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Second stimulus check: Will I qualify?

HEALS Act assistance could be worth up to $1,200.

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The Senate has proposed another round of stimulus checks under the HEALS Act. Although it’s not yet official, here’s how much you could expect, as well as your options for receiving your money.

Is there a second stimulus check?

There is a second stimulus check in the works, but Congress is still negotiating the details. If passed, the HEALS Act could put much-needed funds in the pockets of Americans who have been struggling with this pandemic since early March. We’ll update this page as soon as new information is released.

How much will I get?

Both sides of Congress agree that there should be a $1,200 stimulus check for individual filers and $2,400 for married couples filing jointly. But Republicans are calling for a $1 trillion package that provides $500 for dependents of all ages, while Democrats want a $3 trillion package that includes $1,200 for each dependent, up to three total.

To complicate things even further, it’s rumored that Senate Republicans may propose a “skinny” bill this week for $500 billion. If passed, this new bill would exclude stimulus checks altogether, providing relief only for unemployment, school funding, the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and the US Postal Service.

If a second stimulus check is included in the next relief bill, you should receive the full amount if your adjusted gross income is:

  • $75,000 for single or married, filing separately
  • $150,000 for married, filing jointly
  • $112,500 for heads of household

After that, your check amount is reduced by $5 for every $100 in income.

Could my second stimulus payment amount change if I recently filed 2019 taxes?

Yes. The IRS determines eligibility based on your most recent tax return. If your first stimulus check was based on your 2018 return because you hadn’t filed 2019 taxes yet, you could receive more or less money depending on your adjusted gross income for 2019.

Say you’re a single taxpayer who earned $75,000 in 2018 and you waited until July 15 to file your 2019 taxes. Under the original CARES Act, you qualified for the full $1,200 check because it was based on your latest tax return for 2018. If you filed your 2019 tax return in the meantime with an adjusted gross income of $80,000, your check could be reduced to $950.

Your second stimulus payment may also increase if you have dependents ages 17 or older, because they would now qualify for payment under the HEALS Act.

Will my unemployment benefits prevent me from receiving the second stimulus check?

Individuals who are unemployed are still eligible for a second stimulus check — even if they received a $600 unemployment check in the past. The second round of stimulus checks is based on your latest tax return, so you’ll still receive a check as long as you have a Social Security number and your income falls within the defined limits.

When will I get a second stimulus check?

It depends on how long it takes Congress to negotiate a final bill. The Senate is back in session as of September 8 and the House of Representatives resumes the week after.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin promises that the next round of checks will start to go out a week after Congress reaches a decision, which could be as early as October 16 if the bill is finalized by September 21, according to media outlets.

But there’s one hiccup to keep in mind. If they approve to send $1,200 for dependents instead of $500, the IRS may need to change its accounting system, which could slow down this timeline.

What can I do to get my second stimulus check fast?

If the IRS follows the same model used for the first round of stimulus checks, you’ll receive your payment fastest using one of these methods:

  • Direct deposit. Get your check direct deposited to your bank account. Check the IRS Payment Tool to make sure the IRS has your correct direct deposit details.
  • Prepaid card. Prepaid cards such as Netspend or H&R Block Emerald can help you get your money up to two days faster than with direct deposit.

If you don’t sign up for direct deposit using one of these methods, you’ll get your second stimulus payment by mail either as a paper check or prepaid debit card. The prepaid debit card comes in a plain envelope marked “Money Network Cardholder Services.”

What if I haven’t received my first stimulus check?

You may not have received your first stimulus check yet due to several reasons:

  • You didn’t file a tax return due to low income. If you qualify for a stimulus check but aren’t required to file a tax return, fill out the nonfilers form on the IRS website by October 15, 2020, to receive your check.
  • You owe child support. The IRS may deduct owed child support from your stimulus check. If your payment is deducted, you’ll receive a notice in the mail.
  • You’re not eligible. If you have a Social Security card but your spouse doesn’t, you may not be eligible for a stimulus check if you file your taxes jointly.
  • The IRS doesn’t have your correct information. Your stimulus check could have been sent to an old bank account or home address.
  • You accidentally threw it away. May taxpayers report accidentally throwing their stimulus check away because it came on a prepaid debit card and they thought it was spam.
  • Your payment could be on its way. The IRS claims it may take up to 20 weeks to send payments, which means your check could be still processing.

You can check your eligibility and payment status through the IRS website. If you think your payment was lost or stolen, call the IRS directly to learn about next steps.

How does it compare to the first stimulus check?

It’s too soon to say what the final version of the second stimulus check will look like. The HEALS Act was proposed on July 27 and calls for a second round of stimulus checks identical to the first. The only difference is that you’d receive $500 for dependents of any age, instead of $500 for those under age 17. A group of Senate Republicans proposed a new bill on July 30 that would give $1,000 checks to everyone, meaning a family of four could receive a $4,000 payment.

The House of Representatives proposed the HEROES Act in May 2020, which provides $1,200 for up to three dependents and aims to loosen restrictions so that non-US citizens who pay taxes using an individual taxpayer ID instead of a Social Security number could also receive a check.

As of September 8, both parties are hashing out details, so we’re not sure how the final bill will play out. Here’s a summary of potential changes that could be made to the second round of benefits:

Cares ActHeals Act proposalHeroes Act proposalSkinny bill proposal
Check amount
  • $1,200 for individuals
  • $500 for dependents
  • $1,200 for individuals
  • $500 for dependents
  • $1,200 for individuals
  • $1,200 for up to 3 dependents
Do dependents up to age 17 qualify?
Do older dependents with disabilities qualify?
Do SSI recipients qualify?
Do non-US citizens who pay taxes using an ITIN qualify?
Do US citizens married to ITIN filers qualify?

Bottom line

Time will tell what the second round of stimulus checks will look like — or if we’ll see one at all. Find out ways to use your stimulus check wisely, so you’re prepared if your assistance arrives.

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