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Stimulus check qualifications: Are you eligible to collect more money from the IRS? – CNET

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Congress hasn’t yet agreed who’ll be eligible to receive a second stimulus check, but it’s expected that more people will be included the second time around.


Sarah Tew/CNET

Negotiators for a new stimulus bill have a clear path to begin again, now that both the Republican and Democratic national conventions are over. Talks have made no visible progress in the last few weeks as those political events took center stage. After almost a month of stalled negotiations, could you still end up qualifying for a second stimulus check?

First, negotiations must resume before information on who would be eligible for a payment would emerge. “Democrats are willing to resume negotiations,” Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said in a statement released on ThursdayWhite House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said Wednesday that he was hopeful that the sides could reach common ground on legislation, but a call Thursday with Pelosi yielded no new advancements.

We don’t know when or if a new bill could pass, or even when we’ll know more about what could be in its final contents, but we can arrange some puzzle pieces for insight on who could qualify if it does. For example, if rules shift, you might not automatically get another round of stimulus money, even if you received the first direct payment. But there is at least one demographic that was left out last time that could be incorporated into a new stimulus check. Read on for more explanation. As the situation develops, we update this story with new information.

Second stimulus check: Here’s who could be eligible

While we won’t know for certain who will qualify for a new stimulus payment until legislation is passed, we can draw from the first stimulus check’s eligibility requirements to get an idea of who may or may not get a second check, including the income limits and number of dependents.

Both Republicans and Democrats are using adjusted gross income, or AGI, to determine the payment amount for individuals and families, which would cap at $1,200 for individuals and $2,400 for married couples.

Who might qualify for the next stimulus check

Qualifying group Likely to be in final bill Unlikely to be in final bill Unknown
Individual An AGI of less than $99,000, under both proposals
Head of household An AGI of less than $146,500, under both proposals
Couple filing jointly income An AGI less than $198,000, under both proposals
Dependents of any age No dependents limit specified, under HEALS Act Up to three dependents, under Heroes Act
Noncitizens who pay taxes Under Heroes Act
Incarcerated Under CARES Act
Owe child support CARES Act excludes those who owe child support. Heroes Act includes them
US citizen living aboard Included under CARES Act
Live in US territory Under CARES Act, payments handled by each territory’s tax authority
SSDI recipients Included under CARES Act
Non tax filers Included under CARES Act

More dependents may qualify for a second payment

The CARES Act took a narrow approach to defining a dependent and allowed a $500 payment only for a child age 16 or younger in the family. The HEALS and Heroes Acts both take a broader definition and allow any dependent you claim to qualify for a payment — college students, children over 17, disabled relatives and taxpayers’ parents.

The Democratic plan as outlined in the Heroes Act would cover $1,200 each, for up to three dependents, so a family of five people could receive a maximum of $6,000. We don’t think this is a likely outcome in the final bill, considering the Senate has not addressed it.

Like the CARES Act, the Republican plan outlined in the HEALS Act would provide $500 for each dependent, but doesn’t specify a cap on the number of dependents.


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Who did not get the first stimulus check

For the payments authorized under the CARES Act, which became law in March, these groups were excluded:

  • Single taxpayers with an AGI over $99,000
  • Heads of households with an AGI over $136,500
  • Married couples with an AGI over $198,000
  • Children over 16 and college students under age 24
  • Nonresident aliens, as defined by the US government

When will Congress agree on stimulus check requirements?

Right now, the timeline for discussions is up in the air. Talks between Republican and Democratic negotiators on the new stimulus package stalled, but the two sides have signaled they are willing to pick up the debate. The Senate is on break until after Labor Day and the House after passing USPS funding having nothing scheduled. The chances of a deal in August are increasingly unlikely, but an agreement in September is now in the picture. After the sides reach a deal, the stimulus bill won’t take effect until the president signs it into law. 

While we won’t know for sure until the two sides come together on the next stimulus package, we have a good idea of when a check could be sent if a new bill passes.

For more, here’s what we know about the major proposals for a second stimulus package. We also have information on unemployment insurance, what you can do if you’ve lost your job, if you could receive two refund checks from the IRS and what to know about evictions.

Shelby Brown contributed to this report.

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