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When’s the earliest you could get a second stimulus check? How the timing could shake out

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Who would make the cut for a second stimulus check?


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It’s July, which means Congress is now on the month-long deadline Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell set for the Senate and House to decide on whether Americans will receive a second stimulus check — and when.

“We’re going to stay on the schedule that I announced earlier in the year,” McConnell said in a June 30 briefing. For those wondering if discussions about a new stimulus check will extend beyond July, they won’t, the Senator said: “We will not be here in August.” McConnell has warned that the next relief package will also be the last.

When exactly in July a decision will be finalized is still unknown, but more clues reveal a schedule that could help determine when the IRS starts sending checks, if another stimulus package includes an extra round of payments. That’s assuming you qualify to receive more money. This story updates frequently with new information.

If you’re still waiting on the first round, you can track the status of your stimulus check, see some possible reasons why you don’t have a check yet and learn how to report a missing stimulus check to the IRS.

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Congress is expected to start work soon on a new coronavirus stimulus bill that may put another $1,200 in your wallet.


Angela Lang/CNET

Stimulus check timeline: The dates that matter

Congress hasn’t set a date for a vote on a second stimulus package, but we know the basic timeframe it will work with.

The Senate will take a planned recess starting this Friday, July 3, through July 17 and then go on its August recess from Aug. 10, to Sept. 7, which is Labor Day.

According to Sen. Roy Blunt, members of the Senate will use the remainder of this week and the July break to collect the information they need for a second coronavirus package and then return the last two weeks of July ready to work. “I think the timing is going to be just about right for us to know what we need to know for a package that moves us into August, September and October,” Blunt said on Tuesday.

If the Senate does take up a second stimulus package in July, the bill would presumably need to pass before Friday, Aug. 7 for checks to go out in August. McConnell on Tuesday was clear the Senate would not work through its August recess.

If the Congress does not complete the package by the start of the August break, work would need to resume in September.

White House officials said the executive branch could work on its own proposal through this month, The Wall Street Journal reported in early June.

When could the IRS send a second stimulus payment?

If the House and Senate do give a second round of stimulus checks the green light, it’s not out of the question that the checks could start to be sent out by the IRS in August. For reference, the president signed the CARES Act into law on March 27 and the first stimulus payments went out less than three weeks later, on April 15.

What’s the final date I could receive a second stimulus check?

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A second stimulus bill could be the last for Americans affected by the coronavirus pandemic.


Angela Lang/CNET

While we don’t know anything official — and won’t until another rescue package is official — we can draw on the experience of the first stimulus checks as a potential blueprint. The IRS will have sent about 200 million checks by the time it’s done distributing payments. (The total US population is nearly 330 million people, according to the Census Bureau.)

At the beginning of June, the The House Ways and Means Committee estimated (PDF) as many as 35 million Americans could still be owed a payment. The IRS will continue to disburse the final batches through the end of the year. However, if there are fewer people receiving a second stimulus check, it’s possible that it won’t take as long to send a second round of checks.

If you didn’t get your money yet, here are 10 possible reasons for a delay. If you’re worried you were supposed to receive your check and didn’t, here’s what you can do

Do we still need a second stimulus check? The unemployment debate heats up

Is a second stimulus check necessary? That question is at the heart of this debate. 

“The path forward for the economy remains extraordinarily uncertain and will depend in large part on our success in containing the virus,” said Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell during House testimony on Tuesday. “The path forward will also depend on policy actions taken at all levels of government to provide relief and to support the recovery for as long as needed.”

Weekly jobless claims continue to show a US economy struggling to find its footing. For the week ending June 20, 1.48 million workers filed first-time jobless claims, making 14 straight weeks new claims were over 1 million, the Labor Department reported (PDF). Claims were down slightly from the 1.5 million of the week before.

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A June study (PDF) by the Center on Poverty and Social Policy at Columbia University advanced that without the stimulus money, America’s poverty level could have spiked from 12.5% before the pandemic to 16.3% today. 

The center predicted, “If high unemployment rates persist beyond July 2020, additional income support will be needed” to keep poverty from soaring during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The study also notes the categories of people who aren’t eligible to receive the funds authorized by the CARES Act and that some eligible families are facing roadblocks receiving their benefits. The expanded unemployment benefits keeping some afloat are set to expire at the end of July.

How much money could a second stimulus check bring?

It’s too soon to pinpoint how much money individuals and families could receive. First, it depends on the size of the rescue package as a whole. This figure has already drawn fierce debate, with the House proposing $3 trillion, McConnell saying “it won’t be $3 trillion” and the president in June suggesting at least $2 trillion, according to White House trade advisor Peter Navarro. 

Then it depends on how much of the package would be allocated for individuals and families. The first stimulus check gave individuals up to $1,200 with a total of $2,400 for couples who file for taxes jointly. Dependents under 17 years old netted another $500 apiece. 

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Even with some businesses starting to open, the US has a staggeringly high unemployment rate.


Angela Lang/CNET

What will it take to get a second stimulus check and what happens now?

The passage of a second round of IRS payments appears to depend on two things: how badly the economy is faring and if lawmakers believe a direct payment to millions of people is the best way to respond to the current recession

For now, we wait till the Senate returns from its July recess to take up the next stimulus package. To receive a second check, the proposed rescue package would need to pass both the House and the Senate before receiving a signature from the president. Only then could it take effect. 

After that, the IRS now has a system in place to organize and distribute those checks. But it could be weeks more before you receive a payment.

We’ll continue to update this story with new information as it arises. While the future of a second stimulus bill remains undecided, we’ll share available 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 and how to take control of your budget.



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