Where's My Paper Stimulus Check? Some People May Have to Wait Until September

The IRS is reportedly sending out 5 million paper checks per week. At that pace, some checks might not arrive for months.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

If your stimulus payment isn't deposited directly into your bank account, the IRS will send you a paper check in the mail. They've already started sending out paper checks, so you could get your check at any time now. However, the IRS can only send out a certain number of checks at a time—estimated to be about 5 million per week. That means that it's going to take a while for them to crank out a paper check for the tens of millions of Americans who are scheduled to get one in their mailbox.

Expected Mailing Schedule for Paper Stimulus Checks

The IRS's plan is to first get paper stimulus checks to the people who need them the most. As a result, the lower your income, the sooner you'll get your money. That also means that people with higher incomes will get their check later—if they get one at all. (For taxpayers without children, stimulus check amounts are reduced to zero for single taxpayers with adjusted gross income above $99,000, head-of-household filers with AGI above $136,500, and joint filers with AGI above $198,000.)

Here's the estimated timetable for mailing paper stimulus checks:

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Estimated IRS Schedule For Mailing Paper Checks

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Taxpayer IncomeDate Check Mailed
$0 to $10,000April 24
$10,001 to $20,000May 1
$20,001 to $30,000May 8
$30,001 to $40,000May 15
$40,001 to $50,000May 22
$50,001 to $60,000May 29
$60,001 to $70,000June 5
$70,001 to $80,000June 12
$80,001 to $90,000June 19
$90,001 to $100,000June 26
$100,001 to $110,000July 3
$110,001 to $120,000July 10
$120,001 to $130,000July 17
$130,001 to $140,000July 24
$140,001 to $150,000July 31
$150,001 to $160,000August 7
$160,001 to $170,000August 14
$170,001 to $180,000August 21
$180,001 to $190,000August 28
$190,001 to $200,000September 4
All OthersSeptember 11

People Who Receive Social Security or Other Government Benefits

The IRS has already started mailing stimulus checks to people receiving Social Security or Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) benefits. Unless you filed a tax return for 2018 or 2019, the IRS will use information from the Social Security Administration (or RRB) to calculate your payment and automatically deliver a payment to you. These non-filers will receive their payment by direct deposit, debit card or paper check—whichever way they normally receive government benefits.

Similar rules apply to people receiving veterans' benefits or Supplemental Security Income (SSI); however, payments won't go out to these people until mid-May if they didn't file a 2018 or 2019 tax return.

Signing Up for Direct Deposit

You are already scheduled to get an electronic payment if you signed up for direct deposit of a refund on your 2018 or 2019 tax return. In most other cases, you're probably scheduled to get a paper check.

However, if you're currently slated to receive a paper check, you still might be able to sign up for direct deposit (which in most cases means you'll get your money much faster). If you filed a 2018 or 2019 federal income tax return but didn't sign up for direct deposit (or didn't get a refund), go to the IRS's "Get My Payment" portal (opens in new tab) and see if it isn't too late to provide your bank account information to get an electronic payment. However, you might be out of luck if you don't do this before noon on May 13. (For more information, see Where's My Stimulus Check? Use the IRS's "Get My Payment" Portal to Find Out.)

If you're not required to file a tax return, go to the IRS's "Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info Here" tool (opens in new tab) to supply the IRS with the information it needs to process your payment. You generally don't need to use the non-filers tool if you receive any of the government benefits listed above. (For more information, see How to Get a Stimulus Check if You Don't File a Tax Return.)

Rocky Mengle
Senior Tax Editor, Kiplinger.com

Rocky is a Senior Tax Editor for Kiplinger with more than 20 years of experience covering federal and state tax developments. Before coming to Kiplinger, he worked for Wolters Kluwer Tax & Accounting and Kleinrock Publishing, where he provided breaking news and guidance for CPAs, tax attorneys, and other tax professionals. He has also been quoted as an expert by USA Today, Forbes, U.S. News & World Report, Reuters, Accounting Today, and other media outlets. Rocky has a law degree from the University of Connecticut and a B.A. in History from Salisbury University.