A second round of stimulus checks will be sent to Americans under the new coronavirus relief deal that Democratic and Republican leaders reached on Sunday. But the direct payments will be half as much as the first.
The news comes eight months after the first stimulus checks of up to $1,200 — plus $500 for child dependents — were sent out. In this deal, the payments will be up to $600 for individuals and $600 for each child dependent.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) agreed on the new $900 billion stimulus package after a series of meetings last week, breaking a months-long gridlock in negotiations. Around $166 billion of the package is earmarked to go directly to Americans’ wallets.
Under the CARES Act, around 160 million Americans received a stimulus payment of up to $1,200 — plus $500 for any child dependent — amounting to over $270 billion out of the $2.2 trillion relief package passed in March.
Here’s what you need to know about the second round of stimulus checks.
Who gets a stimulus check?
Your eligibility will be based on your most recent tax return and your adjusted gross income. For the second round of checks, the Internal Revenue Service will use your 2019 tax return to determine if you qualify for the direct payment.
Social Security beneficiaries, Disability Insurance beneficiaries, Supplemental Security Income recipients, Railroad Retirement Board beneficiaries, and Veterans Administration beneficiaries all are eligible for the payment even if they didn’t file a 2019 tax return.
Eligible taxpayers who used the IRS Non-Filer tool for the first round of checks will be treated as providing returns and will also receive payments.
Single adults with income up to $75,000 will get the full $600 payment. Married couples with income up to $150,000 will get $1,200. Single parents who file as head of household with income up to $112,500 will get the full $600 check.
Additionally, Americans who qualify for the stimulus payment and have children will get an additional $600 per child under 17.
The payment will be reduced at a rate of $5 per $100 of additional income over $75,000 for single adults and $150,000 for married couples. Reduced payments will be available for single adults without children who earn between $75,001 and $87,000 and married couples without children who earn between $150,001 and $174,000. The phaseout thresholds change depending on the number of children in the household. A family of four will not receive a check if their income exceeds $198,000.
Deceased people may also receive a payment. Checks will go to all eligible taxpayers who were alive as of Jan. 1, 2020.
Who doesn't get a check?
Those without a Social Security number and nonresident aliens — those who aren’t a U.S. citizen or U.S. national and don’t have a green card or have not passed the substantial presence test — are not eligible for the direct payment.
Married taxpayers who file jointly where one spouse has a Social Security Number and one spouse doesn’t will get one $600 payment, in addition to $600 per child with a Social Security Number.
Adult children whose parents claim them as a dependent on their taxes are also ineligible.
When will the stimulus check arrive?
The second round of stimulus checks could be distributed as early as next week, according to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.
“People are going to see this money at the beginning of next week. It's very fast,” Mnuchin told CNBC on Monday morning. “This is a very, very fast way of getting money into the economy.”
The CARES Act was signed by President Trump on March 27 and the majority of stimulus checks were distributed by mid-April. The IRS has more information about eligible recipients this time around, which could potentially speed up the distribution process.
The bill is expected to pass the two chambers of Congress on Monday, although delays are possible. For the bill to become law, it has to be sent to the president for a signature, which could take additional days after Congress passes it.
The checks will be directly deposited into a taxpayer’s bank account if they received their last tax refund or expect to receive this year’s refund that way. If not, paper checks or debit cards will be mailed, which could take longer to get to Americans. Around 10 million are expected to be sent out every week between now and Jan. 15.
All payments should be sent out by Jan. 15, according to the bill’s text.
How will the government send you the stimulus check?
The IRS will use the direct deposit information you provided from the taxes you’ve filed for 2019.
You may be able to use the IRS’ Non-Filers tool to provide your information like the first round. But, so far, the IRS has not announced whether that tool will be available this time around.
The tool was for eligible U.S. citizens or permanent residents who had gross income below $12,200 ($24,400 for married couples) for 2019 and weren’t required to file a 2019 federal tax return.
If you have no direct deposit information on file or if the account provided is now closed, the IRS will mail you a check, instead.
If you received no payment and you think you’re eligible or you’ve got the wrong amount you’ll be able to claim it on 2020 tax return.
Do you have to pay back the stimulus check?
No, you don’t have to pay it back. It also doesn’t reduce any refund you would otherwise receive.
“No, there is no provision in the law requiring repayment of an Economic Impact Payment,” the IRS website said about the first round of checks.
If you were supposed to get a larger sum based on your 2020 income but got a reduced amount because of your 2019 income, then the government will pay you the difference when you file your taxes for 2020.
If your payment is too high based on your 2020 income, you’re not responsible for paying back the difference.