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New stimulus check qualifications? How your eligibility requirements might change

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


Sarah Tew/CNET

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White House and Democratic negotiators are hoping to reach an agreement this week on the next economic rescue package, but the work is slow going and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has told fellow Democrats the two sides may not have a deal till next week, according to Politico on Monday. We don’t have to wait until next week, however, to consider who could qualify for a second stimulus check and who would not. By looking over the Democratic and Republican proposals for the economic legislation, we can sketch out who could be eligible for the next stimulus payment.

The two major stimulus package proposals — the Republican-backed HEALS Act and the Democrat-supported Heroes Act — largely overlap on who would meet the requirements for the new stimulus payment, using guidelines set out for the first stimulus check as a starting point. There are, however, some adjustments that would include groups that were passed over the first time around. 

As the debate stretches into August, here’s what we know about who may or may not be included in the next stimulus payment. Check back frequently for new updates to this story.

Who would get a stimulus check under the HEALS Act

If the HEALS Act becomes law, it would largely follow the payment eligibility 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; 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 under the Heroes Act?

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 didn’t get 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 (AGI) 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 payment eligibility requirements?

While Republican and Democratic negotiators are meeting daily to work out the details of the new stimulus package, the two sides are far apart. 

“There are a lot of issues that are still outstanding,” said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer on Monday, following talks with the administration.

To give negotiators more time to make a deal, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell could push back the start of his chamber’s August 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.

Julie Snyder contributed to this report.



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