September 22, 2020
Second stimulus check payment schedule: How quickly might the IRS send money?

Second stimulus check: When the IRS could send a new payment and who could get it first


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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

Is a second stimulus check still coming in 2020? Talks meant to finalize a new stimulus bill have been deadlocked for weeks, but another direct payment isn’t out of the question. Both chambers of Congress and the White House favor sending another round of stimulus money to people who meet the qualifications.

If a stimulus payment is authorized (either by bill or possible executive action using money allocated to emergency pandemic programs), Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has stated the checks could go out within a week. 

Depending on how everything proceeds in Washington over the next few weeks, we can get an idea of when payments could go out and who could be first in line for another payment. CNET’s stimulus check calculator can also help you estimate how much money you could expect to see. This story was recently updated.

Potential dates the IRS could send a new stimulus check

Here are some possible dates that the IRS could send the first checks, based on when a bill could pass or when a unilateral executive order from Trump could occur. For reference, we also include the timeline for the now-expired CARES Act. The payments don’t go out to everyone at once, so read on for which groups of people could get their payment first.

Note that these dates are speculative and change frequently in response to the latest from Washington.

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. 11 Sept. 16 Sept. 17 Week of Sept. 28
Sept. 30 Oct. 1 Oct. 2 Week of Oct. 12
Oct. 16 Oct. 19 Oct. 20 Week of Nov. 2
If order signed Direct deposit could start First paper checks could start First EIP cards could start
Presidential order Sept. 12 Week of Sept. 21 Week of Sept. 28 Week of Oct. 19

Who would get paid by the IRS first? Who’s last in line?

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

First group: 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.

Second group: 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.) 

Third group: 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.

Fourth group: The first Economic Impact Payment debit cards, which are prepaid, began going out in mid-May to about 4 million people.

Fifth group: Anyone who received their checks after June or who is still waiting to receive their stimulus payment. The IRS has told CNET that 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.

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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

Reasons your stimulus check may arrive ‘late’

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.

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 relief 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

If you need additional 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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