Well over 150 million Americans received a first Stimulus Check to help them cope with the economic fallout from the ongoing economic crisis, but with unemployment still at historic levels and millions of Americans, a 2nd Stimulus Check became a top priority.
After months of on-again, off-again negotiations, top Congressional leaders in the House and Senate agreed on a compromise deal that will give the vast majority of Americans a second stimulus check of roughly $600 with an additional $600 for qualified dependents aged 16 and under.
Who Gets a 2nd Stimulus Check?
Individuals earning up to $75,000, heads of household earning up to $112,500, and married couples earning up to $150,000 per year qualify for the entire stimulus check amount, which is $600 for individuals and $1,200 for married couples filing jointly.
The amount your will receive from a 2nd Stimulus Check begins to decrease for individuals and married couples at a rate of $5 for every $100 in income over the threshold until being phased out entirely at $87,000 for individuals, $124,500 for heads of household, and $174,000 for married couples filing jointly.
Dependent children aged 16 and under qualify for an additional $600 per child. Dependent children aged 17 and older are ineligible.
Who Doesn't Get a Check?
Any individual earning $87,001 or more, head of household earning $124,501 or more, and married couples filing jointly earning $174,001 or more does not qualify for any amount.
Dependents aged 17-19 who are claimed on their parents taxes are ineligible for both the entire stimulus check amount and the additional $600 per dependent. Dependents aged 17-24 and claimed on their parents taxes are also ineligible for both the entire stimulus check amount and the additional $600 per dependent.
US citizens married to immigrants without a Social Security Number who file taxes jointly with their non-US citizen spouse are ineligible to receive a 2nd Stimulus Check in 2020, but the US citizen can file their 2020 taxes as an individual and claim both stimulus checks if they meet the income requirements.
In addition, incarcerated individuals and expatriates who have not filed taxes for the years 2018 and 2019 are ineligible to receive a stimulus check, but will be eligible once they update their tax returns.
When Will I Get My Stimulus Check?
Checks are expected to begin being deposited in bank accounts promptly, with paper checks to follow.
People with direct deposit set up with the IRS will receive their stimulus checks first while people who have not set up direct deposit with the IRS may have to wait for a paper check to be mailed.
If you haven't already, you can sign up for direct deposit using the IRS "Get My Payment" portal.
How We Finally Got Another Check
It took months of on again, off again negotiations between the Democratic led House of Representatives, Republican led Senate, and the Trump Administration. There were many times when a deal appeared close and other times one felt out of reach, but eventually everyone came together to pass the second round of stimulus checks.
The House of Representatives passed the HEROES Act, which, among other things, includes a second stimulus check of $1,200 to $2,400 for most American individuals and families.
One major difference in the HEROES Act is that, unlike the first round of stimulus checks, all dependents, including full-time students below age 24 and adult dependents, up to a maximum of three, are eligible for $1,200 each. That means a family a family of five with an income of $150,000 or less could be eligible for up to $6,000.
The HEROES Act also includes an extension of the additional $600/week in unemployment benefits for the unemployed through January 31, 2021.
House Republicans universally voted against the bill, as did a number of moderate and vulnerable Democrats and Congressional Republicans along with President Trump declared the House bill "DOA. Dead on arrival."
Senate Republicans dismissed the House HERO's Act outright, but did not immediately introduce competing legislation that shows where they stand. Two months after the House passed the HERO's Act, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell unveiled a $1 trillion bill he is calling the HEALS Act.
Like the House HERO's Act the House passed, the proposed legislation includes an additional $1,200-$2,400 stimulus check for most Americans and leaves the income levels to receive a check intact. The additional $500 per dependent is included in the proposal, but this time there is no age cap, meaning parents with dependent children aged 17-24 would be able to claim the additional $500 per eligible dependent this time around.
Unlike the House HERO's Act, the Senate HEALS Act reduces the additional $600/week in unemployment benefits by more than half, to $200/week. That amount would be in place until the state an unemployed individual resides in is able to implement a new unemployment system that would provide up to 70% wage replacement for a laid off worker.
This legislation never made it out of committee and was not voted on in the Senate.
President Trump Proposals:
Even though Senate Republicans haven't shown much interest in another round of stimulus checks, President Trump has appeared to be open to it, although he hasn't explicitly said so.
When asked during an interview with a local television station whether there will be another round of stimulus checks sent out to the American people he responded "[Y]eah, we are. We are. We will be doing another stimulus package. It'll be very good. It'll be very generous."
After the interviewer asked him how much Americans can expect to receive President Trump simply said "You'll find out about it. You'll find out."
Multiple members of the Administration almost immediately tamped down expectations by insisting a new round of stimulus checks are "part of something the economic team is studying," but insisted "no decisions made yet."
Other members of the Trump Administration have been cool towards the idea of another round of direct checks to the American people and instead wish to focus the stimulus efforts on propping up businesses and focusing on getting people back to work.
However, that can all change if the pandemic continues to spread in different parts of the country and forces areas that have begun to reopen to temporarily shut back down again.
House and Senate Leadership Compromise
After months of inaction, the top leadership in the House and Senate came together to see if they could find a compromise that would be able to pass both chambers and be signed by the President.
Both sides had to give up some of their top priorities and in the end were able to come to agreement. The compromise overwhelmingly passed both chambers after a frantic period of intense negotiations between the two sides.
Possibility of a 3rd Stimulus Check
While there is no major talk of a 3rd round of stimulus checks in the immediate future, there is a new Presidential Administration that will be sworn in soon and a new Congress that will be taking their seats in January 2021.
President-elect Biden has signaled he wants far more government involvement in helping to prop up the economy and has not ruled out pushing for another round of stimulus checks, so it is entirely possible a 3rd round of stimulus checks could be negotiated and voted on in the near future.