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New stimulus check qualifications? How your eligibility requirements can change

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The final proposal for who may or may not qualify for a second stimulus check is coming into focus.


Sarah Tew/CNET

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If you met the requirements to receive the first stimulus check, does that mean you’ll qualify for the same amount with the second round of payments? Not necessarily. As the starting point for talks about a second stimulus check, the Republicans are pushing their own HEALS Act that uses the guidelines set out for the first stimulus check. Democrats are basing their plan on the Heroes Act, which passed the Democratic-led House back in May.

Studying the Democratic and Republican proposals for the next coronavirus relief package, we can map out who might qualify for the next stimulus payment and who would be left out. The two plans follow a similar path for who would be eligible, but each loops in a few groups passed over for a payment the first time around.

White House and Democratic negotiators are hoping to reach an agreement this week. Here’s what we know about who may or may not be included in the next stimulus payment. Check back for frequent updates to this story.

Who would get a stimulus check if the HEALS Act is passed?

If the HEALS Act becomes law, it would largely replicate the payment eligibility set out in the CARES Act, with a new allowance for dependents:

  • A single US resident with an adjusted gross income, or AGI, 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

Under the CARES Act, the cutoff to receive a $500 dependent check was age 16 and younger; college students under 24 years old were not eligible to receive a check. The Republican proposal would exclude those in prison and people 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 would qualify for the second stimulus check if the Heroes Act is passed?

The Democratic proposal would offer broader eligibility parameters in the Heroes Act, which was advanced by the House of Representatives on May 15. Although Senate Republicans and President Donald Trump oppose the plan, we can look to this bill to see the Democratic position on the upper limits of who might qualify in 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 for a cap of $6,000 per family
  • SSDI recipients
  • People who aren’t US citizens but 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 soon may become clear who can qualify for another stimulus check.


Sarah Tew/CNET

Who wasn’t eligible for a stimulus check under the CARES Act?

Under the CARES Act, which became law in March, these groups were excluded from receiving 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 Congress set eligibility requirements for payment?

While Republican and Democratic negotiators are meeting daily to work out the details of the new stimulus package, the two sides are far apart. However, they’re hoping to make a deal by the end of the week and hold votes next week in the House of Representatives and Senate.

To give negotiators more time to make a deal, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi could push back the start of the August recess, which has happened 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.

Julie Snyder contributed to this report.



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