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A second stimulus check for $1,200? Here’s the status on another round of payments

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Washington is already working on a second round of stimulus payments for US taxpayers.


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Will we see a second round of stimulus checks this year? That outcome seems more likely now than it did several weeks ago when the first relief package of first coronavirus stimulus checks started streaming into bank accounts. Now, legislators in Washington are debating a new economic proposal — called the Heroes Act — for additional payments in 2020. The Heroes Act would provide an extra $1,200 per person (maximum) on top of what the first round of relief checks provided. Worth $3 trillion in total, the relief package passed the House of Representatives and is now with the Senate.

The goal of a second stimulus round is the same as the first: To help keep a shaky US economy from crashing. And the pressure is mounting. Last week, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that 38.6 million Americans sought unemployment benefits (PDF) in the past 10 weeks. And in some states, unemployment has already reached 20%. During a recent Senate hearing, chair of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors Jerome Powell called for additional economic relief. And earlier this month, the International Monetary Fund forecast a deep global recession that could become the worst since the Great Depression.

The pushback to the Heroes Act is strong in the Senate, which suggests that the bill may not pass as is. Possible outcomes include morphing into a different aid package through bipartisan negotiation. It could also fail, with a new proposal taking its place. Or, it could dissipate altogether until a future proposal appears and the process begins anew. The White House has indicated it would support a second stimulus check of some sort, according to CNBC.

Here, we’ll outline how much money you might expect to get, common arguments for and against the proposed act and what happens next. This story updates frequently with new information and is intended to provide an overview of the situation. If you’re waiting for your money, you can track the status of your stimulus check with the IRS and use a free USPS service to see when your check is coming in the mail. We also know some possible reasons why your stimulus check hasn’t arrived.

Second stimulus check: How much money could you get?

The Heroes Act includes a wide range of benefits, such as a second direct payment to individuals and households of up to $1,200 per family member, according to a fact sheet from the House Appropriations Committee (PDF). Here are some breakdowns.

Individuals: Under the proposed law, an eligible person would receive $1,200 if their adjusted gross income, or AGI, from their 2019 federal tax filing or 2018 filing (if you haven’t filed taxes yet) was less than $75,000. As with the current stimulus package, payments would incrementally decrease as your AGI goes up. A chart from the Congressional Research Service shows proposed payments by income (PDF).

Children and dependents: Each dependent would qualify for a $1,200 payment. That includes college students, children over 17, disabled relatives and a taxpayer’s parent. This detail differs from the CARES Act, which provided a $500 payment just for children age 16 and under. Under the bill, dependents would receive retroactive payments to compensate for being passed over in the first stimulus package.

Families: Households would qualify for a maximum payment of $6,000 total, capped at five family members at $1,200 apiece. Your scale of your payment allowance would begin to decrease as you surpass an AGI of $150,000 for married couples filing jointly, or $112,500 for heads of household.

Noncitizens: To qualify for a payment under the current CARES Act, US residents are required to have a Social Security number. With the Heroes Act, those without a Social Security number could instead use an individual taxpayer identification number, which will allow noncitizens to qualify for a payment. As with the stipulation for dependents, people who qualify in this category would receive retroactive payments from the first stimulus package.

We’ll update this story with new information as it arises. While the future of a second stimulus bill remains undecided, we’d like to share available resources about unemployment insurance, what you can do if you’ve lost your job, what to know about evictions and late car payments, and how to take control of your budget.

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