A second stimulus check could still happen. Why some people will get it sooner than others

September 24, 2020 John Mendoza No Comments


How soon could your second stimulus check come? We lay out some possible dates, from when the bill is passed to when your money could actually arrive.

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Stimulus checks are complex: when the bill authorizing a new round could pass, who would qualify, how much money you could get — and even if you’ll receive your stimulus payment days, weeks or months before or after your neighbor. Factors like the AGI on your taxes, your dependents and even how you receive your money (e.g., with an EIP card) will play into your second stimulus check, if there is one

While the timeline for passing another stimulus bill keeps sliding — lawmakers are focused on passing a stopgap spending measure to avert government shutdown at the end of the month, among other things — we can piece together how quickly the IRS could start sending a second check if it’s approved. 

We’ll also explain how the priority groups worked with the first stimulus check, and how that can help predict where you stand with a second round. Here are the most important stimulus payment topics to know and here’s how to calculate your estimated stimulus money. This story updates often.

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Next stimulus checks: What to expect


The IRS could send payments quickly

When and if another stimulus check happens, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has said it would take about a week to orchestrate the first payments. “I can get out 50 million payments really quickly. A lot of it into people’s direct accounts,” he said.

We’ve speculated potential dates based on calendars from the House of Representatives and the Senate, and also based on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s vow 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.

Dates a second stimulus check could go out

If Senate passes If House passes If president signs First checks could be sent
Final bill Oct. 5 Oct. 6 Oct. 7 Week of Oct. 12
Oct. 9 Oct. 13 Oct. 14 Week of Oct. 19
Dec. 1 Dec. 2 Dec. 3 Week of Dec. 7
Dec. 7 Dec. 8 Dec. 9 Week of Dec. 14
Date passed by Senate Date passed by House Date signed First checks sent
Original CARES Act March 25 March 26 March 27 April 15
If order signed Direct deposit could start First paper checks could start First EIP cards could start
Presidential order Oct. 9 Week of Oct. 19 Week of Nov. 16 Week of Dec. 7

Who gets the new stimulus check first and last?

We expect the IRS would keep roughly the same system for sending out the second stimulus check that it used the first time around, including sending payments in a de-facto priority order that could lead some to receive their checks days or even weeks sooner than others. Several million are still waiting for their first checks to arrive.

Direct deposit is fastest: People who already have their direct deposit information on file with the IRS or do so when and if registration opens again should be first in line to receive their stimulus check. An electronic transfer of funds is faster and more efficient, which is why this group largely got their first check faster.

Social Security beneficiaries: With the first stimulus payment, many people Social Security beneficiaries who had direct deposit information on file with the federal government 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. 

Sarah Tew/CNET

What’s the longest I might have to wait for a second check?

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

These things could delay your check from arriving sooner

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.

A few more resources to help

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.

And here are resources about coronavirus hardship loans and unemployment insurance, what you can do if you’ve lost your job, what to know about evictions and late car payments, if you could receive two refund checks from the IRS and how to take control of your budget.

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