Economic impact payments, or EIP, are now reaching 127 million individuals. This is the third EIP that was just authorized (March 11) by the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. There are some changes from the first two EIPs.

To receive a full ($1,400) or partial EIP, you cannot make more than $80,000 adjusted gross income (AGI) — $160,000 if married filing jointly. The first and second EIPs were less strict (EIP1: $99,000 individual/$198,000 married filing jointly; EIP2: $87,000 individual/$174,000 married filing jointly, with both EIPs having possible adjustments to the amounts based on qualifying children).

Your third economic impact payment (EIP3) might arrive by direct deposit to your bank account or by mail. I heard from a reader who checked her bank account on March 24 to find a $1,400 deposit. She then checked the IRS tool “Get My Payment” at, which confirmed the deposit. The tool does not report EIP1 and EIP2 payments.

If the IRS is mailing your EIP3 to you, you may get a check or a prepaid debit card (Economic Impact Payment Card, or EIP Card).

According to the IRS, paper checks will arrive in a white envelope from the U.S. Department of the Treasury. The check will look similar to a tax refund that arrives by mail, but this version will have “Economic Impact Payment” in the memo field.

Checks are easily identified as EIPs. Not so with the EIP Card. The EIP Card will arrive by mail in a white envelope that has a U.S. Department of the Treasury seal. The EIP Card inside will be a Visa debit card with the name MetaBank (the issuing bank) on the back. If you want to see what the check and the card look like, go to

Before you can use the card, you’ll need to activate it. You’ll find instructions in the envelope. After you activate the card, you can check your balance online, by phone (800-240-8100) or through a mobile app (the Money Network Mobile App, found at the App Store or on Google Play). For information, see

If, by chance, you did not receive the first two EIPs, or got less than the full amount, all is not lost. There is a procedure to apply for EIP1 and EIP2 through the 2020 Recovery Rebate Credit ( You will need to know how much you received for EIP1 (see IRS Notice 1444, which was already mailed to you by the IRS) and EIP2 (IRS Notice 1444-B, which you should receive in the mail shortly). You will need this information when you file a 2020 tax return to claim the credit. You can also create an online IRS account to look up EIP1 and EIP2. See It’s worth the effort.

You do not have to take action to receive EIP3. In order for the payment to reach you, the IRS relies on 2019 or 2020 tax returns filed or benefit records, such as Social Security retirement, survivor or disability benefits, Railroad Retirement benefits, Supplemental Security Income or Veterans Affairs benefits. If you don’t fall into these categories, and you did not register for the first EIP using the IRS Non-Filers tool in 2020, you will have to file a 2020 tax return. If you don’t have a Social Security number, but file a tax return with a taxpayer ID number, that will not suffice. The EIP is limited to people with Social Security numbers.

For more details on EIP3, see IRS Fact Sheet 2021-05 (

On another matter, if you are interested in the basics of estate planning, join me for a virtual presentation, “Financial Planning for Retirement III — Estate Plan.” It will be at 1 p.m. April 7 and is sponsored by the Greenwich (Connecticut) Library. To register, go to or contact Yang Wang, 203-622-7924,

Julie Jason, a personal money manager and author, can be reached at