Is your stimulus check in the mail? 2 ways you can track it through USPS

Friday was the official deadline for the IRS and US Treasury to finish automatically sending the second stimulus checks, but if your payment snuck in under the Jan. 15 cutoff, you still might have a few days to get it. For some lucky folks, there could be a gap between when the IRS mailed your paper check or EIP debit card and when your stimulus payment of up to $600 per person will actually arrive in your mailbox. Failing that, you'll have to wait until tax-filing season next month to even begin to claim the stimulus money on your taxes.

To see if your check is on the way now, track your payment with one of two free government services. The first is through the IRS' stimulus check tracker tool, which can give you a glimpse into your payment schedule, how your money will arrive, your second stimulus check total and if there's been an error processing your check. (You can also trace your payment.)

Then, if you see your check is still coming in the mail, you can sign up for a free USPS service that shows you when your letters have been scanned, are in transit and have been delivered to your home. That includes your second stimulus check, of course. We'll walk you through how you can use the USPS service to monitor your payment's arrival in the mail. (P.S. Here's the latest proposal from President-elect Joe Biden for a third stimulus check.) This story updates often.

Informed Delivery: How it works and why you might want to use it

Informed Delivery is a free mail-tracking service from the USPS that automatically scans your letters and can alert you with an image each time a letter with your name on it is about to be delivered -- this includes, of course, your second stimulus payment.

When the USPS runs mailed letters through its automated mail sorting equipment, it automatically creates a digital image of the front of all letter-size mail. Anyone who signs up for Informed Delivery can access the information by asking the USPS to notify you when each piece of mail with your name on it is on the way. Note that it can take three days to activate your account.

As part of the program, you'll receive an email each morning, Monday through Saturday, to notify you of any mail being delivered to you. You'll also see a grayscale image of the front of the letter. Informed Delivery has free apps for Android and iPhone you can also use.

Just be aware that signing up means you'll see all your mail scanned by the post office, not just your stimulus check. You can cancel the service at any time.

How to set up Informed Delivery to track your stimulus check

Informed Delivery has some limitations. For example, it will work with many residential and personal post office box addresses but not businesses. It also won't work for some residential buildings where the postal service hasn't yet identified each unit.

To check whether Informed Delivery is available in your area, head to the Postal Service's Informed Delivery page.

1. Tap Sign Up for Free.

2. Enter your mailing address and confirm it'll work with the service; then accept the terms and conditions and tap Continue.

3. On the next page, choose your username, password and security questions. Then, enter your contact information and 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 USPS to mail you a code. You may also have the option to visit a post office to verify your identity in person.

For more stimulus check details, here's how to calculate an estimate of your total, what we know about a third stimulus check, what happens if you were overpaid and how some of your rights have changed for the better with a second stimulus check.