September 23, 2020
Stimulus check money: A $1,200 payment may still be sent out in 2020

Stimulus check money: A $1,200 payment might still get to you this year


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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

After weeks with little to show for their work, White House and Democratic negotiators continue to express hope they will come to some sort of an agreement on another economic rescue package that includes a stimulus check. If the two sides can pull it off, you could receive up to $1,200 this year in stimulus money from the IRS in 2020 and perhaps more if you have dependents.

Seven in ten people surveyed in a new Gallup poll this week said they support the government sending a second economic impact payment to qualified adults. The poll, released Tuesday, surveyed 5,000 Americans and showed strong support from Democrats, Republicans and independents.

So how much money could you and your family see if another check happens? That depends first on how much is set aside for stimulus checks and second on factors such as your adjusted gross income. We’ve created some scenarios below to help you start calculating the most money you might get and how you should expect your payment to arrive. This story updates often.


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Will you pocket 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 receive

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 reach you

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 hope to vote on a “skinny” coronavirus stimulus package called the Delivering Immediate Relief to America’s Families, Schools and Small Businesses Act (PDF) that week, which 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. 

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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