October 31, 2020
Stimulus check money: A $1,200 payment may still be sent out in 2020

Stimulus check money: A $1,200 payment may still be sent out in 2020


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Calculate the maximum payment that could end up in your pocket if another stimulus package comes your way.


Sarah Tew/CNET

We’re still waiting for Congress to formally restart talks on another stimulus package or pass some other type of coronavirus relief, but it’s still possible you could see a second stimulus check for as much as $1,200 per person in 2020. 

“We all want to find an agreement,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Thursday.

A number of factors will affect how much money you could receive if another direct payment comes to pass, including the total amount of money allotted to stimulus checks and what the qualifications would be, based on factors such as your adjusted gross income

If the parameters from the first stimulus check are used as guidelines for a new round of payments, we can help you determine how your stimulus check could arrive, as well as calculate the most you might get for your particular scenario. Read on for all the details we know. We regularly update this story.


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Could you get the entire $1,200 payment? How to start calculating

The Senate’s HEALS Act from July proposed an upper limit of $1,200 per qualified person, but that doesn’t mean you’d get it all. Your tax filing status — specifically your adjusted gross income, or AGI — is the biggest factor in determining how much stimulus money you could receive. Let’s say you’re personally eligible for the full $1,200 (read up more on income limit qualifications here), but what about the rest of your family?

The first stimulus check, issued as part of the bipartisan CARES Act, left out child dependents who were 17 or older and college students under 24 years old. The Republican HEALS Act plan would include $500 for dependents regardless of age, including children and adults you claim in your tax filings.

The calculations can be tricky, since they take into account your income, your dependents and whether you filed as single, married or head of household. The figures below were based on this Washington Post calculator and could shed some light on what you might get.

Stimulus check calculations

Scenario 1 Scenario 2 Scenario 3 Scenario 4
Filed 2019 taxes? Yes Yes No No
Filing status Single Head of household Married Married
2018 or 2019 tax AGI $80,000 $140,000 $130,000 $130,000
Dependents under 17 (CARES Act) 0 1 2 2
Dependents over 17 (HEALS Act) 0 0 0 2
Calculated check amount $950 $325 $3,400 $4,400

Maximum amount of stimulus money your family could get

Depending on how negotiations shake out, the total amount your family may get could change. Here’s a look at the caps put in place to give you an idea of what government leaders are thinking.

CARES Act: With the CARES Act from March, there was no limit to the number of children who could count as dependents, as long as they were under 17 and claimed by the taxpayer on the tax return, according to the Tax Foundation. Each dependent would garner the taxpayer $500. Theoretically, a family in which two adults and six children under 17 were eligible for the full amount could receive $5,400.

HEALS Act: Similar to the CARES Act, the HEALS Act put forth by Republicans doesn’t mention a cap on the amount a family may receive. The difference is that it doesn’t limit dependents to those under 17 to qualify for the $500 payment.

Heroes Act: The Heroes Act, put together by the Democratic-led House and which has never been taken up or vetoed by the Senate, would place a cap of $6,000 for households of five or more. Essentially, it proposes $1,200 for each adult and dependent, with a maximum of three dependents per family. 

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The amount of stimulus money you could get in a second round of checks is still undecided. 


James Martin/CNET

How your IRS stimulus payment could arrive

While there’s no official plan yet, it’s likely that receiving this second stimulus check would work much like it did the first time around. 

Direct deposit: If you filed taxes in 2018 or 2019 and included direct-deposit banking information, it’s likely you can receive your check as a direct deposit. Even if you didn’t file your direct deposit information with the IRS during tax season, you should still be able to opt in. If you asked for an extension on your taxes, you can still file them before the Oct. 15, 2020, deadline and choose to share your direct deposit information with the IRS. If another round of stimulus payments is authorized, the IRS is likely to reopen the online tool it used for the first round and let you log your information then.

A paper check in the mail: If you don’t register your banking details with the IRS, you’ll likely receive a paper check in the mail, which you can deposit or cash. If you’ve recently moved, make sure to file your change-of-address paperwork. The IRS will use your last known address, which could hold up delivery of your check or otherwise cause a delay.

EIP card: Under the CARES Act, about 4 million people were also sent money in the form of a prepaid economic impact payment card, which you can spend like cash. The cards came in plain, unmarked envelopes.

Read up on all the finer points of the stimulus check here.

What’s happening now with the second stimulus check decision?

That’s the trillion-dollar question. The Senate is adjourned and doesn’t plan to resume sessions until Sept. 8. Senate Republicans said they plan to introduce a “skinny” coronavirus stimulus package called the Delivering Immediate Relief to America’s Families, Schools and Small Businesses Act (PDF) that includes money for the USPS, along with $300 in weekly unemployment benefits — similar to an executive action signed by President Donald Trump. However, the draft of this proposed package does not include funding for a second round of stimulus checks. But the bill could restart negotiations on other, smaller stimulus relief bills that might include a stimulus bill.

Here’s more on how the timeline could play out if a bill is passed, including when the IRS could send the first checks.

If you’re still waiting for your first stimulus check, here are 10 possible reasons for a delaywhat you can do if you think your payment was lost or has fallen through the cracks and if you could receive two refund checks from the IRS.

Shelby Brown contributed to this report.



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