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Monday, January 25, 2021

Stimulus check qualifications: Would you get the new $1,200 payment? What you need to know

$1, $10 and $20 bills sticking out of a wallet

The proposals for who may or may not qualify for a second stimulus check are coming into focus.

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Angela Lang

Republican and Democrat negotiators seem far from reaching an agreement on the next stimulus package: “We’re nowhere close to a deal,” said White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows on Wednesday afternoon. One of the few things the two sides do have in common is the goal to send you a second stimulus payment for up to $1,200 per person. But that doesn’t automatically mean you’ll qualify for the full amount — or any at all.

On the Republican side, the proposed HEALS Act mostly follows the guidelines set out for the first stimulus check, with $1,200 going out to individuals and $500 to dependents. The Republican plan makes some eligibility adjustments, however, and of course we don’t know how their proposal could change before it becomes law. The Heroes Act, passed by the Democrat-led House, also sets out $1,200 payments.

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Here’s what we know now about who would qualify based on annual taxable income, citizenship, age, marital status and the number of claimed dependents. Check back frequently for new updates.

Who would get a second stimulus check under the HEALS Act?

The Senate Republicans’ HEALS Act would follow the payment guidelines set out in the CARES Act, with a new adjustment for dependents. 

“[The bill] includes just a few people that were unintentionally left out of the last one. Mostly dependents, college and adults, that are somebody else’s dependents,” said Sen. Chuck Grassley on Monday.

Here’s who would qualify for a HEALS Act payment:

  • A single US resident with an adjusted gross income less than $99,000.
  • Head of a household earning under $146,500.
  • Couple filing jointly without children and earning less than $198,000.
  • A dependent of any age. 

In the CARES Act, the cutoff to receive a $500 dependent check was age 16 and younger and college students under 24 were not eligible to receive a check. The Senate proposal would exclude those in prison and who recently died from qualifying for a check. The bill would also prohibit creditors and banks from seizing the payment to pay debts.

Who would qualify for a second stimulus check under the Democrats’ plan?

The broadest eligibility parameters suggested so far come from the Heroes Act, which was proposed by the House of Representatives on May 15. Although it has been fiercely opposed by Senate Republicans and President Donald Trump, we can look to this bill to help frame the conversation about the upper limits of who might qualify for a broad proposal:

  • Individuals who made less than $99,000 according to the adjusted gross income from their 2018 or 2019 taxes (whichever was most recently filed).
  • College students, dependents over 17, disabled relatives and taxpayers’ parents.
  • Families of up to five people.
  • SSDI recipients.
  • People who aren’t US citizens and do file tax returns, pay taxes and otherwise comply with federal tax law using an individual taxpayer identification number instead of a Social Security number.
$20 bills and credit cards in a wallet

It may soon become clear who can qualify for another stimulus check.

Sarah Tew

Who didn’t receive a first stimulus check with the CARES Act?

These groups did not meet the requirements for the first payment:

  • Single taxpayers with an adjusted gross income above $99,000.
  • Heads of households with an AGI over $136,500.
  • Married couples with an AGI over $198,000.
  • Children over 16 and college students under age 24.
  • Nonresident aliens, as defined by the US government.

When will we know the eligibility requirements?

Now that the Senate has made its proposal, with the White House’s involvement, negotiations with House Democrats can begin. After the sides reach an agreement, the stimulus bill won’t take effect until the president signs it into law. 

And while we won’t know for sure until the two sides come together on the next stimulus package, we have a good idea what Congress’ deadline is and when a check could be sent

For more, here’s what we know about the major proposals for a second stimulus package. We also have information on unemployment insurance, what you can do if you’ve lost your job, if you could receive two refund checks from the IRS and what to know about evictions.

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