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New stimulus check qualifications? Everything we know about the requirements today

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The proposals for who may or may not qualify for a second stimulus check are coming into focus.


Angela Lang/CNET

Lawmakers are battling over the details of the next economic relief package, but there seems to be at least one point of consensus, that a second stimulus check should happen. The longer government leaders negotiate, the longer it could take you to receive your payment. That’s assuming you’re eligible for any or all of it to begin with. 

While the Republican-backed HEALS Act does expand eligibility in one key way, we know from the House of Representatives’ Heroes proposal in May that Democrats advocate for a much broader package that includes payments for more people who were skipped with the CARES Act. 

Here’s who would qualify for another stimulus check, following the Republican and Democratic proposals. Seeing who missed out on the first stimulus payment could also help set the framework for who may not be included in this second round of checks. We update this story frequently as new information becomes available.

Here’s who could get a stimulus check under the HEALS Act

The Senate Republicans’ HEALS Act would follow the payment guidelines set out in the CARES Act, with a new adjustment for dependents:

  • A single US resident with an adjusted gross income less than $99,000.
  • A head of a household earning under $146,500.
  • A couple filing jointly without children and earning less than $198,000.
  • A dependent of any age. 

In the CARES Act, the cutoff to receive a $500 dependent check was age 16 and younger and college students under 24 were not eligible to receive a check. The Senate proposal would exclude those in prison and who recently died from qualifying for a check. The bill would also prohibit creditors and banks from seizing the payment to pay debts.

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Who qualifies for a new stimulus check under the Democratic plan?

The broadest eligibility parameters suggested so far come from the Heroes Act, which was proposed by the House of Representatives on May 15. Although it has been fiercely opposed by Senate Republicans and President Donald Trump, we can look to this bill to help frame the conversation about the upper limits of who might qualify for a broad proposal:

  • Individuals who made less than $99,000 according to the adjusted gross income from their 2018 or 2019 taxes (whichever was most recently filed).
  • College students, dependents over 17, disabled relatives and taxpayers’ parents.
  • Families of up to five people.
  • SSDI recipients.
  • People who aren’t US citizens and do file tax returns, pay taxes and otherwise comply with federal tax law using an individual taxpayer identification number instead of a Social Security number.
$20 bills and credit cards in a wallet

It may soon become clear who can qualify for another stimulus check.


Sarah Tew/CNET

Who didn’t get a stimulus check under the CARES Act?

These groups did not meet the requirements for the first payment:

  • Single taxpayers with an adjusted gross income above $99,000.
  • Heads of households with an AGI over $136,500.
  • Married couples with an AGI over $198,000.
  • Children over 16 and college students under age 24.
  • Nonresident aliens, as defined by the US government.

When will the eligibility requirements be finalized?

While the two sides are now debating the details of the new stimulus package, they are far apart from reaching agreement. To give negotiators more time to reach a deal, McConnell could push back the start of upcoming Senate recess, which he has done before. After the sides reach an agreement, the stimulus bill won’t take effect until the president signs it into law. 

And while we won’t know for sure until the two sides come together on the next stimulus package, we have a good idea what Congress’ deadline is and when a check could be sent

For more, here’s what we know about the major proposals for a second stimulus package. We also have information on unemployment insurance, what you can do if you’ve lost your job, if you could receive two refund checks from the IRS and what to know about evictions.



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