Tracking COVID Stimulus Checks: What You Should Know

If your money doesn’t show up via direct deposit, you’re urged to watch your mail closely this month for either a paper check or a prepaid debit card

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Kathleen Quinlan of Haverhill, Massachusetts, did not receive any money in the first round of stimulus payments. 

“I knew I qualified,” she said, “and could not understand why I wasn’t getting the check.”

She eventually learned it was because of the delayed processing of her 2019 tax return.

“I did reach the IRS,” said Quinlan. “They had ended up using my 2018 tax return. I didn’t qualify because I was still working in 2018. My income way over the limit of getting a stimulus check.” 

This time around, stimulus checks may also be delayed for taxpayers who used refund transfer services, where a temporary bank account was established in their name when their 2019 tax return was filed. 

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“It created a routing number and an account number that was provided to the IRS in processing your tax return,” says CPA Trish Gormican with Gormican P.C. in Wellesley. “So, when the IRS is going now to send you a stimulus payment to an account that closed, they get rejected and it goes back to the IRS.”

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An update posted Friday to the IRS website said that, if the second economic impact payment was sent to a temporary account that is closed or is no longer active, “the IRS and tax industry partners are taking immediate steps to redirect stimulus payments to the correct account for those affected.” 

If your money doesn’t show up via direct deposit, you’re urged to watch your mail closely this month for either a paper check or a prepaid debit card. 

The economic impact payment cards are blue with stars and the Visa logo on the front. They will arrive in a plain white envelope with a U.S. Department of the Treasury seal, so be careful not to throw it away!

And according to the IRS, the form of payment for the second stimulus payment may be different than the first. So if you received a paper check the last time, you might receive a prepaid debit card this time, and vice versa. 

If you don’t receive your economic impact payment, you can claim the Recovery Rebate Credit on your 2020 tax return.

“We had one client [whose] banking information was actually incorrect,” said Gormican. “He had given it to us and it was missing a digit. He missed out on both stimuluses. In order for him to obtain his money, when we go ahead to do his 2020 tax return, we’ll input the information for the credit there and hopefully it will process within his 2020 tax return.”

If you have questions the IRS says don’t call them, instead go to their website at, where they have posted extensive information about the stimulus payments. 

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