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Biden’s stimulus relief pays out a total of $325 billion, but some are left out

Nearly 15 million paper checks and 5 million debit card will be distributed this time around. But many Social Security and other federal beneficiaries are not included.

The Internal Revenue Service said in the initial distribution of the third round of direct deposit stimulus payments will officially be available on March 17. However, others will be getting either a check or prepaid debit card. (IRS)

This story has been updated with new information made available by the IRS and Treasury Department.

The Treasury and the IRS say to start watching your bank accounts and the mail because a second batch of stimulus payments totaling $83 billion is due to start arriving this week.

In this second distribution, a large number of payments also will be mailed in the form of a check or prepaid debit card, which will be identified as an economic impact payment or EIP card.

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“We urge people to carefully watch their mail for a check or debit card in the coming weeks,” said IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig.

With a payment date of March 24, the IRS is making approximately 17 million direct deposits with a value of more than $38 billion. About 15 million checks worth nearly $34 billion and 5 million debit cards totally about $11 billion will be mailed, the IRS and Treasury announced on Wednesday.

The payments began processing last Friday. Checks and debit cards will continue to be sent by mail over the next few weeks, the IRS and Treasury said in a press release.

The American Rescue Plan provides for stimulus payments of up to $1,400 for eligible individuals and $2,800 for couples filing a joint return. Dependents regardless of age also receive $1,400. In total, about 127 million payments worth $325 billion have already been disbursed in the third round of stimulus payments.

What’s unclear is the timing of stimulus relief payments to some people who receive federal benefits such as Social Security retirement or Supplemental Security Income (SSI). As with previous rounds, their payments are sent automatically. However, many people are complaining on social media that they were not included in these initial distributions of payments.

The Social Security Administration (SSA) addressed concerns from people worried about when they will get their stimulus payments.

“The IRS, not #SocialSecurity, sends all economic impact payments,” the agency tweeted on Monday. “Unfortunately, our telephone representatives and social media team cannot answer your specific situation about payments.”

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The IRS said in a statement it is working with the Social Security Administration, the Railroad Retirement Board and Veterans Affairs to obtain updated 2021 information for recipients.

“Federal benefits recipients who filed a tax return in 2020 or 2019 or who used the Non-Filers tool to register last year are automatically receiving EIP3 payments if they’re eligible,” Treasury officials said in an email.

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Federal recipients who don’t fall into those categories are seeing a delay in receiving an economic impact payment.

“For those who don’t normally file a tax return or didn’t use the Non-Filers tool on last year, the IRS is working to receive updated information for those receiving SSA, VA, RRB, or SSI benefits to determine eligibility for EIP3,” Treasury said.

More information about when these payments will be made will be provided on as soon as it becomes available, the IRS said.

“We’re not overly concerned yet,” said David Certner, AARP’s legislative counsel. “We know the IRS is trying to get these checks out as quickly as possible. But obviously, if this goes on a little bit longer, then we will certainly want to reach out to them.”

Recipients should receive their $1,400 automatically by direct deposit, Direct Express debit card, or check, just as they would typically receive their benefits — although this was not always the case in the first or second round of stimulus payments. It’s possible those who have their payments delivered by direct deposit will instead get a check or an EIP debit card.

The initial wave of economic-impact payments arrived mostly by direct deposit with an official payment date of March 17. However, some financial institutions decided to make the money available sooner, according to Nacha, the organization that governs the Automated Clearing House (ACH) Network.

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In this second batch, some financial institutions may have already advanced the money to customers, while others will wait to release the stimulus funds once the Treasury Department transfers the money to them on March 24.

“The IRS is sending a second wave of direct deposits with an official payment date of Wednesday, March 24,” said Mike Herd, senior vice president of ACH Network Administration at Nacha. “That is the actual day that the IRS will provide the funds to banks and credit unions. There is no delay with the payments. The funds are being made available on March 24 exactly as instructed by the IRS.”

You can check the status of your stimulus payment by using the “Get My Payment” tool at, which is available in English and Spanish.