October 25, 2020
Second stimulus check update: When could the new payment arrive?

Second stimulus check payment schedule: How fast could the IRS send out more money?


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How soon could your second stimulus check come? We lay out some possible dates from the time the bill is passed to when your money could actually arrive.


James Martin/CNET

The Democratic-controlled House of Representatives will return to Capitol Hill Saturday to vote on a rescue bill for the US Post Office, while Republicans plan to introduce their own scaled-back coronavirus relief package. But what will happen with the halted talks that would potentially make a second stimulus check part of a new law? And how soon could that money reach eligible Americans

All sides agree that a second stimulus check should be part of another coronavirus relief package to help tens of millions faced with unemployment, food insecurity, evictions and car repossession as the recession caused by the coronavirus pandemic drags on. But with talks on another stimulus package paused since Congress’ Aug. 7 recess, the pressure to strike a deal is mounting. The trillion-dollar question remains: When will it actually happen? 

“Federal support is crucial,” Barclays’ chief US economist Michael Gapen told New York Times. “The longer negotiations stall, the more likely there will be a hiccup in spending.” Gapen added that it will be “okay” so long as a deal is made by September.

If a bill can be passed, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is prepared to start sending out direct payments within a week, which is about one-third of the time it took to send out the first round of payments after the CARES Act became law in March.

As we wait for the possibility of a second stimulus payment becoming part of a new law, we can calculate some potential dates of when you might get more money — keep reading for more information. This story updates often.

How soon could the IRS deliver a second stimulus check?

Several scenarios could play out. Though still unlikely, Republican and Democratic negotiators could resume discussions and reach an agreement in late August — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has called the House back into session to vote on the US Postal Service bill, but it’s unclear if stimulus package discussions will continue. Negotiations could also slide into September after the new congressional session officially begins.

Complicating the timeline, both parties hold their national conventions this month — the Democrats started on Monday, and the Republicans begin next week. Meanwhile, the Senate is adjourned until after Labor Day, which is Sept. 7.

Here are some possible dates that another stimulus bill could pass and the IRS could send the first checks. For reference, we also include the timeline for the now expired CARES Act. The payments don’t go out to everyone at once, so we’ll go over what groups of people 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
If Senate passes If House passes If president signs First checks could be sent
Final negotiated bill Sept. 8 Sept. 9 Sept. 10 Week of Sept. 21
Sept. 10 Sept. 11 Sept. 14 Week of Sept. 28
Sept. 14 Sept. 15 Sept. 16 Week of Sept. 28

Which group would 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’ve 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 hadn’t 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. 

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Another stimulus check for up to $1,200 could find its way into your bank account this year. 


Sarah Tew/CNET

Why your second stimulus check might arrive later than someone else’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 Democratic-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. That may 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 had received the stimulus money via direct deposit, 35 million were sent a check in the mail and 4 million were sent a prepaid debit card. The IRS hasn’t provided an update on how many people received a stimulus check by Aug. 1.


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Banking status has affected the speed of payments since the CARES Act passed, disproportionately impacting Black Americans and other people of color, according to an analysis 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 didn’t 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 latest date you could receive another stimulus check?

Once again, the schedule for the first stimulus checks may provide an indication, but there’s no official news until another rescue package is finalized.

The IRS will have sent about 200 million checks by the time the agency is 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.

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Some Americans are still waiting for their first stimulus check to arrive.


Sarah Tew/CNET

How you can get more help

If you’re still waiting on the first round of 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.

And here are 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.

Shelby Brown contributed to this report.



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