DEAR SUN SPOTS: I always read your column and it’s amazing what I have learned from it and the help it has been on many occasions.

I wanted to let Claire, whose letter was in your Jan. 19 column, know that I also received my $600 stimulus check in the US mail inside an unsealed (never having been moistened) envelope. It’s a miracle it ever reached me in that condition.

I really have to sympathize with all who do not have access to, or the training to operate the computer to pursue this problem, as I do not. Good luck to anyone trying to trace a lost check. — Virginia, Paris

ANSWER: If you haven’t received your stimulus payment yet and do use a computer, here are steps you can take. Go to This is a great article written by Sarah Tew for CNET with tons of useful information about getting your stimulus payments.

In summary, if you never got your money or a confirmation letter from the IRS that your first payment was sent, you may have to file for a Recovery Rebate Credit with your 2020 taxes.  You’ll use the 2020 Form 1040 or 1040-SR to claim a catch-up payment. You can obtain a Recovery Rebate Credit Worksheet from the IRS to help you work out if you’re missing a payment.

If you don’t usually file taxes, you’ll likely need to file this year to receive your missing stimulus money. Be sure to save your IRS letter if you received one (Notice 1444 and/or1444-B– Your Economic Impact Payment) with your 2020 tax records, as you’ll need it to file the claim.

You’ll want to file for the Recovery Rebate Credit if: you received a confirmation letter from the IRS that your payment was sent, but you didn’t get the funds; you think you accidentally threw a prepaid EIP debit card or the check in the trash; you suspect someone stole your check or otherwise defrauded you; or you have reason to believe it was lost in the mail.

You can request an IRS Payment Trace if you received the confirmation letter from the IRS that your payment was sent (Notice 1444-B). If you don’t have a computer and have someone in your circle that you trust, have them use their skills to help you create an account on and use the Get My Payment tool. There you will find if your payment was issued.

If you’re missing all or part of what the IRS owes you with your first or second stimulus check, you’ll have to wait until after Feb. 12 to file your taxes and claim the rebate. You can, however, begin to prepare now, by learning what you need to know and gathering your necessary documents. That applies as well to people who aren’t normally required to file taxes.

Unfortunately, using a computer is the way the IRS wants you to set up a payment trace. There is no telephone number to call for more information.

I wish I could wave my magic wand to cause the money owed to you to appear, but sadly, I do not.

This column is for you, our readers. It is for your questions and comments. There are only two rules: You must write to the column and sign your name. We won’t use it if you ask us not to. Please include your phone number. Letters will not be returned or answered by mail, and telephone calls will not be accepted. Your letters will appear as quickly as space allows. Address them to Sun Spots, P.O. Box 4400, Lewiston, ME 04243-4400. Inquiries can also be emailed to [email protected].



Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: