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Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Second stimulus check: How soon the IRS could send it if Congress makes a deal next week

Negotiations over the next stimulus package appeared to stall out by the end of the week, with no deal struck among Washington lawmakers by the Aug. 7 deadline. Both sides of the aisle agree on a new direct payment for eligible Americans but remain sharply divided on other potential benefits in the package.

“I think there are a lot of areas of compromise,” US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Friday, after White House negotiators rejected a Democratic offer to meet in the middle on the total cost of the bill. “I think if we can reach an agreement on state and local and unemployment, we will reach an overall deal. And if we can’t, we can’t.”

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If the two sides can manage to reach an agreement, Mnuchin said, he’s prepared to “start printing [stimulus checks] the following week,” which would be faster than the 19 days it took for the first stimulus check to go out after the CARES Act became law in March.

Here’s a closer look at when the second round of direct payments could be sent and who might get them first — if the final relief package does become law, that is. We update this story often to reflect new developments.

How soon the IRS could send the second stimulus checks 

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Several scenarios that could play out. With no agreement reached on Friday, Aug. 7, the House and Senate have extended the length of their current session. with an eye toward the two sides reaching an agreement in the coming days.

When and if the new proposal does pass, Mnuchin’s promise of sending the first checks a week later gives us a new timeline to work from in forecasting when the first people could get their checks. For reference, we also include the dates followed by the CARES Act.

Keep reading for who could get their payment first.

When could the second stimulus checks go out?

Date passed by Senate Date passed by House Date signed First checks sent
Original CARES Act March 25 March 26 March 27 April 15

Proposal date Negotiations begin Negotiation time before deadline Original deadline to agree on a bill
HEALS Act July 27 July 27 7 to 12 days Aug. 7

If Senate passes If House passes If President signs First checks could be sent
Final negotiated bill Aug. 11 Aug. 12 Aug. 13 Week of Aug. 17

Aug. 13 Aug. 14 Aug. 17 Week of Aug. 24

Sept. 8 Sept. 9 Sept. 10 or Sept. 11 Week of Sept. 21
Who could get their stimulus check 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. Following that model, the next stimulus payment could first reach people who have 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 had not 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.

How 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, which could 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 payment speed since the CARES Act passed, disproportionately impacting Black people and people of color, according to an analysis (PDF) 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 did not 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 last date you could get the new stimulus check?

Once again, the schedule for the first stimulus checks can provide a potential roadmap, though there’s no official news until another rescue package is finalized.

The IRS will have sent about 200 million checks by the time it’s 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.

Here are even more resources about coronavirus hardship loans and unemployment insurance, what you can do if you’ve lost your job, what to know about evictions and late car payments, if you could receive two refund checks from the IRS and how to take control of your budget.

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