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Will we get a second stimulus check and if so, when? What we know today

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Who would make the cut for a second stimulus check?


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There’s no decision yet about whether Americans will get a second stimulus check — or precisely when — and the pressure mounts day by day. While Congress holds the purse strings to approve another coronavirus relief act, other players have been vocal about what it will take to pull the US economy back from recession.

“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 June 30. “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.”

But when exactly these actions take place is another matter. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said for weeks that the Senate will deliberate on a second stimulus check in July, but that doesn’t tell the whole story. A Senate recess that begins after this Friday will also impact when a discussion can actually get underway and when another stimulus check could get approved, if that does in fact happen. 

Politico reported on Tuesday that the Senate could pick up the discussion in the middle of July.

Read on for what we know about the government’s timeline, including when you might expect to see a check. Here’s what we’re hearing about who might and might not qualify for a second check. 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 there are some important dates to keep in mind. Senate is out for a planned recess from July 3 through 17 for the Fourth of July holiday and to work in their home states. Another recess occurs from Aug. 10 through Sept. 7, which includes Labor Day (Sept. 7).

If the Senate takes up the rescue bill in mid-July as reported by Politico on June 30, the bill would presumably need to pass before Friday, Aug. 7 for checks to go out in August. Otherwise, based on the Senate schedule, work would need to resume in September.

Throughout June, McConnell has cited July as the start date for stimulus check debate (for example here and here). He has also said the next relief package would be America’s last.

White House officials said the executive branch could work on its own proposal through July, The Wall Street Journal reported in early June. Before White House and Republican leaders begin negotiating the details of a new stimulus proposal, they want to evaluate how much money allocated to the first stimulus checks and other aid for businesses has actually been spent, CNBC reported.

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.)

In 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. 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.

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. 

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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 for July, when Washington plans to begin work on 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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