October 30, 2020
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Second stimulus check eligibility update: Would you qualify? The status so far


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The proposals for who may or may not qualify for a second stimulus check are dizzying.


Angela Lang/CNET

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has promised that his chamber will be “looking at another direct payment” when the Senate reconvenes Monday. The debate will include the size of a second stimulus check, when to send it and who will be eligible to receive it.

If you qualified for the first stimulus check for $1,200 (the maximum amount), you might not automatically get a second payment. White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said on July 10 that unemployed and low-income individuals and families are likely to be the focus of the debate as Washington looks to the struggling economy and prioritizes which institutions and people to help.

The requirements for a second stimulus payment will most likely be based on factors such as age, citizenship, income limit, marital status and number of dependents. The first stimulus payment set an age limit for children to qualify and limited the number of allowable dependents (more below).

Keep reading for all of the current information regarding another economic impact payment. This story is updated often with the latest information.

If more people are eligible for a second stimulus check

The broadest qualifications 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 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.


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Who might not qualify for an extra stimulus 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 that income limits could become more strict. You may need 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 a $40,000 per year income cap, first raised by McConnell (more below).

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.

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


Sarah Tew/CNET

Who wasn’t eligible for the first stimulus check

Let’s review who the first round rejected:

  • 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.

Income limit? Why people are talking about $40,000

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.”

cash funds running out of money change dollars wallet empty

Is a $40,000 per year income limit part of the next stimulus package? It’s too soon to say.


Sarah Tew/CNET

That figure doesn’t scale across all US markets. In San Francisco, for example, the US Department of Housing and Urban Development defines “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 stimulus check qualifications be decided?

We won’t know anything for sure until a stimulus bill comes into clearer focus, but we have a good idea when that might happen and when a check could be sent. 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.

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 and what to know about evictions.





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