September 18, 2020
How soon might the next stimulus check get to you? Here are some possible IRS payment dates

When would you get the next stimulus check? The payment could come sooner than you think


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A second stimulus check is expected to pass, but the payment schedule is still unknown. We break down some likely scenarios.


Sarah Tew/CNET

White House and Democratic negotiators are now in their second week of discussion on the new stimulus package, are all but guaranteed to include a second stimulus check, but movement is slow. Once the two sides reach an agreement, one thing could happen quickly: getting the IRS to send the first payments of up to $1,200.

“I could have them out immediately,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Sunday. “If I could get [the next stimulus bill] passed tomorrow, I could start printing them the following week.” The first stimulus checks were sent 19 days after the CARES Act became law. 

The biggest holdup now is the chasm between Senate Republicans and the White House on one side and House of Representatives Democrats on the other. If the two sides don’t reach a decision by Aug. 7 — the Senate’s last day before a scheduled month-long recess — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi could delay their respective August recesses until they pass a bill.

“We are making some progress on certain issues, moving closer together,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said on Monday. “There are a lot of issues that are still outstanding.”

Assuming the bill passes this Friday, when could the checks arrive and who could get them first? Read on for all we know right now, based on the current negotiations. This story is updated constantly.

When the IRS could send the next stimulus checks

The Senate’s last day in session before its August recess is Aug. 7, which means Congress has to agree on a final stimulus bill before then if it keeps to its planned schedule (which could change). After that, senators are scheduled to return to their home states until the next session picks up again Sept. 8. However, we do know that McConnell and Pelosi have the power to push back the recess and keep senators in Washington longer if needed.

With Mnuchin’s promise of sending the first checks within a week after the bill passes, we have an idea how long it’ll take from the time the bill is signed into law to the time the IRS sends checks. For reference we have the timeline set by the CARES Act to send checks. Keep reading for how checks could arrive sooner.

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
Proposal date Negotiations begin Negotiation time before deadline Proposed deadline to pass a bill
HEALS Act July 27 July 27 7 to 9 days Aug. 7
If Senate passes If House passes If President signs First checks could be sent
Final negotiated bill Aug. 6 Aug. 7 Aug. 10 Week of Aug. 17
Sept. 8 Sept. 9 Sept. 10 or Sept. 11 Week of Sept. 21


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Who could get their stimulus check first? 

It’s likely the IRS would use about 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

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 & Means. Following that model, the next stimulus payment could first reach people who have already registered for direct deposit, either as part of their 2019 tax filing or before.

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.) 

Paper checks didn’t start getting mailed out until about a week later, to people who had not signed up for direct deposit, but you could still register for the electronic bank transfer as late as May 13. The first Economic Impact Payment debit cards, which are prepaid, were sent in mid-May to about 4 million people. 

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Another check for up to $1,200 could find its way into your mailbox.


Sarah Tew/CNET

What would cause you to get your stimulus check later than others

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 Democrat-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, which could 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 received the stimulus money through direct deposit, 35 million through a check in the mail, and 4 million through a prepaid debit card. The IRS has not provided an update on how many people received a stimulus check by August 1.

Banking status has affected payment speed since the CARES Act passed, disproportionately impacting Black people and people of color, according to an analysis (PDF) by 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 did not 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.

When’s the last date I would get the new stimulus check?

Once again, the schedule for the first stimulus checks can provide a potential roadmap, though there’s no official news until another rescue package is finalized.

The IRS will have sent about 200 million checks by the time it’s done distributing the first raft of payments. (The total US population is nearly 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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US workers are experiencing a staggeringly high unemployment rate.


Angela Lang/CNET

Would this be the final stimulus check?

In May, McConnell said that this next coronavirus relief bill will also be the last. The course of COVID-19 infections will certainly play a role in future debates over the best way to bolster the economy. Coronavirus infections began surging in June, with record numbers of infections rising in July.

The White House, however, might try to squeeze in one more stimulus check before November. “There is likely going to be another round of stimulus come the fall,” said Kevin Cirilli, Bloomberg News’ lead Washington correspondent, said on July 27. “The president sees this [current HEALS Act stimulus package] as not his last economic pitch ahead of the election.”

How can you get more help?

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.

Here are even more 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.

Julie Snyder contributed to this report.



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