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Who could qualify for additional stimulus check money? Perhaps these three surprising groups – CNET


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

Ever since whispers about a second stimulus check began, the next two logical questions are how much money can you expect to get and if you and your family can plan to receive it. While we won’t know the final requirements before an agreement is made for a new direct payment, we have plenty of clues to work with, including eligibility for new groups of people who weren’t counted for the first check.

Right now, there’s still so much in flux, including effort to restart talks. But there are signs the momentum will once again pick up, as both Democratic and White House negotiators agree on the need for a new stimulus package.

“We will continue to work with Senate and House on bipartisan relief,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said during a House subcommittee hearing on Tuesday. “I believe that bipartisan agreement should be reached.”

If another stimulus bill does pass, here’s a head start on which requirements could make it into a final bill, based on two proposals and the original act. This story updates with new information.

Second stimulus check: Everyone who could qualify

We won’t know for certain who will qualify for a new stimulus payment until Congress passes the legislation. We can, however, draw from the first stimulus check’s eligibility requirements and the Heroes Act and HEALS Act proposals (neither of which is law) to get an idea of who may or may not get a second check, including a few unexpected qualifiers below. 

Scroll down for the full list of who could qualify.

Dependents of any age: While the initial payments authorized under the CARES Act included $500 for dependents aged 16 and younger, the HEALS and Heroes Act would both loop in any dependent, regardless of age, including college students and adult dependents. The Democratic plan would extend $1,200 each, for up to three dependents, so a family of five people could receive a maximum of $6,000. The Republican plan would provide $500 for each dependent you claim on your taxes, but the HEALS Act doesn’t specify a cap on the number of dependents.

Citizens living abroad: While the checks are designed to provide financial assistance to Americans during the pandemic and boost the local US economy, citizens living abroad could also qualify under current proposals. The same applies to many people living in US territories like Puerto Rico and Guam, however, it’s currently the territories’ tax authorities that distribute the payments, not the federal government.

Noncitizens who pay taxes: To qualify for the first checks, recipients needed a social security number. The Democrats’ Heroes Act would include noncitizens who file their income tax with an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN).

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
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 3 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 U.S. 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

Who did not receive the first stimulus payment

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
  • People who are incarcerated
  • People who died since the previous tax filing (Their families may not collect on their behalf and are expected to return the payment.)

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When will Congress agree on new 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 have nothing scheduled. 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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