Second stimulus check for 2020: What's the most money you could receive? It depends - CNET

5 months ago 268

With another stimulus package in the works, how much money could end up in your pocket?

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You've got something on your mind: How big your next stimulus check could be, and how much money you and your family could get with the next payment. The answer to that depends on a lot of factors outside of your control, including whether a deal can be reached by the end of today and what will happen if it isn't.

Based on the final bill's eligibility requirements, you could get a check that's bigger than what you got from the first stimulus payment. If negotiators base the rescue package on the HEALS Act, for example, some families could receive an additional $500 for dependents who didn't qualify the first time. Both the Democratic-led House of Representatives and President Donald Trump have proposed larger stimulus payments, though a bigger check seems like a long shot at this late stage.

Reaching the end of the second week of negotiations, the chances of coming to an agreement before the weekend looks iffy. Negotiators met Thursday, but walked away without a deal. 

"I think there's a lot of issues we are close to a compromise position on," Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said afterward, "But I think there's a handful of very big issues that we're still very far apart."

What does this all mean for the amount of your stimulus check? Read on for everything we know right now. This story updates often.

Now playing: Watch this: Stimulus standoff on Capitol Hill


How much of the $1,200 second stimulus check could be heading your way?

The Senate's HEALS Act proposes an upper limit of $1,200 per qualified person, but that doesn't mean you'll be able to get it all. Your tax filing status helps determine your share, among other factors.

The first stimulus check left out child dependents who were 17 or older and university students under 24 years old. The Republican plan would include $500 for dependents regardless of age, such as children and adults you claim in your tax filings.

Stimulus check calculations

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

The calculations can be tricky, and they depend on aspects of your 2019 taxes, such as your adjusted gross income and whether you filed as single, married or head of household. We can't say for sure that the figures above follow the IRS' internal rubric, which were based on this handy calculator that The Washington Post put together

That could shed some light, however, on what you might get if the HEALS Act were to pass as is.

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What's the biggest check your family could expect to get?

Depending on how negotiations shake out, the total amount your family gets could change. Here's a look at the caps put in place by all three main proposals so far.

CARES Act: With the CARES Act from March, which is now expired, there was no limit on the number of children who could count as dependents as long as they were under 17 and claimed by the taxpayer on their 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.

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

HEALS Act: Similar to the CARES Act, the HEALS Act 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 in order to qualify for the $500 payment.


How much stimulus money you could get in August is still undecided.

James Martin/CNET

How would the IRS send your payment to you?

While there's not an official plan yet, it's likely that receiving this second stimulus check will work much like it did the first time around. If you filed taxes in 2018 or 2019 and included direct deposit information, it's likely you can receive your check as a direct deposit. If not, you could get it in the mail as a paper check. Under the CARES Act, some people were also sent money in the form of a prepaid "economic impact payment" card, or EIP. 

When will Congress come to an agreement on the stimulus check?

That's the (at least) trillion dollar question. The two sides are still debating the details of the new proposal. If negotiations continue into next week, there's still an opportunity to craft a bill that includes stimulus checks, which has bipartisan support. Here's more on the timeline, 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 is lost or has fallen through the cracks and if you could receive two refund checks from the IRS.

Julie Snyder and Shelby Brown contributed to this report.

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