October 30, 2020
With a vote in sight, here's how soon a second stimulus check could arrive for you

Second stimulus check: Trump and Senate’s COVID results could shift IRS’ payment timeline


Did you know? Different groups will get their stimulus checks at different times.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Progress is being made on merging Republican and Democratic agenda items to reach a deal on a new coronavirus relief bill. Both sides agree it should include a second stimulus check that could open up qualifications and bring even more money to tens of millions of families. 

But as COVID-19 spreads among the GOP, including Republican senators and President Donald Trump himself, the dangerous coronavirus at the heart of the stimulus relief bill has thrown a wrench in the timeline. Trump could be discharged from the hospital as early as Monday, his personal physician, Dr. Sean Conley, said Sunday in a press conference.

While Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi could agree on a stimulus package by the middle of the week, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has suspended Senate votes until Oct. 19. However, he would give senators 24 hours notice to return and vote on a new relief bill, if new legislation is ready to vote on in the next two weeks.

The House of Representatives is also on recess after passing a new stimulus bill Oct. 1 and can reconvene any time to vote

How quickly the IRS might start sending out the next stimulus checks is now related to the spread of the coronavirus in the upper reaches of government, and if a new sense of urgency accelerates agreement.

“We’re making progress,” Pelosi told Face the Nation on Sunday. Asked if movement could happen in the coming week, she added, “It just depends on if they understand what we have to do to crush the virus.”

Below, we’ve detailed new timelines for when the IRS might start to issue stimulus payments according to pre-determined priority groups, with the understanding that the situation is ever-changing and a deal has not yet been finalized. Our stimulus calculator estimates your potential payday. This story is regularly updated with new information.

Examples of IRS timeline to send the first checks — this will change

When and if another stimulus check happens, Mnuchin has said it would take about a week to orchestrate the first payments. “I can get out 50 million payments really quickly. A lot of it into people’s direct accounts,” he said.

We’ve speculated about potential dates based on the current situation in Washington. Not every person will get a payment at the same time — keep reading to see how the different priority groups shake out.

Note that, even if an agreement is reached this week, it will still take time to hash out the details and draft new legislation to prepare for a vote, first in one chamber (the House, for example) and then in the other.

Possible dates a second stimulus check could go out

Scenario 1 Scenario 2 Scenario 3 Scenario 4
House passes final bill Oct. 13 (Oct. 12 is Columbus Day) Oct. 19 Dec. 1 Dec. 7
Senate passes final bill Oct. 14 Oct. 20 Dec. 2 Dec. 8
President signs Oct. 15 Oct. 21 Dec. 3 Dec. 9
First direct deposit sent Week of Oct. 22 Week of Oct. 26 Week of Dec. 7 Week of Dec. 14
First paper checks sent Week of Nov. 2 (Day before Election 2020) Week of Nov. 9 Week of Dec. 14 Week of Dec. 21
First EIP cards sent Week of Nov. 23 Week of Nov. 30 Week of Jan. 11 Week of Jan. 18

Why some people will get their checks faster than others

The IRS has so far sent money to at least 160 million people three different ways, starting with people who filed for direct deposit. Some people with more complicated scenarios are in fact still waiting for their checks or even for catch-up payments. This shakes out into a de facto priority order that could lead some to receive their checks days or even weeks sooner than others. We expect the IRS would keep roughly the same system for sending out the second stimulus check.

Direct deposit is fastest: People who already have their direct deposit information on file with the IRS or who register it when and if registration opens again should be first in line to receive their stimulus check. An electronic transfer of funds is faster and more efficient, which is why this group largely got their first check faster.

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Next stimulus checks: What to expect


Social Security beneficiaries: With the first stimulus payment, many Social Security beneficiaries who had direct deposit information on file with the federal government received their checks in the first week, though not always the first day.

People who get paper checks: The IRS began to mail these about a week later to people without direct deposit data on file. 

EIP card recipients: Economic Impact Payment debit cards are prepaid Visa cards that the IRS sent to around 4 million people starting in mid-May. If the IRS follows the same payment priority order, this group could begin to see their checks weeks after the first direct deposit transfers go out.

Last group: People who received their checks after June, are still waiting to receive their stimulus payment or did not know they need to fill out an extra step. Direct payments will continue through the end of 2020 for some individuals who were not part of the previous groups. Here’s what could be holding up the stimulus check delivery for some and how to contact the IRS to report a missing, lost or stolen check.

What’s the longest I could wait for a check?

While we expect the bulk of people to get their money sooner, if the first round is any indication, it could still take months for the IRS to send all the checks. Six months after the first stimulus payments went out, the federal agency is still trying to track down millions of people who may be owed money.

And even with the experience of processing roughly 160 million payments in the IRS’ back pocket, some would probably need to clear a few hurdles to receive their money. Here are common roadbumps that held up the first stimulus check for some.


There’s hope that the IRS could speed up delivery of a second check, if it’s authorized.

Angela Lang/CNET

A few more resources to 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.

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