Will there be a second stimulus check in 2020? You could still receive $1,200 this year - CNET

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

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Will there be a second stimulus check at all, and if so, how much money will be in it for you? After two weeks of stalled negotiations between Washington lawmakers, the answer is murky. According to Republican and Democratic leaders, another bill is still on the table -- and they all agree that a second direct payment is needed to help keep Americans above water during the ongoing coronavirus recession

Though that's the good news, the bad news is that it's now a waiting game. Both the Senate and House of Representatives have taken a recess until September without agreeing on how much financial aid should be in the final stimulus package. It's unlikely talks will resume in August because the Democratic National Convention and Republican National Convention are both happening this month, with the DNC starting Monday. It's not impossible though.

What's still up in the air is the maximum amount of money you and your family could qualify for if another COVID-19 relief bill eventually passes. We've calculated several scenarios that could apply to your situation and looked at the upper limit of what you could get. This story updates often.

Now playing: Watch this: Stimulus Check Standoff


How much money could your entire household receive?

The Senate's HEALS Act from July proposed an upper limit of $1,200 per qualified person, but that doesn't mean you'd get it all. Your tax filing status -- specifically your adjusted gross income, or AGI -- is the biggest determining factor in how much stimulus money you could receive. Let's say you're personally eligible for the full $1,200 (read up more on income limit qualifications here), but what about the rest of your family?

There's potentially good news there. The first stimulus check, part of the bipartisan CARES Act, left out child dependents who were 17 or older and college students under 24 years old. The Republican HEALS Act plan would include $500 for dependents regardless of age, including children and adults you claim in your tax filings.

The calculations can be tricky, since they take into account your income, dependents and whether you filed as single, married or head of household. The figures below were based on this calculator The Washington Post put together and could shed some light on what you might get if the HEALS Act were to pass as is.

Stimulus check calculations

Scenario 1 Scenario 2 Scenario 3 Scenario 4 Filed 2019 taxes? Filing status 2018 or 2019 tax AGI Dependents under 17 (CARES Act) Dependents over 17 (HEALS Act) Calculated check amount
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

Keep track of the coronavirus pandemic.

What's the biggest possible stimulus check your family could count on?

Depending on how negotiations shake out, the total amount your family gets may change. Here's a look at the caps put in place to give you an idea of what government leaders are thinking.

CARES Act: With the CARES Act from March, there was no limit to 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.

HEALS Act: Similar to the CARES Act, the HEALS Act put forth by Republicans 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 to qualify for the $500 payment.

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


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

James Martin/CNET

If a bill passes, how will your IRS stimulus payment arrive?

While there's no 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. 

Brush up on all the finer points of the stimulus check here.

When will Congress finalize stimulus check plans?

That's the trillion-dollar (at least) question. The Senate is adjourned until after Labor Day, so sessions may not resume until Sept. 8 unless an agreement is made before then. Still, there could be 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.

Shelby Brown contributed to this report.

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