Stimulus check money: $1,200 payment could still reach you this year
Start finding out the maximum payment that could end up in your pocket if another
White House and Democratic negotiators aren’t likely to pick up talks on another stimulus package until after the Republican National Convention wraps up later this week. But if and when they do, both sides agree that a new economic rescue package should include a second stimulus check. Exactly how much money you and your family could expect from the new payment will certainly be part of the discussion.
But for now with negotiations on hold, the timeline for a possible second stimulus payment for qualified Americans remains uncertain. To get around the gridlock, the GOP-led Senate is exploring a “skinny” bill that proposes fewer measures, but reportedly it does not include direct payments. The House of Representatives on Saturday passed a standalone $25 billion bill to fund the USPS. However, it doesn’t mean stimulus checks are off the menu and a more comprehensive bill could still be ahead.
While we don’t know how the next few weeks will unfold, we did the math on how much money you might get with a new check and how your payment might be sent, if a second stimulus payment becomes a reality. We update this story often.
Could you get the entire $1,200? How to start calculating
The Senate’s HEALS Act from July proposed an upper limit of $1,200 per qualified person, but that doesn’t mean you’d get it all. Your tax filing status — specifically your adjusted gross income, or AGI — is the biggest factor in determining how much stimulus money you could receive. Let’s say you’re personally eligible for the full $1,200 (read up more on income limit qualifications here), but what about the rest of your family?
There’s potentially good news there. The first stimulus check, part of the bipartisan CARES Act, left out child dependents who were 17 or older and college students under 24 years old. The Republican HEALS Act plan would include $500 for dependents regardless of age, including children and adults you claim in your tax filings.
The calculations can be tricky, since they take into account your income, your dependents and whether you filed as single, married or head of household. The figures below were based on this calculator The Washington Post put together and could shed some light on what you might get if the HEALS Act were to pass as is.
Stimulus check calculations
|Scenario 1||Scenario 2||Scenario 3||Scenario 4|
|Filed 2019 taxes?||Yes||Yes||No||No|
|Filing status||Single||Head of household||Married||Married|
|2018 or 2019 tax AGI||$80,000||$140,000||$130,000||$130,000|
|Dependents under 17 (CARES Act)||0||1||2||2|
|Dependents over 17 (HEALS Act)||0||0||0||2|
|Calculated check amount||$950||$325||$3,400||$4,400|
What’s the maximum amount of stimulus money your household might expect?
Depending on how negotiations shake out, the total amount your family may get could change. Here’s a look at the caps put in place to give you an idea of what government leaders are thinking.
CARES Act: With the CARES Act from March, there was no limit to the number of children who could count as dependents, as long as they were under 17 and claimed by the taxpayer on the tax return, according to the Tax Foundation. Each dependent would garner the taxpayer $500. Theoretically, a family in which two adults and six children under 17 were eligible for the full amount could receive $5,400.
HEALS Act: Similar to the CARES Act, the HEALS Act put forth by Republicans doesn’t mention a cap on the amount a family may receive. The difference is that it doesn’t limit dependents to those under 17 to qualify for the $500 payment.
Heroes Act: The Heroes Act, put together by the Democratic-led House and which has never been taken up or vetoed by the Senate, would place a cap of $6,000 for households of five or more. Essentially, it proposes $1,200 for each adult and dependent, with a maximum of three dependents per family.
Three ways a new IRS stimulus payment might arrive
While there’s no official plan yet, it’s likely that receiving this second stimulus check will work much like it did the first time around.
Direct deposit: If you filed taxes in 2018 or 2019 and included direct deposit banking information, it’s likely you can receive your check as a direct deposit. Even if you didn’t file your direct deposit information with the IRS during tax season, you should still have options to opt-in. If you asked for an extension on your taxes, you can still file them before the Oct. 15, 2020 deadline and choose to share your direct deposit information with the IRS. If and when a stimulus check happens, the IRS is likely to reopen the online tool it used for the first round and let you log your information then.
A paper check in the mail: If you don’t register your banking details with the IRS, you’ll likely receive a paper check in the mail, which you can deposit or cash. If you’ve recently moved, make sure you file your change of address paperwork. The IRS will use your last known address, which could hold up delivery of your check or otherwise cause a delay.
EIP card: Under the CARES Act, about 4 million people were also sent money in the form of a prepaid “economic impact payment” card, which you spend like cash. The cards came in plain, unmarked envelopes.
Read up on all the finer points of the stimulus check here.
When will Congress settle on second stimulus check plans?
That’s the trillion-dollar question. The Senate adjourned until after Labor Day, with sessions not originally planned to resume until Sept. 8. Senate Republicans said they plan to introduce a new coronavirus relief bill that includes funding for the USPS as well. At this point, it doesn’t seem like this bill will include stimulus check payments, but the Senate’s proposal hasn’t been released yet, so we don’t know for sure.
Here’s more on how the timeline could play out if a bill is passed, including when the IRS could send the first checks.
If you’re still waiting for your first stimulus check, here are 10 possible reasons for a delay, what you can do if you think your payment is lost or has fallen through the cracks and if you could receive two refund checks from the IRS.
Shelby Brown and Alison DeNisco Rayome contributed to this report.