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Stimulus check money: $1,200 payment might still be sent to you in 2020 – CNET

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Start finding out the maximum payment that could end up in your pocket if another stimulus package comes your way.


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If a second stimulus check arrives, what’s the most money you and your family should expect to receive? The next few weeks in Congress will be critical for answering that question and more. 

Democratic lawmakers still hope to pass a a new coronavirus stimulus relief bill that includes another stimulus check — but Republicans are shifting focus to a round of scaled-back legislation that doesn’t include address a direct payment in the draft proposal.

“The American people are desperately counting on us to meet their needs,” Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said Thursday in a statement.

“If the economy has to wait until the end of September, it will come to a virtual standstill between now and then, and [be] vulnerable to anything else that goes wrong,” said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics, Bloomberg reported. “And given that we are in the middle of a pandemic, there is a lot that can go wrong.”

If another stimulus check is approved, we have a solid notion of how much money you might get. Below, we go through different scenarios that could fit your particular situation, including all the ways we think your money could arrive. This story updates regularly.


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Could you get the whole $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 could receive?

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. 

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The amount of stimulus money you could get in a second round of checks is still undecided. 


James Martin/CNET

If a bill passes, 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 finalize the 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. However, Pelosi called the House to return from its break early to vote on legislation to bolster the US Postal Service on Saturday. Senate Republicans said Monday that they would also introduce a new coronavirus relief bill prior to this 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 delaywhat 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.

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