January 21, 2021
When could a second stimulus check come? We may have a pretty good idea

Stimulus check 2: When would it arrive? These are the dates we know


When will a deal be done for a second stimulus check?

Sarah Tew/CNET

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With enhanced jobless benefits set to expire at the end of July and initial jobless claims remaining over 1 million for the 16th week in a row, you may be wondering with increasing urgency if a second stimulus check is happening, and what the soonest date is that the IRS could send another stimulus check to eligible recipients. The focus is on Congress and the White House to act by the end of July.

“As soon as the Senate gets back [from its current break], we are going to sit down on a bipartisan basis with the Republicans and the Democrats,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told CNBC on Thursday. “It will be our priority to make sure between the 20th and the end of the month that we pass the next legislation.”

“[The Republicans] know there has to be a bill,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Thursday. “Let’s hear what everybody has to say.” Pelosi’s chamber passed its own rescue package back in May, which has not become law.

President Donald Trump has strongly advocated that a “dramatic” and “generous” rescue bill include a second round of stimulus payments, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has admitted another stimulus check “could well be part of it.”

As a timeline, “July” is vague at best. You want concrete dates and we can’t blame you. While we can’t provide that, we did pick apart the Senate calendar — which is stuffed with two lengthy recesses — and used the timeline for the first stimulus check as a model. Read on to see what we found.

This story updates frequently with new information. If you’re still waiting on the first round of coronavirus 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.


Congress is expected to start work soon on a new coronavirus stimulus bill that may put another $1,200 in your wallet.

Angela Lang/CNET

Stimulus check timeline: What is the Senate doing now?

The Senate has a compressed schedule to work with if it’s going to create, propose and pass another rescue bill — one that could include more stimulus money — before the end of July.

Now through July 17: The Senate is on a planned recess that began last Friday, July 3 and goes until next Friday, July 17. Session resumes on Monday, July 20. Including weekends, that’s a 17-day hiatus between the last day in session and the first day of the new session.

Will the Senate members use this recess to work on a second stimulus check? Members of the Senate may be in their home states, but will use the current break to collect data for work on a second package once the session resumes. 

“I think the timing is going to be just about right for us to know what we need to know for a package that moves us into August, September and October,” said Sen. Roy Blunt, a Republican from Missouri, on June 30.

July 20 to Aug. 7: The Senate will be in session for three work weeks, until Friday, Aug. 7. That gives the Senate 15 working days (not including weekends) to debate a bill before its next summer recess.

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Aug. 10 to Sept. 7: The Senate will break for its August recess, which lasts through Labor Day (Monday, Sept. 7). There are 32 days from the last date of the Senate session (Aug. 7) until the first day of the following session (Sept. 8). The Senate won’t work through the August break, McConnell said June 30.

If the Senate does take up a second stimulus package in July, a new bill authorizing the checks would need to pass both chambers on or before Friday, Aug. 7, to get through prior to the Senate’s August break.

Sept. 8 to Sept. 25: The Senate is back in session. If Congress doesn’t complete the stimulus package by the start of the August break, it would need to resume in September.

When could the IRS send a second stimulus payment?

It’s still possible for the IRS to start sending checks in August, if the House and Senate do give a second round of stimulus checks the green light by the end of July. 

cash funds running out of money change dollars wallet empty

It’s time to hash out the numbers.

Sarah Tew/CNET

For reference, the president signed the CARES Act into law on March 27 and the first stimulus payments went out less than three weeks later, on April 15. 

For the purpose of speculation only, let’s say that a new stimulus act becomes law on Friday, Aug. 7. Following the CARES Act timeline, the first checks could go out by Aug. 26.

It’s plausible, however, that the IRS could move even faster to send out the first wave of stimulus checks, since it already has the mechanism in place from the first batch, including a tool for people to sign up for direct deposit and track their payments

Factors like how many people would qualify for a payment the second time around could play a role in slowing down or speeding up this timeline.

What’s the final date I could receive a second stimulus check?


A second stimulus bill could be the last for Americans affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

Angela Lang/CNET

While we don’t know anything official — and won’t until another rescue package is official — we can draw on the experience of the first stimulus checks as a potential blueprint. 

The IRS will have sent about 200 million checks by the time it’s done distributing payments. (The total US population is nearly 330 million people, according to the Census Bureau.)

At the beginning of June, the House Ways and Means Committee estimated (PDF) as many as 35 million Americans could still be owed a payment. 

The IRS hasn’t responded to CNET’s questions about how many checks remain to be sent today, but the agency did say it will continue to disburse the final batches through the end of the year. If there are fewer people receiving a second stimulus check, however, it’s possible that it won’t take as long to send a second round of checks.

If you didn’t get your money yet, here are 10 possible reasons for a delay. If you’re worried you were supposed to receive your check and didn’t, here’s what you can do

Do we still need a second stimulus check? The unemployment debate heats up

Is a second stimulus check necessary? That question is at the heart of this debate. 

“The path forward for the economy remains extraordinarily uncertain and will depend in large part on our success in containing the virus,” said Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell during House testimony at the end of June. “The path forward will also depend on policy actions taken at all levels of government to provide relief and to support the recovery for as long as needed.”

For the 16th straight week, the Labor Department reported (PDF), the number of US workers applying for unemployment insurance was above 1 million, with 1.3 million workers filing new state unemployment claims for the week ending July 4. The number of initial claims is down 99,000 from the week before.

Josh Bivens, the director of the nonpartisan Economic Policy Institute, said expanded unemployment benefits was a key piece of the CARES Act that’s crucial for families in which someone has lost a job. The expanded unemployment benefits are set to expire at the end of July.

According to a study by the EPI, Bivens told CNET, if Congress doesn’t renew the extra $600 at the end of July the country will have 5 million fewer jobs a year from now than if Congress kept the enhanced benefits running. “It’s a huge obstacle to recovery if we let it lapse,” Bivens said.


Even with some businesses starting to open, the US has a staggeringly high unemployment rate.

Angela Lang/CNET

What will it take to get a second stimulus check and what happens now?

The passage of a second round of IRS payments appears to depend on two things: how badly the economy is faring and if lawmakers believe a direct payment to millions of people is the best way to respond to the current recession

For now, we wait till the Senate returns from its July recess to take up the next stimulus package. To receive a second check, the proposed rescue package would need to pass both the House and the Senate before receiving a signature from the president. Only then could it take effect. 

After that, the IRS now has a system in place to organize and distribute those checks. But it could still be weeks more before you receive a payment.

We’ll continue to update this story with new information as it arises. While the future of a second stimulus bill remains undecided, we’ll share available 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 and how to take control of your budget.

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