While most states have begun the tenuous process of reopening after lockdown, the U.S. economy is on shaky ground. New unemployment claims have surpassed 38 million as those hunkered down at home eagerly await news of whether or not the HEROES Act will pass and provide a second, much-needed stimulus check. However, many of us are still waiting for the first stimulus check, which started arriving in early April.
If you didn’t set up direct deposit or it wasn't available to you, the Treasury Department should be sending it to you by check in the mail. But, what happens if it was sent to the wrong address? Crazier things have happened. In the process of moving, it is easy to forget to update your address. Or, perhaps you moved after you filed taxes. Whatever the reason, there are some ways to try and fix it and finally get your stimulus check. Just be warned, it is not the most straightforward process.
As of right now, there isn’t an official procedure for recovering lost stimulus payments, reports Forbes. There are some ways to navigate the situation, but they don’t have the same guarantees as a recovery plan put forth by the Internal Revenue Service.
First, a little sleuthing is necessary. If you filed taxes, you will need to check your most recent return to see which address they have on file. Next, you will want to review the status of your check. You can do that on the Internal Revenue Service’s website via a feature called “Get My Payment.” It is worth noting that, according to the IRS’ website, the “Get My Payment” feature will not allow you to change your address — it is only for seeing the status of your check. You can also use a free U.S. Postal service feature called “Informed Delivery” which sends you a picture of your mail as it's processed through the post office. This won’t work retroactively, but if there is a chance that your check hasn’t been sent yet, this would be another way of tracking it.
Once you’ve figured out the address on file and the status of your check, the real work begins.
If you have not yet filed your 2019 taxes
Good news! If you haven’t filed your 2019 taxes yet, you can either choose to set up a direct deposit to your bank account or put your current address in when you file. In order to receive the stimulus check, you must either file taxes for 2019 or submit a non-filer form to the IRS.
If you have already filed your taxes
Not as good of news. According to the Internal Revenue Service’s website, it will mail a letter with information about how and where the stimulus payment was made, which sounds super helpful. But it will be sent to the same address that is on file (which we’ve already established is the wrong address). Not the most helpful. One possible solution to recovering your check is to log on to the USPS website and request that your mail be forwarded to you from the old address.
If that is unsuccessful, creativity might be the way forward. A less orthodox move – but hey, you gotta do what you gotta do – you could also try contacting an old neighbor, your former landlord, or the people who now live at your old address. If any of them are able to find your check, they could forward it to you themselves. All the more reason to make friends with your neighbors.
If there is a second stimulus check
If you are unable to recover the first stimulus payment, it is still worth updating your address so that, should there be a second payment, it goes directly to you without the need for Nancy Drew-level detective work. Currently, the HEROES Act has passed through the Senate and is being negotiated in the House. House majority leader Mitch McConnell claims that the HEROES Act will not be approved without some serious revisions.