Stimulus Checks Round 3 Arriving Soon: Key Things To Know

The IRS and Treasury will begin processing and sending the $1,400 stimulus checks as soon as this weekend. But not everyone will get their money at once.

The $1,400 stimulus checks are officially arriving this weekend — that is, for some of the people qualified to receive the new payment. “People can expect to start seeing direct deposits hit their bank accounts as early as this weekend.

But that’s just the beginning as it will take the next several weeks to send the entire batch of stimulus checks to over 100 million people (the second payments were sent to more than 147 million people).

Track your stimulus check online

The stimulus check weekend window is just a start

Tens of millions of direct deposit recipients could receive their money this weekend, but this is the first wave, and the effort to send all the checks will take weeks. People who receive their payment as a physical check or EIP card should expect that the IRS will process their checks after the direct deposit folks, and the stimulus money could take weeks to actually arrive.

Any additional complications could also delay your payment. The schedule below reflects our best guesses, based on the IRS’ timeline for the previous $600 stimulus check. The timeline isn’t final, and we’ll continue to update with information as we learn more.


Stimulus bill passed CongressMarch 10
Stimulus bill signed into lawMarch 11
First direct deposit sentMarch 13 or 14
First paper checks sentWeek of March 22 possible
First EIP cards sentWeek of March 29 possible
IRS deadline to finish sending checksDec. 31, 2021 (mandated by the bill)
Last date to receive a checkJanuary 2022 (if checks sent late December)
Claims for missing stimulus money open2021 tax season likely (in 2022)

You’ll be able to track your payment schedule online

The IRS is expected to turn on its online tracking tool for stimulus checks soon. Based on the first two checks, we’d anticipate this happening early next week. That’s because it takes the agency a little time to update the tool with new information.

Your stimulus check could come weeks after the first delivery date

What we learned from the first two checks is that how you get your stimulus money often dictates when you’ll get it. Roughly, this is broken into three groups:

  • Direct-deposit recipients: Typically got their stimulus money in the first wave. But both times there were issues involving deposits going to temporary accounts that were rejected by banks. In some cases, these people got paper checks or EIP cards instead, or had to wait for the issue to resolve.
  • Paper checks: This is the payment type the IRS sent out second. A physical check can take weeks to arrive by mail, but the check can be deposited or cashed right away once it arrives.
  • EIP cards: This payment type arrives as a prepaid debit card you must activate online to use. The IRS issued EIP cards last, delaying the payment’s arrival for this recipient group by weeks.

Remember, it takes time for the IRS to process the well over 100 million payments expected in this third round of checks. Even tiny errors could cause a delay in you receiving your full or partial payment.

The IRS could switch your payment group, again

Just because you got your payment by direct deposit the first two times doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll get it that way again. A lot depends on delivery going smoothly, and on any processing issues the IRS or Treasury could encounter with your case.

Some people who received their first stimulus payment as a physical check or EIP card may have been paid by the other method the second time around. And we learned of people who received direct deposit payments the first time finally getting an EIP card in the mail — and not an electronic bank transfer — weeks after the IRS tool said the payment was issued.

There are nearly 300 days to receive your money before the new cutoff

The IRS and Treasury have until Dec. 31 to complete sending out the third stimulus checks. That’s good news in the sense that it’s a far cry from the 17-day window the agencies had for the second payment directed by the December stimulus bill. On the other hand, it also means some people may find themselves waiting, for various reasons.

There’s still so much we don’t know about how the IRS will juggle tax season and processing the new checks, and how the agency will deal with any fringe issues that arise.

Stimulus checks will be based on whichever tax filing the IRS has processed

Taxes are due April 15, and although the IRS has been lobbied to extend the tax due date, that doesn’t appear likely this year. So how will the IRS figure out how much it owes you? It will calculate your total based on the most recent tax filing it’s processed by the time it’s ready to tabulate your check.

That means if you filed your 2020 taxes early, but the IRS mostly stops what it’s doing to process stimulus checks, your total might come out based on 2019’s adjusted gross income, not 2020’s, as intended.

If you get a partial check, you’ll have to wait for the rest. That may take a while

There are several reasons the IRS could owe you stimulus money for the third round of checks. Maybe the agency processed your 2019 tax return instead of 2020 and there was a discrepancy. Or you had a baby in 2020 you still need to claim as a dependent. Or a clerical error accidentally left out a new dependent. Maybe your payment never arrived or was accidentally garnished.

Whatever the reason, the IRS may provide a way to file for missing stimulus money before the Dec. 31 deadline. If not, you might have to wait a year to claim it, until you file your 2021 taxes in 2022 (even if you’re a nonfiler who isn’t typically required to file taxes).

You might be able to avoid a delay by doing these things now

While you don’t honestly have much control over the situation, there may be a few things you can do to help speed up receipt of a third payment. For example, sign up for direct deposit with the IRS when you submit your 2020 tax return.

If you already have an account, make sure your details are correct. If you’ve moved recently, tell the IRS and USPS.

There are more stimulus check details for these groups

Stimulus checks aren’t necessarily a one-size-fits-all situation. Here are additional guides for: