Second stimulus check: This is how soon the IRS could send it, after Congress makes a deal - 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.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Nearing the end of the second week of debate over the next stimulus package, White House and Democratic negotiators continue to look for common ground. "But we're very far apart," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Thursday evening, following talks with administration officials on the bill. As the discussions drag on, the date you could receive a second stimulus check will also get pushed back. When you would receive that new payment depends in large part on when the two sides reach an agreement.

To cut the time between passage of the bill and when the first wave of the new stimulus checks could go out, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the IRS could "start printing [stimulus checks] the following week" after a deal is sealed, which would beat the 19 days it took for the federal agency to send out the first stimulus payments after the CARES Act was passed back in March. "I could have them out immediately," Mnuchin said.

With those clues, we have a good idea when checks could be sent and who might receive them first, once the final package is passed. Here's everything we know right now, based on the current negotiations. This story updates frequently to include the latest information.

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How soon the IRS could send the second stimulus checks

There are several scenarios that could play out. It's looking unlikely the two sides could agree on a bill by the end of today's self-imposed deadline. However, on the slim chance it does happen by the end of Friday, a bill could pass the week of Aug. 10, as the House and Senate have extended the length of their current session.

Whenever it does pass, Mnuchin's promise of sending the first checks a week later gives us a new timeline to work from in forecasting when the first people could get their checks. For reference, we also include the dates followed by the CARES Act.

Keep reading for who could get their payment first.

When could the second stimulus checks go out?

Original CARES Act

Final negotiated bill

Date passed by Senate Date passed by House Date signed First checks sent
March 25 March 26 March 27 April 15

If Senate passes If House passes If President signs First checks could be sent
Monday, Aug. 10 Tuesday, Aug. 11 Wednesday, Aug. 12 Week of Aug. 17
Tuesday, Aug. 11
Wednesday, Aug. 12 Thursday, Aug. 13 Week of Aug. 17
Thursday, Aug. 13 Friday, Aug. 14 Monday, Aug. 17 Week of Aug. 24
Monday, Sept. 8 Tuesday, Sept. 9 Wednesday, Sept. 10 Week of Sept. 21

Who could 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. 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. 


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

Sarah Tew/CNET

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

Now playing: Watch this: Stimulus standoff on Capitol Hill


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 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 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 you could 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 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.


US workers are experiencing a staggeringly high unemployment rate.

Angela Lang/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.

Julie Snyder and Shelby Brown contributed to this report.

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