If you are facing financial hardship (can't buy medicine, can't pay mortgage or rent and received an eviction notice, can't pay utilities and got a shut off notice, etc.) and you need your refund sooner, the IRS may be able to expedite the refund. You will need to contact the IRS at 1-800-829-1040, and explain your hardship situation. Alternatively, if you're unsuccessful reaching them by phone, you may file form 911 https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f911.pdf
The IRS may be able to manually expedite your refund, if it is held up by a temporary backlog in processing.
If you owe tax to the IRS from a prior tax year, the IRS may be holding your refund to pay down that debt. But if you are facing a serious financial hardship and need your refund immediately, the IRS can consider not following its usual procedures of taking the refund. Instead, it may release and expedite part or all the refund to help with your hardship.
The IRS may not issue a credit or refund to you before February 15th, if you claim the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) or Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC) on your tax return. The IRS can't release any part of your refund before that date, even if you're experiencing a financial hardship.
The IRS can only expedite a refund held to pay an IRS debt. If the Department of Treasury's Financial Management Service (FMS) is offsetting your refund for debts other than federal tax debts like past due student loans, child support, state unemployment compensation, or other federally insured debt, even with a serious financial hardship the IRS cannot issue you a refund.