Stimulus Payment: How to Know If You're Getting a Paper Check or Direct Deposit

More than 80 million Americans are estimated to have already received their coronavirus stimulus checks, but for the tens of millions of others still waiting, plenty of questions remain. With the payouts, which are part of the $2 trillion CARES Act signed by President Donald Trump in late March, being sent out by both direct deposit and mail, many have been left wondering whether they should be checking their bank account or their mailbox.

According to Business Insider, those who filed a 2018 or 2019 tax return and got a tax refund via direct deposit will receive their payment via direct deposit to the same account where the refund was received. In the case that the bank account used is now closed, the payment will bounce back to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), which will then send a paper check in the mail to the address listed on your latest tax return or change-of-address filed with the US Postal Service. Paper checks will also be sent to those citizens whom the IRS does not have current bank information for.

Americans who receive Social Security retirement or disability benefits, Railroad Retirement benefits, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), or Veterans Affairs (VA) benefits will get their stimulus relief money the same way the same way they typically get paid, whether by direct deposit, Direct Express, or mail.

For those who do not typically file taxes and do not receive federal benefits, meaning their information is not on file with the IRS, it is requested that you access the non-filers tool on the IRS website. The tool allows you to input crucial information that will allow the IRS to send you your payment. The tool will allow users to enter their banking information to receive their payment via direct deposit.

The IRS has also launched the "Get My Payment" tool. This tool allows Americans to not only track the status of their payment, but also enter their banking information to receive direct deposit. Some users have encountered a "payment status not available" error message, but the IRS has since made "significant enhancements" to the tool.


Receiving your coronavirus payout via direct deposit will be faster than waiting to receive a paper check in the mail. The IRS is anticipated to send out 5 million checks over week based on adjusted gross income levels. The last round of checks are not expected to be mailed until Sept. 11, meaning that some Americans could be waiting months to see their stimulus payout.