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  • Biden authorized $1,400 stimulus checks by signing the American Rescue Plan on March 11.
  • Most federal benefits recipients will get their payments by April 7.
  • You can check the status of your payment using the IRS’s “Get My Payment” tool.
  • Calculate your third stimulus check payment »

The largest stimulus check of the pandemic is on its way.

President Joe Biden authorized $1,400 cash payments as part of the American Rescue Plan on March 11. The $1.9 trillion relief package also includes an enhanced child tax credit, expanded unemployment benefits, and food and housing assistance.

The vast majority of stimulus check recipients are receiving their money via direct deposit. By March 24, about 127 million payments had gone out, the IRS said. The latest batch included about 15 million paper checks and 5 million prepaid debit cards, which take longer to arrive.

With the previous two rounds of stimulus checks as precedent, the IRS is likely to deliver most payments to eligible Americans by mid-April. People whose latest tax return includes direct-deposit information will get theirs first.

A stimulus check is a non-taxable cash payment sent to qualifying Americans by direct deposit, check, or debit card. The money can be used however you want and does not need to be repaid to the government — even if you get too much.

Other names for stimulus checks include Economic Impact Payments and the Recovery Rebate Credit.

Where’s my stimulus check?

Here’s the expected timeline for delivery of stimulus checks, based on comments from the White House and the IRS, and previous rounds of payments:

  • March 12 to 15: The first wave of direct deposits hits bank accounts.
  • March 15 to 31: Direct deposits continue; checks are mailed.
  • April 1 to 15: Checks arrive; electronic payments arrive for federal benefits recipients

The Internal Revenue Service announced on Tuesday that it expects millions of people who receive federal benefits to get their third stimulus check in the next week. Most will be sent electronically, via direct deposit or loaded on an existing Direct Express card, and will arrive by April 7. Federal benefits recipients can expect to receive their stimulus payment the same way they normally get their benefits.

“The update today applies to Social Security retirement, survivor or disability (SSDI), Supplemental Security Income (SSI), and Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) beneficiaries who did not file a 2019 or 2020 tax return or did not use the Non-Filers tool,” the IRS said.

The IRS sends electronic payments to banks a few days before official payment dates. If you use Wells Fargo or JPMorgan Chase, you may see your deposit pending in your bank account but it won’t be available to spend until the official IRS payment date. Several smaller banks offer early direct deposit, which typically applies to your paycheck but may extend to stimulus checks.

You can check the status of your stimulus check using the IRS’s “Get My Payment” tool, which updates once a day. It will show you how your money is being sent, either direct deposit or through the mail (paper check or debit card). The tool will be available for federal benefits recipients beginning April 3.

If you get a “not available” status message, the IRS says you’re either not eligible for a third stimulus check or your payment hasn’t been processed yet. If you get a “need more information” message, you can enter your direct-deposit details to speed up your payment.

The nonpartisan Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy estimated that the stimulus checks would benefit more than 200 million adults and 80 million children. You need an adjusted gross income of $80,000 or less, or $160,000 if you’re married, to get at least a partial check.