Second stimulus check payment schedule: How soon could the IRS send the money? - CNET

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A second stimulus check is being worked on, but the payment schedule is still unknown. We break down some likely scenarios.

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Congress is in recess (the Senate has adjourned until September and the House of Representatives till Sept. 14), so talks on a new economic stimulus package are currently stalled on Capitol Hill. That makes it difficult to assess when eligible Americans could get the next stimulus check, but we have sketched out a timeline for how soon that could happen after a bill is (theoretically) passed. (Here are five reasons we think that might happen.)

Republican and Democratic leaders both agree to a second $1,200 stimulus check in the rescue package, but the GOP's idea of the size of the bill (preferably $1 trillion) is half of what the other side of the aisle seeks (at least $2 trillion, at this point, down from an original $3.4 trillion).

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has said that he could send a new direct payment faster than the first stimulus check went out, which was 19 days after the CARES Act was passed in March. But when could that second one come through, exactly? Though we've calculated some possible dates below, the answer hinges on serious talks resuming on Capitol Hill that lead to a final deal.

This story updates with new developments.

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How quickly the IRS could deliver the second stimulus check 

Several scenarios could play out. Though unlikely at this stage, Republican and Democratic negotiators could pick discussions back up and reach an agreement in late August, or negotiations could slide into September after the new session begins.

Complicating the timeline, both parties hold their national conventions this month -- the Democrats next week and the Republicans the week after. Meanwhile, the House of Representatives and the Senate are adjourned till after Labor Day.

Here are some possible dates that another stimulus bill could pass and the IRS could send the first checks. For reference, we also include the timeline for the now expired CARES Act. And keep reading for who could get their payment first.

When could the second stimulus checks go out?

Date passed by Senate Date passed by House Date signed First checks sent Original CARES Act

If Senate passes If House passes If President signs First checks could be sent Final negotiated bill

March 25 March 26 March 27 April 15

Sept. 8
Sept. 9
Sept. 10
Week of Sept. 21
Sept. 10 Sept. 11 Sept. 14 Week of Sept. 28
Sept. 14
Sept. 15
Sept. 16
Week of Sept. 28

This group would get their stimulus check first

It's likely the IRS would use roughly 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 and Means (PDF). 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 hadn't 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. 


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

Sarah Tew/CNET

Why your stimulus check could arrive later than other people's

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. That 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 hasn't provided an update on how many people received a stimulus check by Aug. 1.

Now playing: Watch this: Stimulus Check Standoff


Banking status has affected the speed of payments since the CARES Act passed, disproportionately impacting Black Americans and people of color, according to an analysis (PDF) by the 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 didn't 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 latest date you could receive the new stimulus check?

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

The IRS will have sent about 200 million checks by the time the agency is done distributing the first raft of payments. (The total US population is over 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.


Some people are still waiting for their first stimulus check to arrive.

Sarah Tew/CNET

How you can 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.

Shelby Brown contributed to this report.

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