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Originally Published: Mar 10, 2021
Originally Published: Mar 10, 2021 Last Updated: Mar 11, 2021 6 min read
Photograph of a hand holding a United States Treasury Check on a colored background
Money; Shutterstock

UPDATE: President Joe Biden signed the American Rescue Plan into law on Thursday. People who qualify for stimulus checks could "start seeing direct deposits hit their bank accounts as early as this weekend," according to White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki.

The third stimulus check is finally on its way to the White House — and, soon, your wallet.

The House of Representatives on Wednesday passed the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, just days after the Senate approved a round of $1,400 Economic Impact Payments to help people through the coronavirus crisis. President Joe Biden is expected to sign the package into law on Friday in order to meet a Saturday deadline linked to unemployment benefits.

The only question now is, how soon can you expect to get your third stimulus check?

Like with the previous two EIPs, the government will again depend on the IRS to distribute the payments. But this is the first time it'll occur under Biden's leadership. To that end, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said in a Monday news conference that Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen is "focused like a laser on ensuring that there's a clear process and system for ensuring this assistance gets out as quickly as possible," though the "mechanics of it" are unclear.

Here's what we know so far about the third stimulus check timeline.

How long will the third stimulus check take to reach you?

The American Rescue Plan directs Yellen to "rapidly" distribute the payments before a deadline of Dec. 31, 2021. But you'll likely get paid well before then.

The best way to predict the third stimulus check drop date is probably to look to the past. The IRS was arguably caught off-guard last spring when the first round of direct payments passed. The CARES Act was signed March 27, but the IRS didn't start sending deposits until the week of April 13. The agency had to scramble to distribute the $1,200 payments, and rollout was turbulent.

Many of the glitches were corrected the second time around. The $600 stimulus check went out a lot faster: Then-President Donald Trump approved it Dec. 27, and the IRS began sending payments two days later. The official payment date was Jan. 4. By Feb. 16, some 147 million had been delivered.

This indicates the third stimulus check can, and will, reach people relatively quickly. Psaki told reporters that "a large number of Americans" can expect aid "by the end of the month."

Of course, we're also in the middle of tax season. The IRS will use information from your 2019 or 2020 tax return to calculate your stimulus check. Americans who make $75,000 or less, heads of household who make $112,500 or less, and couples who make $150,000 or less will receive $1,400 per person. Unlike in previous rounds, college students and adult dependents are eligible for the full payment.

As a reminder, the amount decreases as your income level climbs, and it'll phase out fast. If you earn $80,000 (or $160,000 with your partner), you won't get a check.

How to track your third stimulus check

In the past, the first people to receive their EIPs were those who had direct deposit information on file with the IRS. Otherwise, the government had to resort to snail-mailing paper checks and debit cards — a lengthier process subject to delays.

This will be true for the third payment, too. Make sure the IRS knows your direct deposit information and current adjusted gross income.

From there, you can use the IRS's Get My Payment tool to find out where your payment is.

Enter your Social Security Number, date of birth, street address and zip code. The tool should then show the status of your first, second and third payments, including when they were scheduled to be deposited and which bank account they went to. (If you get a "Payment Status Not Available" message, it means the IRS doesn't "have enough information to issue you a payment or you weren’t eligible for a payment.")

In January, Get My Payment temporarily went offline for maintenance as the IRS loaded in data about the second stimulus payment. This will likely happen again with the third payment, so don't panic.

Another tip: Be patient. The tool refreshes once a day, typically overnight. It can be tempting to reload it over and over, but if you check more than five times a day, you'll get locked out.

Your best bet is to wait and see what happens. Failing that, you can call the IRS at 1-800-919-9835. And as a last resort, you can always rectify stimulus problems by claiming the Recovery Rebate Credit on your future taxes.

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