COVID-19 Stimulus Check Error Messages: What Do They Mean?

covid-19 stimulus check error message

Getty Some people are getting an error message when they try to get their COVID-19 economic stimulus check.

Some people still haven’t gotten their COVID-19 stimulus check, and when they try to use the IRS Get My Payment tool, they get error messages. What can this mean?

The IRS explains that it makes changes to your payment status “no more than once per day.” Thus, if you get an error message, try again the next day. According to the IRS, Get My Payment is supposed to show one of these three categories:

Payment status: This means either that “a payment has been processed, a payment date is available, and payment is to be sent either by direct deposit or mail” or that you “are eligible, but a payment has not been processed and a payment date is not available,” according to the IRS.

Need More Information: This means you’re eligible for a stimulus check, but the IRS doesn’t have your direct deposit information. “You will be given the opportunity to provide your bank information once you have properly verified your identity,” the IRS says. “Direct Deposit is the fastest way to get your EIP.”

Payment Status Not Available: This means that the IRS “cannot determine your eligibility for a payment at this time. For example, you didn’t file either a 2018 or 2019 tax return, or you recently filed and the return has not been fully processed.”

Don’t try to call the IRS about your stimulus check because you’ll get an automated message.

Here’s a list of reasons you might not have gotten your stimulus check. Here’s a list of steps you can try if you still haven’t gotten your check.

Here are more details on the above and other error messages:


What Does the ‘Payment Status Not Available’ Error Message Mean in More Detail?

stimulus checks veterans

Getty Stimulus checks have started going out.

The IRS reports that the Get My Payment application will return “Payment Status Not Available” for several reasons, including:

  • You are required to file a tax return, but the IRS hasn’t finished processing your 2019 return.
  • The application doesn’t yet have your data.
  • You don’t usually file a return, and you used the Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info Here tab but the IRS hasn’t processed your entry yet.
  • You’re not eligible for a payment (see Eligibility).
  • According to the IRS, if you receive “Payment Status Not Available,” you will “not be able to provide direct deposit information at this time. We’re working on updates to allow more people to use this feature.”


    What Does it Mean When Get My Payment Says, “Please Try Again Later”?

    stimulus checks pending

    GettySome stimulus checks were listed as pending.

    According to the IRS, this means that “your account has been locked.” Why? It could be for these reasons, the IRS says:

  • Information you entered does not match the IRS records. For security reasons, the IRS limits “each user to three failed attempts per 24-hour period.”
  • You have already accessed the system the maximum number of times within 24 hours. According to the IRS,”we limit each user to five logins per day to manage system capacity.”

    The IRS notes: “You will able to access the application after 24 hours have passed. Please do not contact the IRS.”


    Why Am I Receiving an Error Message When I Try to Enter My Personal or Tax Information?

    Photo by Andrew Milligan – WPA Pool/Getty ImagesTechnicians scan test tubes containing live samples.

    The IRS has provided some tips to make sure you’re entering this information correctly, hopefully reducing the chances of error messages. “If the information you enter does not match our records, you will receive an error message. Check the information requested to ensure you entered it accurately,” the IRS suggests.

    It’s critical that you enter your information exactly as it appears on your most recent tax return. The IRS suggests checking how you’re entering your street address versus how it appears on your tax returns. It must be exactly the same. For example, 123 N Main St is different than 123 North Main St, according to the IRS, so check abbreviations.

    “You may also verify how your address is formatted with the US Postal Service (USPS) by entering your address in the USPS ZIP Lookup tool, and then enter your address into Get My Payment exactly as it appears on file with USPS,” the IRS suggested.

    In addition, you could receive an error when trying to enter numbers for things like your Adjusted Gross Income (AGI), refund amount, or amount you owed. The IRS says you should “make sure you are entering the numbers exactly as they appear on your Form 1040 or tax transcript. If the numbers from your 2019 tax return are not accepted, try the numbers from your 2018 tax return instead.”


    Why Can’t I Get My Payment Status?

    stimulus checks debt

    GettyPresident Trump with the Treasury Secretary.

    To use Get My Payment, “you must first verify your identity by answering security questions,” the IRS advises.

    “If the information you enter does not match our records multiple times, you will be locked out of Get My Payment for 24 hours for security reasons. If you are unable to verify your identity, you will not be able to use Get My Payment. No action is needed to contact the IRS.”

    The IRS notes again that, if you verified your identity and received “Payment Status Not Available,” this means “we cannot determine your eligibility for a payment at this time. This may occur for a variety of reasons, for example, if you didn’t file either a 2018 or 2019 tax return or you recently filed and the return has not been fully processed.”

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