Get notified the day your stimulus check arrives in the mail. Here’s how


With Informed Delivery, you can see when your stimulus check has been mailed.


Angela Lang/CNET

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If you’re craning your neck every time to mail carrier walks by, you can make it easier to predict when your stimulus check will turn up. The US Postal Service can save you some time and anguish with a free service that will share you a digital image of your actual check-containing envelope and even alert you when your payment is in transit. 

The free service, called Informed Delivery, does have some limitations, so you might prefer to start by tracking your payment through the online IRS portal first. This should give you a ballpark estimate of when your payment will arrive. After that, Informed Delivery verifies that the check has in fact been processed by the USPS and is on its way. 

A word before you begin. If you’re using the IRS’ online tracking tool, which is called Get My Payment (remember, this is separate from the USPS service), there’s a chance you could run into trouble, like an error message that’s hard to discern or issues identifying who you are. If you do, here are 12 possible explanations for what’s going on and how you might be able to work around them. 

If you’re starting to get nervous, here are nine reasons why you may not have received your stimulus check yet. And if you’re hearing chatter about another economic relief bill, here’s what we know about the possibility of a second round of stimulus checks.

How do I know if I’m getting my stimulus check in the mail?

At this point, you’re more likely to receive your money in the mail than in your bank account. That’s because the IRS deadline to provide your direct deposit information passed on May 13. 

The federal revenue agency said it is now turning it attention to sending payments in the mail through the post office — either as a paper check or as a prepaid debit card called the economic impact payment, or EIP, card. Read on to track your payment envelope in the mail.

Make sure you’re eligible for Informed Delivery

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. 

The service is available to many residential and personal PO box addresses but not businesses. It also won’t work for some multiunit buildings where the Postal Service hasn’t yet identified each unit.

Here’s how to check whether it’s available in your area:

1. Head to the Postal Service’s Informed Delivery page and tap the Sign Up for Free button.

2. Enter your mailing address, and tap Continue

If the service is available, you can continue to set up an account.


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Set up the Informed Delivery service

If you’re eligible, here’s how to set up your account.

1. On the Postal Service’s Informed Delivery page, if you haven’t yet, tap Sign Up for Free.

2. After you enter your mailing address and confirm it’s in the service, accept the terms and conditions and tap Continue

3. On the next page, choose your username, password and security questions; enter your contact information; and then 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 a code to you. If neither method works for you, may also be given the option to visit a post office to verify your identity in person.


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How to see what’s coming in the mail 

The IRS said 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.

For more on ordering and receiving packages during the coronavirus pandemic, here’s how to find household goods when Amazon and other online stores are out of stock, how to order beer and wine online, and how long the virus can survive on packages.



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