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For many, it’s stimulus check payday in America. But for others hoping to track the status of their payments and potentially receive them earlier, technology is proving a terror.
Tens of millions of Americans this week are expected to receive their coronavirus stimulus checks, perhaps the most high-profile aspect of the government’s $2.2 trillion aid package designed to help households and businesses get through the current economic lockdown. Front of the line are those who have their direct deposit information on file with the Internal Revenue Service, which allows the government to send the money (up to $1,200 per person, depending on income) directly into their bank accounts.
For those who haven’t provided such information to the government, and who don’t want to wait (potentially up to several months) to receive their stimulus checks in the mail, the IRS launched its new Get My Payment portal on Wednesday morning. The website is supposed to allow people to submit their banking information to the IRS so that they can receive their stimulus payments via direct deposit, and also give them a means of tracking the status of their payment
But already, the portal’s rollout has proven problematic, as users trying to access Get My Payment have encountered myriad difficulties over the course of the day. Some were unable to access the portal, or experienced wait times, due to “high demand” that effectively stopped the site in its tracks, particularly earlier in the day.
But more worrisome have been “Payment Status Not Available” messages received by many who have entered their personal information into the portal, only to be told that the IRS “cannot determine your eligibility for a payment at this time.” Others were told to “Please Try Again Later,” and told that either their tax information did not match what’s on file or that they had already exceeded the maximum number of log-ins and should try again in 24 hours.
One Fortune reader, Michael Lowe of Seattle, Wash., wrote in to describe his difficult experience with the Get My Payment portal. After experiencing wait times to access the site, Lowe says he finally got around to filling in his direct deposit information—only to receive a notice that the site was experiencing “technical difficulties,” and that he should try again later.
“After this occurred eight or so times… the page came up and said I’ve exceeded my amount of log-ins for the day [and to] try again tomorrow,” says Lowe.
Other users have complained of similar issues and complications, such as logging into their bank accounts and finding notice of a pending withdrawal, rather than a deposit, from the IRS, or receiving security alerts from their banks notifying them of “unusual activity” on their accounts. By Wednesday afternoon, social media was so awash with complaints that the phrase “Payment Status Not Available” was trending on Twitter.
Despite evidence of these technical challenges, the IRS disputed any such difficulties in a statement on Wednesday afternoon—claiming that the Get My Payment site is “operating smoothly and effectively.” The agency added that as of “mid-day,” more than 6.2 million taxpayers had successfully accessed their payment status and nearly 1.1 million had provided their direct deposit banking information.
More personal finance coverage from Fortune:
—Here’s how to check the status of your IRS stimulus check
—How people are planning to spend their stimulus checks
—Excited to get your hands on that stimulus check? So are scammers
—How people are planning to spend their stimulus check money
—What to do if you can’t pay your bills this month
—No, you don’t have to pay back your stimulus check money
—When will stimulus checks be direct deposited or mailed? Ensure yours isn’t delayed
Paycheck Protection Program loans. What you need to know
—The IRS launched portal to get your stimulus check if you don’t file taxes
—Listen to Leadership Next, a Fortune podcast examining the evolving role of CEO
—VIDEO: 401(k) withdrawal penalties waived for anyone hurt by COVID-19
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