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If a second stimulus check is approved, when the IRS could schedule payments


There's no second stimulus check yet, and we don't know when one is coming. But once a bill is passed, here's how quickly you might see your money.

Clifford Colby, Julie Snyder, Shelby Brown, Alison DeNisco Rayome Sept. 23, 2020 10:00 p.m. PT




The House approved a stopgap spending measure to avert shutting down the government at the end of the month, but a bipartisan deal on another economic rescue package may still not be imminent. Early voting for the election has begun, but the deadline to approve more stimulus money -- and when you could receive the next payment -- may not materialize before Nov. 3.

If a second round of direct payments emerges from Washington, the qualifications might not be the same as they were in the first round, and some people could get paid a lot faster than others. Looking at how the IRS sent the first round of stimulus checks to some priority groups before others can offer clues about a possible priority order in a second check; more information is detailed below. Also, make sure you are aware of the most important stimulus payment topics to know, and check back on this story for updates.

The soonest you could see a check is the week of Oct. 12 if Congress passes a full bill

When and if another stimulus check gets the green light, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has said it would take about a week to mobilize the first payments. "I can get out 50 million payments really quickly. A lot of it into people's direct accounts."

We've speculated potential dates based on calendars from the House of Representatives and the Senate, and also based on a statement from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who vowed to keep her chamber in session until a deal is reached.

For reference, we include the timeline for the now-expired CARES Act. The payments don't go out to everyone at once, so read on for which groups of people could get their stimulus money first.

WHEN COULD THE SECOND STIMULUS CHECK GO OUT?

If Senate passesIf House passesIf president signsFirst checks could be sentFinal billSept. 30Oct. 1Oct. 2Week of Oct. 12 Oct. 9Oct. 13Oct. 14Week of Oct. 19 Dec. 1Dec. 2Dec. 3Week of Dec. 7 Dec. 7Dec. 8Dec. 9Week of Dec. 14 Date passed by SenateDate passed by HouseDate signedFirst checks sentOriginal CARES ActMarch 25March 26March 27April 15 If order signedDirect deposit could startFirst paper checks could startFirst EIP cards could startPresidential orderOct. 5Week of Oct. 12Week of Nov. 9Week of Nov. 30


When will the IRS send a second check and in what order?

When the IRS will start sending checks depends entirely on the passage of a new coronavirus relief package, which hasn't happened yet. And we're still not sure when it will happen. 

When and if it does happen, it's likely the IRS would keep roughly the same system for sending out the second stimulus check that it used the first time, including the IRS Get My Payment tool for tracking your stimulus check and registering for direct deposit

That means the agency might also follow the same order for distributing payments, which led some to receive their checks days or even weeks sooner than others. Some are still waiting for their first checks. Here's how it went for the checks that were sent starting April 15:

Direct deposit: Roughly 80 million people who filed 2018 or 2019 tax returns and had already provided the IRS with their direct deposit information (according to the House Committee on Ways and Means). May 13 was the cutoff to register for direct deposit.

Social Security beneficiaries: People who had direct deposit information on file with federal agencies; many still received their checks in the first week, though perhaps not the first day.

Paper checks: The IRS began to mail these about a week later to people without direct deposit data on file. 

Economic Impact Payment debit cards: Prepaid Visa cards that were sent to around 4 million people starting in mid-May.

Last group: Anyone who received their checks after June, is still waiting to receive their stimulus payment or did not know they need to fill out an extra step. Direct payments will continue through the end of 2020 for some individuals who were not part of the previous groups. Here's what could be holding up the stimulus check delivery for some and how to contact the IRS to report a missing, lost or stolen check.

Another stimulus check for up to $1,200 could find its way into your bank account this year. 


How long will it take everyone to get their checks in the mail from the IRS?

While we expect the bulk of people to get their money sooner, if the first round is any indication, it could still take months for the IRS to send all the checks. Six months after the first stimulus payments went out, the federal agency is still trying to track down millions of people who may be owed money.

And even with the experience of processing roughly 160 million payments in the IRS' back pocket, some would probably need to clear a few hurdles to receive their money. Here are common bumps that held up the first stimulus check for some.

There's hope that the IRS could speed up delivery of a second check, if it's authorized.

Angela Lang/CNET

3 possible reasons why your check has been delayed

We won't know details unless, or until, a new bill passes and the IRS gears up to send another round of checks, but here are sticking points to watch for.

Changes to aid for dependents: If Congress expands or narrows the definition of a dependent in the next bill, it could require the IRS to adjust its accounting system. That may potentially slow processing your payment. Calculate how much you get if the rules change to include more people as eligible dependents.

Banking status: If your banking status changes, it could hold up receipt of your payment. Banking status disproportionately impacted Black Americans and other people of color, according to an analysis by the think tank Urban Institute. People who identify as white and whose incomes were above the poverty line were more likely to have received their first stimulus check by the end of May than people who identify as Black, Hispanic or below the poverty line, the analysis found.

Nonfilers need to take an extra step: People who earn below the threshold to be required to file federal income tax returns in 2018 or 2019 also would not get a stimulus check unless they completed an online form for the IRS. This group includes low-income families with children and a far greater number of Black people and people of color. Over 9 million people have until Oct. 15 to claim their checks.


If you still have questions, here's more resources

If you're still waiting on the first round of payments, you can track the status of your stimulus check, learn how to report your no-show check to the IRS and find possible reasons why your stimulus check still hasn't arrived.

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