September 18, 2020
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New stimulus check qualifications? How your eligibility requirements may change

$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.

Angela Lang/CNET

This week, Democratic and White House negotiators continue to hammer out the next economic rescue package, but the work is slow going. “We are moving down the track,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Monday. “We still have our differences.” While the two sides could be days from a deal, or perhaps longer, we can examine the Democratic and Republican proposals for the new bill to get an idea about who could qualify for a second stimulus check and who would not.

The current stimulus package proposals (Democratic-supported Heroes Act and the Republican-backed HEALS Act) share some commonalities about who should be eligible for the new stimulus payment, mostly keeping to the requirements set out in the first stimulus check, but with a little leeway for groups who were passed up the first time around. 

As the debate continues, here’s what we know about who may or may not be included in the next stimulus payment. Check back frequently for updates to this story.

Here’s who would get a 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:

  • A single US resident with an adjusted gross income less than $99,000.
  • A head of a household earning under $146,500.
  • A 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; college students under 24 were not eligible to receive a check. The Senate proposal would exclude those in prison and people who recently died from qualifying for a check. The bill would also prohibit creditors and banks from seizing the payment to pay debts.

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Who qualifies for a second stimulus check under the Democratic plan?

The broadest eligibility parameters so far come from the Heroes Act, which was proposed by the House of Representatives on May 15. Although it’s 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 in 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 for a cap of $6,000 per family.
  • 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 soon may become clear who can qualify for another stimulus check.

Sarah Tew/CNET

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

These groups didn’t meet the requirements for the first payment:

  • Single taxpayers with an adjusted gross income (AGI) 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 the eligibility requirements be set?

While Republican and Democratic negotiators continue to work out the details of the new stimulus package, they are still divided. 

“There are more unresolved issues than resolved issues. There are more than a dozen initiatives that remain miles apart,” White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows told The Hill’s Morning Report on Aug. 2.

To give negotiators more time to make a deal, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell could push back the start of his chamber’s August recess, which he has done before. 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.

Julie Snyder contributed to this report.

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