August 19, 2020
A second stimulus check is being worked on and it could arrive faster than it did in the first round, but a final bill has to pass first. With a schedule that is still unknown, we did some research and we broke down some likely scenarios and potential distribution dates, given what we know.
With the Senate on recess and the House of Representatives coming back this week to work on a USPS bailout bill, the possibility of stimulus package negotiations picking up this week is uncertain. Before the talks were paused, congressional leaders and the White House each agreed on a new stimulus payment of as much as $1,200 in the next relief package. Until those talks resume and are finalized, it’s hard to know when a second stimulus check will be sent to eligible Americans, or if standalone legislation for stimulus money will be passed.
“The president wants us to do more,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Tuesday. “He wants us to provide money for kids and jobs, and a second round of the [Paycheck Protection Program] and direct payments are a clear part of that.”
Mnuchin has previously stated that he could send out stimulus payments within a week of a final package passing. By contrast, the first round of payments were sent 19 days after the CARES Act passed in March.
What are some possible dates for when more stimulus money may be coming your way, assuming a final bill is passed in Washington?
Several scenarios could play out. Though still unlikely, Republican and Democratic negotiators could pick discussions back up and reach an agreement in late August — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has called the House back into session to vote on the US Postal Service bill, but it’s unclear if stimulus package discussions will continue. Negotiations could also slide into September after the new congressional session officially begins.
Complicating the timeline, both parties hold their national conventions this month — the Democrats started on Monday, and the Republicans get going next week. Meanwhile, the House of Representatives and the Senate are adjourned until after Labor Day, which is Sept. 7.
Here are some possible dates that another stimulus bill could pass and the IRS could send the first checks. For reference, we also include the timeline for the now expired CARES Act. Keep reading to see who could get their payment first.
This group would get their stimulus checks first
It’s likely the IRS would use roughly the same calculations and tools for sending out the second stimulus check as it did for the first one, including the IRS Get My Payment tool for tracking your stimulus check payment and signing up for direct deposit.
The IRS sent the first batch of stimulus checks to people who had filed 2018 or 2019 tax returns and had already provided the IRS with their direct deposit information, according to the House Committee on Ways and Means (PDF). Following that model, the next stimulus payment could first reach people who’ve already registered for direct deposit, either as part of their 2019 tax filing or before.
The next group were Social Security beneficiaries who had direct deposit information on file with federal agencies. (About 80 million people got their checks through direct deposit in the first week they were disbursed, according to the IRS.)
Paper checks didn’t start getting mailed out until about a week later, to people who hadn’t signed up for direct deposit, but you could still register for the electronic bank transfer as late as May 13. The first Economic Impact Payment debit cards, which are prepaid, were sent in mid-May to about 4 million people.
Why your stimulus check could arrive later than other people’s
We won’t know for sure until a new bill is passed and the IRS forms a plan to send out checks, but here are points to consider.
Changes to aid for dependents: This depends on which version of the bill passes. The CARES Act allotted $500 for dependents age 16 and under. The Republican-backed HEALS Act also allocates $500 for dependents, of any age. But the Democrat-backed Heroes Act suggests $1,200 for a maximum of three dependents. If a change is made, even if it ultimately leads to more money being sent, it could require the IRS to adjust its accounting system. That may potentially slow things down for you.
Banking status: With the first checks, people who didn’t submit direct deposit information to the IRS had to wait longer to receive the stimulus money through the mail. As of June, 120 million people received the stimulus money through direct deposit, 35 million through a check in the mail, and 4 million through a prepaid debit card. The IRS hasn’t provided an update on how many people received a stimulus check by Aug. 1.
Banking status has affected the speed of payments since the CARES Act passed, disproportionately impacting Black Americans and other people of color, according to an analysis by the think tank Urban Institute. People who are white and whose incomes were above the poverty line were more likely to have received their first stimulus check by the end of May than people who are Black, Hispanic or below the poverty line, the analysis found.
People who didn’t make enough money to be required to file federal income tax returns in 2018 or 2019 also would not get a stimulus check unless they submitted a form to the IRS, according to a report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. This group includes low-income families with children and a far greater number of Black people and people of color.
When’s the latest date you could receive the new stimulus check?
Once again, the schedule for the first stimulus checks may provide a potential roadmap, but there’s no official news until another rescue package is finalized.
The IRS will have sent about 200 million checks by the time the agency is done distributing the first raft of payments. (The total US population is over 330 million people, according to the Census Bureau.)
The majority of those were sent by the beginning of June, though the IRS said it will continue to send payments through the end of the year.
> How you can get more help
If you’re still waiting on the first round of coronavirus payments, you can track the status of your stimulus check, learn how to report your no-show check to the IRS and find possible reasons why your stimulus check still hasn’t arrived. CLICK HERE.
(Sources: C|Net, CNN, Forbes and Fox Business)