Will You Get a Second Stimulus Check?

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Are you waiting to find out if you will receive another stimulus check? Here's what we know so far.

Since the House of Representatives passed the $3 trillion HEROES Act in May to stimulate the economy and keep American families afloat, the Senate has balked at the high price. It is now the Senate's turn to craft legislation to help the millions of Americans out of work during the deepening recession.

The Senate's first decision was changing the name from the HEROES Act to the Health, Economic Assistance, Liability Protection, and Schools (HEALS) Act. Now they have harder work at hand: slashing the $3 trillion price tag attached to the HEROES Act to a desired $1 trillion.

Expect a second round of checks

According to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, another round of stimulus checks is all but guaranteed. In fact, upon announcing the details of the HEALS Act on Monday, Senate Republicans promised the release of more stimulus money to American families. Of course, until the final bill is signed, we won't know the details.

Likely eligible

If you received a stimulus check last spring, you will almost certainly qualify for this round. Those who can count on a another check include:

  • Social Security recipients (including retirement, survivor, and disability)
  • Railroad Retirement benefit recipients
  • VA Compensation and Pension (C&P) recipients who do not file a tax return
  • Legal immigrants with Social Security numbers and "substantial presence" in the United States, including lawful permanent residents and others with specific visa types
  • Americans citizens below the maximum income guidelines

Likely ineligible

Just as we expect the same people to be eligible who were eligible a few months ago, these are the people we suspect will be ineligible:

  • Those with incomes exceeding the maximum
  • Anyone who can be claimed as a dependent on someone else's return
  • Adults without a Social Security number
  • Nonresident aliens
  • Incarcerated individuals
  • An estate or trust
  • Anyone who filed Form 1040-NR, 1040NR-EZ, Form 1040-PR, or Form 1040-SS for 2019

What about higher income limits?

The version passed in May called for higher income limits, although it seems doubtful Senators will agree, given the Senate leadership's concern over the estimated $3 trillion price tag. We predict income parameters will remain the same. Here's a reminder of those income requirements:

  • Individual taxpayers could earn up to $75,000 adjusted gross income (AGI) and receive a check. From $75,000 to $99,000, stimulus check payments were reduced by 5% for every dollar earned over $75,000.
  • Married couples filing jointly could earn up to $150,000, with payment reduced by 5% for every dollar between $150,000 and $198,000.
  • Head of household earners who made up to $112,500 also received a full check, with payments phased by 5% for every dollar earned between $112,500 and $136,500.

Remember: AGI is based on the amount reported on your 2019 tax return. If you have not filed for the year 2019, it will be based on your 2018 return.

$40,000 confusion

On July 6, McConnell made the comment that people "who make about $40,000 a year or less" should receive a second stimulus check. There are at least three reasons we do not believe McConnell's words will prove predictive.

  1. Millions of Americans have lost the extra $600 per week temporarily added to their unemployment benefits. Some of these Americans are near foreclosure or eviction, cannot afford groceries, and can no longer contribute to the economy. The fastest, most direct way to get money into the hands of people who need it is to follow approximately the same payment system used the first time around.
  2. Someone who lost their job in March of 2020 and is now unable to pay bills may have earned well over $100,000 in 2019. Previous years' income is not a clear indicator of financial need today.
  3. There was no mention of a $40,000 threshold on July 27, when Senate Republicans announced their version of the stimulus package. It is unlikely that they would have omitted such an important point.

Major caveat

Though this article is a fair representation of what we expect will happen over the next few days, anything – and everything – can change. We will watch the situation as it unfolds and update the story to offer you the latest, most accurate news.

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