Payment data once per day. The IRS has stated that “more information will be shared on IRS.gov shortly on some common questions taxpayers are asking,” so stay tuned.