Stimulus check money: A $1,200 payment might still head your way in 2020

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Calculate the maximum payment that could end up in your pocket if another stimulus package comes your way.

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With the Republican National Convention concluding this evening, White House and Democratic negotiators are expected to pick up talks on another stimulus package. places to visit in rishikesh prepare for a return to the table, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows spoke on the phone Thursday afternoon, though no resolution was reached. At the heart of the matter is how much money Congress would authorize for the next rescue bill, and what impact that could have on both a second stimulus payment and who would qualify for a payment.

The pressure remains for negotiators to provide immediate relief as new unemployment claims remain near or above 1 million for 23 straight weeks.

Amid all the uncertainty, it’s still possible to start thinking about how much money your family could expect, and if it will be a higher amount than the first round of checks. For example, revising any rule from the CARES Act passed in March, such as the proposal to make more dependents eligible, might create a domino effect on the size of your potential payment. Remember, the $1,200 amount from March is the per person maximum, and a complex set of rules would once again determine the percentage you’d be able to receive, either as an individual or family unit.

Read on to calculate the maximum you might be able to get with a new check, based on what we know of the current proposals and what happened with the first stimulus payment. This story is updated often.

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Could you get the whole $1,200? How to start calculating

The Senate’s HEALS Act from July proposed an upper limit of $1,200 per qualified person, but that doesn’t mean you’d get it all. Your tax filing status — specifically your adjusted gross income or AGI — is the biggest factor in determining how much stimulus money you could receive. Let’s say you’re personally eligible for the full $1,200 (read up more on income limit qualifications here), but what about the rest of your family?

There’s potentially good news there. The first stimulus check, issued as part of the bipartisan CARES Act, left out child dependents who were 17 or older and college students under 24 years old. The Republican HEALS Act plan would include $500 for dependents regardless of age, including children and adults you claim in your tax filings.

The calculations can be tricky, since they take into account your income, your dependents and whether you filed as single, married or head of household. The figures below were based on this Washington Post calculator and could shed some light on what you might get if the HEALS Act were to pass as is.

Stimulus check calculations

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Dependents over 17 (HEALS Act)





Calculated check amount





What’s the maximum amount of stimulus money your household might receive?

Depending on how negotiations shake out, the total amount your family may get could change. Here’s a look at the caps put in place to give you an idea of what government leaders are thinking.

CARES Act: With the CARES Act from March, there was no limit to the number of children who could count as dependents, as long as they were under 17 and claimed by the taxpayer on the tax return, according to the Tax Foundation. Each dependent would garner the taxpayer $500. Theoretically, a family in which two adults and six children under 17 were eligible for the full amount could receive $5,400.

HEALS Act: Similar to the CARES Act, the HEALS Act put forth by Republicans doesn’t mention a cap on the amount a family may receive. The difference is that it doesn’t limit dependents to those under 17 to qualify for the $500 payment.

Heroes Act: The Heroes Act, put together by the Democratic-led House and which has never been taken up or vetoed by the Senate, would place a cap of $6,000 for households of five or more. Essentially, it proposes $1,200 for each adult and dependent, with a maximum of three dependents per family. 


The amount of stimulus money you could get in a second round of checks is still undecided. 

James Martin/CNET

Three ways a new IRS stimulus payment might arrive

While there’s no official plan yet, it’s likely that receiving this second stimulus check would work much like it did the first time around. 

Direct deposit: If you filed taxes in 2018 or 2019 and included direct-deposit banking information, it’s likely you can receive your check as a direct deposit. Even if you didn’t file your direct deposit information with the IRS during tax season, you should still be able to opt in. If you asked for an extension on your taxes, you can still file them before the Oct. 15, 2020, deadline and choose to share your direct deposit information with the IRS. If another round of stimulus payments is authorized, the IRS is likely to reopen the online tool it used for the first round and let you log your information then.

A paper check in the mail: If you don’t register your banking details with the IRS, you’ll likely receive a paper check in the mail, which you can deposit or cash. If you’ve recently moved, make sure to file your change-of-address paperwork. The IRS will use your last known address, which could hold up delivery of your check or otherwise cause a delay.

EIP card: Under the CARES Act, about 4 million people were also sent money in the form of a prepaid “economic impact payment” card, which you can spend like cash. The cards came in plain, unmarked envelopes.

Read up on all the finer points of the stimulus check here.

When will Congress settle on second stimulus check plans?

That’s the trillion-dollar question. The Senate is adjourned until after Labor Day, with sessions not originally planned to resume until Sept. 8. Senate Republicans said they plan to introduce a new coronavirus relief bill that includes funding for the USPS as well. At this point, it doesn’t seem like this bill will include stimulus check payments, but the Senate’s proposal hasn’t been released yet, so we don’t know for sure. 

Here’s more on how the timeline could play out if a bill is passed, including when the IRS could send the first checks.

If you’re still waiting for your first stimulus check, here are 10 possible reasons for a delaywhat you can do if you think your payment was lost or has fallen through the cracks and if you could receive two refund checks from the IRS.

Shelby Brown and Alison DeNisco Rayome contributed to this report.

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