More stimulus checks sent in the mail. 2 ways to track yours through the USPS

Stimulus check or junk mail? Know what to look for so you don’t toss your new payment in the trash.

Angela Lang/CNET

If you’re expecting your stimulus payment of $1,400 to arrive in the mail, it could be among one of the two million paper checks the IRS said it’s sending out to eligible people this week. We’ll tell you what to look for so you don’t accidentally throw your new stimulus check away, as well as how to track your money through the mail using a free service offered by the USPS.

Those who receive Social Security benefits, including SSI and SSDI recipients, are included in the mailed payments this time if they don’t have a Direct Express card. The IRS tracking tool is a great place to get initial information before signing up for the free service — more details on how to do that below. Veterans who don’t file taxes are on a different schedule.

We’ll tell you the different ways for hunting down your third stimulus payment if you haven’t gotten it yet — including when you need to file a payment trace. Here are some issues that could hold up check delivery and how to report a problem, plus a refresher on who qualifies for a payment. (By the way, here’s what we know so far about a fourth stimulus check, and here’s more info about child tax credit payments and qualifications.) This story was recently updated.

Begin here first: Use the IRS Get My Payment tool

The IRS has its own stimulus check tracker tool, which contains information about your payment schedule, when your money will arrive and how, and if there’s been an error processing your payment. The IRS tool is called Get My Payment, and it can be useful if you’re not sure if you’re actually eligible — or if you just want to make sure the IRS knows you are. 

A downside to Get My Payment is that it doesn’t give you an exact date, however, for when to expect your funds to arrive at your doorstep. That’s where a free USPS service comes in. Since many stimulus checks will be arriving via snail mail after March 24, a service called Informed Delivery will be the next step for tracking your stimulus check. Read on for how to use the USPS service to monitor your payment’s arrival in the mail. And here’s how to tell the IRS and USPS if you’ve moved.

Next, use the USPS Informed Delivery service to track the money to your mailbox (sign-up details below)

Informed Delivery is a free mail-tracking service from the USPS that automatically scans your letters and can alert you with an image each time a letter with your name on it is about to be delivered — such as your third stimulus payment. 

When the USPS runs mailed letters through its automated mail sorting equipment, it automatically creates a digital image of the front of all letter-size mail. Anyone who signs up for Informed Delivery can access the information by asking the USPS to notify you when each piece of mail with your name on it is on the way. Note that it can take three days to activate your account.

As part of the program, you’ll receive an email each morning, Monday through Saturday, to notify you of any mail being delivered to you. You’ll also see a grayscale image of the front of the letter. Informed Delivery has free apps for Android and iPhone you can also use. 

Just be aware that signing up means you’ll see all your mail that’s scanned by the post office, not just your stimulus check. You can cancel the service at any time. See the last section for details on how to sign up for Informed Delivery.


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What does the new stimulus check look like?

Paper checks will be in a white envelope from the US Department of the Treasury and will be labeled as an Economic Impact Payment in the memo field, according to the IRS. Here’s what the check will look like, so you know it’s legitimate. You have one year to use it.

United States Treasury economic impact stimulus checks

This is what the new paper stimulus check will look like.

What does the prepaid EIP debit card look like this time?

EIP cards arrive in a white envelope with a seal from the Department of the Treasury. Inside is a Visa card with the issuing bank listed as MetaBank, N.A. — that information is displayed on the back. There’ll be literature included with the card that’ll explain it’s an Economic Impact Payment. Note that people who receive Social Security benefits aren’t expected to get an EIP card.


This is what to look for if you’re mailed an EIP card.


How to sign up for USPS Informed Delivery to track your stimulus payment

Informed Delivery has some limitations. For example, it will work with many residential and personal post office box addresses but not businesses. It also won’t work for some residential buildings where the postal service hasn’t yet identified each unit. 

To check whether Informed Delivery is available in your area, head to the Postal Service’s Informed Delivery page.

1. Tap Sign Up for Free.

2. Enter your mailing address and confirm it’ll work with the service; then accept the terms and conditions and tap Continue

3. On the next page, choose your username, password and security questions. Then, enter your contact information and tap Continue.

4. On the next page, you’ll need to verify your identity. Tap Verify identity online if you want to receive a verification code on your phone or tap Request invitation code by mail if you want USPS to mail you a code. You may also have the option to visit a post office to verify your identity in person.

For more details, here’s how to calculate how much you’ll get, everything you need to know about the third stimulus check and when you can expect your payment to arrive in your bank account or by mail. Here are three ways the stimulus bill can bring you more money, and all the tax breaks you could receive.

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