As reported by cnet,

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


Angela Lang/CNET

In the just over two weeks since it started, the IRS has sent 79% of the stimulus check payments estimated to go out to Americans through direct deposit and mailed checks, according to the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. The Treasury Department said it’s mailing out out another 8 million payments using EIP debit cards, also sent through the postal service.

If you’ve checked your bank account and haven’t received your payment yet, it might be time to keep an eye on your mail box. The most effective way to do this is by starting with the IRS’ stimulus check tracker tool, which can give you a general idea of your payment schedule, how it’s arriving, your second stimulus check total and if there’s been a holdup or other error processing your check. Then, if your payment is coming in the mail, sign up for a free USPS service that show you when your mail — including your next stimulus check — has been scanned, when it’s in transit and when it’s been delivered.

Although the second stimulus checks are arriving faster this time around, there’s also a Jan. 15 cutoff date to receive your payment. If you don’t get it shortly after that date, you’ll have to file a claim during tax season to get your money, and that could affect your timeline to get your next check. (Here’s what to know about a third stimulus check.) We’ll walk you through how you can use the USPS service to monitor your stimulus payment in the mail. This story was recently updated.

How does the USPS’ Informed Delivery service work?

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 — including your second stimulus payment

Essentially, when the USPS runs mail through its automated mail sorting equipment, it creates a digital image of the front of all letter-size mail, and that includes your stimulus check. The Informed Delivery program uses this digitally captured information to notify you when each piece of mail is on the way.


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It can take three business days to activate your account after you set it up. Once it’s live, you will receive an email each morning, Monday through Saturday, if mail is scheduled to arrive, notifying you of mail that will be delivered, along with a grayscale image of the front of the letter. You can also use the free Android and iPhone Informed Delivery app to be notified.

Just be aware that it will show you all your documents scanned by the post office, not just your stimulus payment. You can cancel the service at any time. 

How do I know I’m getting a stimulus check in the mail instead of through my bank account?

If you didn’t already set up direct deposit with the IRS, this is the most likely outcome, as long as you’re eligible to receive a second stimulus check. The IRS has opened up its online tool to track your second check’s payment schedule, but will not activate the feature that will accept new direct deposit registrations.

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Is your stimulus check in there? You could already know before you ever take a look.


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How to set up Informed Delivery and track your mail

Informed Delivery is available to many residential and personal P.O. box addresses but not businesses. It also won’t work for some multiunit buildings where the Postal Service hasn’t yet identified each unit. To check whether it’s available in your area, head to the Postal Service’s Informed Delivery page and tap the Sign Up for Free button. Then enter your mailing address, and tap Continue. If the service is available, you can then set up an account.

After that, setting up your account is straightforward. 

1. On the Postal Service’s Informed Delivery page, tap Sign Up for Free.

2. After you enter your mailing address and confirm it’ll work with the service, you’ll need to 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 the Postal Service to mail you a code. If neither method works, you may also have the option to visit a post office to verify your identity in person.

For more stimulus check details, here’s how to calculate an estimate of your total, what we know about a third stimulus check and how some of your rights have changed for the better with a second stimulus check.



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