It’s the closest to a commitment as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has come to a McConnell said this week. How much money a would bring is part of the equation when the Senate dives into the topic on Monday. Another part of the debate will focus on who is eligible to get a second payment — and who is not.. “We are looking at another direct payment,”
“Only a heartless person would deny that the tens of millions out of work, the millions of small businesses shut down, and the hospitals, schools and nursing homes facing enormous challenges need help,” Joshua Gotbaum, a guest scholar in economic studies at the public policy organization Brookings Institution, told CNET this week. “In many cases only the nation’s federal government is in a position to provide help.”
But even if you qualified for Fox Business reported last week, but it isn’t clear how that would be calculated., there is no guarantee that you’ll meet the requirements for a second payment. White House economic advisor Larry Kudlow has said the second stimulus payment will focus on people who are jobless or have lower incomes,
Here’s everything we’ve heard so far. Note that this story updates often as the situation develops.
Second stimulus check qualification: Best case scenario
The broadest eligibility suggested so far comes from the Heroes Act (PDF) proposed by the House of Representatives in May. It has been strenuously opposed by the Senate and President Donald Trump, who called it DOA, but it can help frame the conversation about the upper limits of who might be able to receive a second stimulus check. Here’s who qualifies based on that 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 file tax returns, pay taxes and otherwise comply with federal tax law using an individual taxpayer identification number instead of a Social Security number.
These people might not qualify for a second payment
McConnell has said that if the Senate, which his Republican party controls, passes another relief bill that includes more stimulus checks, the focus will be narrow. Based on speculation, here’s who might not be eligible for a second stimulus check.
Nobody qualifies: A stimulus package could be signed into law that gives tax credits and other incentives to businesses. It’s possible some people could get a travel or dining credit, but not a check.
People who make “too much” money: If another round of stimulus payments does pass, but allocations are smaller for IRS payments, it’s probable there could be a lower maximum yearly income (AGI on the tax form) to qualify. In other words, people who make more than a certain amount (that’s lower than the current cutoff of $99,000 for individuals) could potentially be left out of a second round. One example is the $40,000 cap mentioned above.
Carryover exclusions from the current CARES Act: Young people between 18 and 24, people who aren’t US citizens but pay taxes, people who are incarcerated.
Who missed out on the first stimulus check
Let’s review who was excluded in the first round:
- 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
Is the $40,000 cutoff real and where did it come from?
It’s been suggested that the next stimulus check would only go out to people who make $40,000 a year or less. The supposed income limit — which is not final — came from remarks made by McConnell on July 6, who answered a reporter’s question about the second stimulus check by saying: “I think the people who have been hit the hardest are people who make about $40,000 a year or less. Many of them work in the hospitality industry. So that could well be a part of it.”
Nancy Pelosi, the House Speaker, questioned McConnell’s proposed salary cap. “I don’t know where the $40,000 came from,” she said during a July 9 press conference. “I think families making over $40,000 probably need assistance, depending on their situation.”
That figure doesn’t scale across all US markets. In San Francisco, for example, the US office of Housing and Urban Development defined “very low income limits” at $60,900 for a single earner and $87,000 for a family of four, based on 50% of the metro area’s median income in 2020. That would be well above any $40,000 cutoff.
It’s been suggested that the $40,000 figure McConnell cited came from an open letter published June 16 from over 150 economists, led by Ben Bernanke, the former chair of the Federal Reserve, which stated that “among people who were working in February, almost 40% (PDF) of those in households making less than $40,000 a year had lost a job in March.”
When will we know more about stimulus check qualifications?
We won’t know anything for sure until a stimulus bill comes into clearer focus, but we have a good idea. The conversation is expected to start in earnest on Monday, July 20, when the Senate is back in session.
“As soon as the Senate gets back [from its current recess], we are going to sit down on a bipartisan basis with the Republicans and the Democrats,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told CNBC on July 9. He added that it will be a priority for the next legislation to be passed between July 20 and the end of the month.
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