Second Stimulus Check: What To Expect If Lawmakers Approve More Aid – Forbes

US Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell walks out of the Senate chamber at the US Capitol in … [+] Washington, DC, on August 10, 2020.

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As Americans continue to grapple with the economic conditions caused by the coronavirus pandemic, many are wondering when—or even if—another stimulus check will arrive in taxpayers’ mailboxes. Over the past several weeks, Democrats and Republicans have battled fiercely over several key issues before the Aug. 7 congressional recess—only to come up short before the deadline.

One of the only parts of the second stimulus package that both parties seem to agree to is the need for a second direct payment to taxpayers. The three presidential memorandums and one executive order—which President Trump signed as Congress hit a stimulus package stalemate—do not address stimulus checks.

Nobody knows for certain the timeline for a second stimulus check, but here’s what lawmakers have discussed.

What We Know About the Next Stimulus Check

Once Congress approved the CARES Act and the president signed the bill, it took roughly three weeks for the first stimulus checks to begin appearing in taxpayers’ bank accounts. According to the Washington Post, the checks were issued in order of “need” based on income level. If lawmakers settled their differences and approved a second stimulus this week, we could see checks issued as early as Labor Day weekend.

Stimulus Check Amount Americans May Receive

Americans who received the first stimulus check will likely receive the same amount of aid during a second stimulus, as lawmakers have agreed check eligibility should mirror the CARES Act. The CARES Act, passed back in March, along with both the HEALS and HEROES Acts, all outline the same guidelines and payment amount for recipients:

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  • $1,200 to single filers earning under $75,000 per year 
  • $2,400 for joint filers earning under $125,000 per year
  • Reduced $5 per $100 of income above those limits
  • Individuals with no children with incomes over $99,000 did not qualify
  • Married couples with no children with incomes over $198,000 did not qualify

One of the large critiques of the CARES Act was how dependents were considered. In the CARES Act, only qualifying children under 17 years old who did not provide for more than half of their own expenses and lived with the eligible taxpayer for more than six months are eligible. Each dependent qualified for an extra $500 check, with no limit to how many dependents were claimed. This meant that dependents such as college students and the elderly did not qualify. Both parties aimed to change that in the next round of stimulus bills.

HEALS Act vs. HEROES Act

The GOP proposed the HEALS Act, which would give Americans a similar $500 per dependent, but with no age limit. So adult dependents such as college students or elderly relatives would qualify for the additional benefit. Under the HEALS Act, a family of five who make under $198,000 would receive $3,900 in stimulus.

The Democrats agreed upon the HEROES Act, which would give $1,200 per dependent, with a maximum of three dependents. So a family of five who make under $198,000 would net $6,000 in stimulus under the HEROES Act.

While the qualifications remain the same, the outcome for many families based on dependents can vary widely. With 25% of Americans saying they are extremely or moderately concerned they will not be able to pay their bills on time in the next three months, there is urgency for lawmakers to pass this to get much needed funds in Americans pockets.

If You Qualify, Ensure You Receive Your Stimulus Check

The first stimulus check, while helpful, had issues reaching many Americans. Months after the initial checks were sent, headlines were appearing that millions of Americans hadn’t received their funds, while billions of dollars were issued to the deceased.

According to the House Committee on Ways and Means, the IRS still had yet to pay out between 30 million and 35 million checks as of early June. But two months later, House Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal and Sen. Ron Wyde said in a letter that the IRS “appears to have made little progress towards issuing the remaining payments.”

While a second stimulus check has yet to be announced, there are several things you can do to ensure you receive your stimulus check, if one is approved.

  • Utilize the Get My Payment tool on the IRS website to track the status of your check or submit your banking information to utilize direct deposit.
  • Open all of your mail carefully. Some stimulus recipients were sent Economic Impact Payment (EIP) cards in the mail. Those can easily be mistaken as junk mail.
  • If you have moved, be sure to update your mailing address with the United States Postal Service. If the banking information is rejected for direct deposit, your check will be sent in the mail. And unfortunately, there is no formal system in place if your check is lost.
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