What the ‘Payment Status Not Available’ message means for your stimulus check

Allison Matyus

The Internal Service Revenue’s (IRS) stimulus check web portal went live on Wednesday, April 15 — but not without a slew of issues. 

The unlucky people who haven’t received a direct deposit from the government in their bank account yet resorted to trying to track their check status through the web portal. 

But many have reported getting an error message that reads “Payment status not available” after entering their information into the system, followed by “According to the information we have on file, we cannot determine your eligibility for a payment at this time.” 

The IRS says there could be several reasons for this error message:

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The IRS stimulus check tracker doesn’t have your data yet

Since we first published this article, the IRS has shed some light on why people are seeing the “Payment Status Not Available” error message.

The agency recently updated its Get My Payment FAQ to explain that some people’s information just isn’t in the system yet: “The application doesn’t yet have your data; we’re working on adding more data to allow more people to use it.”

Basically, the tool launched without every single person’s information on it, but the IRS is working as quickly as it can to update it. If you keep checking back every day, you’ll (hopefully) get an update on your stimulus check eventually — including where and when it was deposited or mailed.

You aren’t eligible for a stimulus check

One reason you could be receiving the Payment Status Not Available message is that you aren’t eligible to receive a stimulus check, according to the IRS FAQ page.

Individuals and couples who made up to $75,000 individually or $150,000 as a couple and have a Social Security number are eligible. If you make more than that, you might still be eligible for a lower amount than the full check, which is $1,200 for individuals and $2,400 for people who are married and filing jointly, along with $500 per child.

If you made more than $99,000 a year as an individual or $198,000 as a couple, you’re likely not eligible for the stimulus check at all.

Keep in mind, this is based on your adjusted gross income (AGI), which includes a number of deductions. You may want to refer back to your 2018 or 2019 tax return forms to determine your AGI and figure out whether or not you qualify for a stimulus check.

You entered the wrong information 

Whether you haven’t updated your address on file or you forgot your social security number, double-check to make sure your information is entirely correct, or you’ll get the error message. If you encounter the error message after too many failed tried you’ll be locked out of the system for 24 hours.

The IRS updates Get My Payment data once per day, overnight. If you gave the IRS your information through a tax return or by filling out the non-filers application, you can check back to see if you information has been added.

You didn’t file your taxes in 2018 or 2019

Another reason could be if you haven’t filed your taxes. If you’re required to file your taxes and haven’t filed for either 2018 or 2019, you should do so ASAP so you can receive your stimulus payment. 

The IRS recently created a dedicated website for non-filers to enter their direct deposit payment information. If you don’t regularly file taxes, or if you didn’t file taxes in 2018 or 2019, you’ll need to enter your information on that page.

You filed your taxes online using H&R Block, TurboTax, or Jackson Hewitt

According to The Washington Post, millions of people are facing issues receiving their stimulus money because of a glitch related to the most popular online tax filing services like H&R Block, TurboTax, or Jackson Hewitt.

There’s a frustrating reason for the delay: the tax filing companies typically receive your tax refund directly from the IRS, then distribute the money into your bank account after taking out their fees. Since they work as a middleman, there are reported cases where the IRS might not have your direct deposit information — so they don’t have it now to deposit your stimulus check.

You recently used the Non-Filers section of the web portal 

If you did recently use the dedicated website for non-filers, that could be delaying your check status as the processing for non-filers gets completed. 

You filed your taxes, but the IRS is still processing your tax return

If you recently filed either your 2018 or 2019 tax return, the IRS might still be processing it. Until it’s processed, the IRS won’t be able to determine your stimulus check eligibility and you’ll likely still see the “Payment Status Not Available” error message.

The tax agency says its workers are swamped between the normal crush of tax filings and by administering the stimulus checks, so processing will likely be slow.

The IRS says that it updates your payment status no more than once per day, so if you did recently file your taxes, you only need to check the Get My Payment tool daily to see if there are any updates.

You are an SSA, RRB Form 1099, SSI, or VA recipient 

The IRS says that they are “working with your agency to issue your payment; your information is not available in this app yet.”

Aside from people having problems with getting the error message, some have reported that the IRS sent their payment to the wrong bank account, according to USA Today. Others have said that a stimulus check was sent to a dead relative, according to Marketwatch.

When you are able to track your check’s status, also make sure to double-check that the last four digits of the account number listed are your bank account and not someone else’s. The IRS says to reach out to your bank for further help if the check was sent to the wrong account. 

If you haven’t gotten your check yet, don’t panic; the IRS said these payments will be available to Americans through the end of 2020.

Other problems with the IRS Get My Payment stimulus check tool

Some people who can get the IRS website working properly and don’t see the “Payment Status Not Available” message are still having issues receiving their stimulus check via direct deposit.

If the tool tells you that your stimulus check had been deposited on April 15, but the money hasn’t actually landed in your bank account, you’ll have to wait a bit for any answers.

The IRS should mail a letter to your most recent address on file to tell you where and how your stimulus check was deposited, though it will be sent up to 15 days after sending your payment. If there was an error in the deposit, like it being sent to the wrong bank account, you’ll likely find out via that letter.

That said, be on the lookout for fake letters, emails, or phone calls claiming to be from the IRS. The FTC put out a warning saying that fraudsters were using the confusion around the stimulus checks to scam people. If something seems fishy, it most likely is.

Can I call the IRS helpline to fix stimulus check problems?

Unfortunately, no. Tax season is already a busy time for the IRS in a normal year. During the coronavirus pandemic, the agency has been overloaded — so it’s asking taxpayers not to call for help.

“To protect the public and employees, and in compliance with orders of local health authorities around the country, certain IRS services such as live assistance on telephones, processing paper tax returns and responding to correspondence are extremely limited or suspended until further notice,” the IRS said in an April 10 statement.