After months of failed negotiations, congressional leaders from both parties have finally agreed on a new COVID-19 relief package with a total price tag of about $900 billion. This includes a second round of funding for Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) small-business loans; an extension and boost to unemployment benefits; as well as money for airlines, vaccine distribution, and much more.
Although it wasn't included in the original bipartisan compromise, the new bill also includes a second round of economic impact payments, also known as stimulus checks. Here's what we know about the new stimulus checks and who is eligible to receive one.
How much can you get?
The new coronavirus relief package contains a second round of stimulus checks, but they are going to be somewhat smaller than those authorized as part of the CARES Act in March. The new stimulus checks provide as much as $600 per eligible adult and dependent child, while the first round provided as much as $1,200 per adult and $500 per child.
In other words, a single individual can receive as much as $600, half as much as the first round. A family of four who qualifies could receive as much as $2,400, down from $3,400 in the first round. There is no limit to how much a household can receive. For example, a married couple with 10 children can receive a $600 payment for all 12 people in their household.
Who will get a second stimulus check?
Like the first round of checks, the new stimulus checks are going to be income restricted.
According to several reports, the new stimulus checks will use the same income caps as the first stimulus payments that were made earlier in 2020. This means that single filers with adjusted gross incomes of $75,000 or less would receive the full amount, while the full payment thresholds for heads of households and married joint filers would be $112,500 and $150,000, respectively.
Above these thresholds, the payments would gradually be reduced, and Americans with incomes over certain upper limits won't be eligible at all. Assuming the income limitations are exactly the same as for the first checks (which reports indicate is the case), here's what the qualification table would look like.
Full Stimulus Payment
Partial Stimulus Payment
No Stimulus Payment
Single or married filing separately
$0 to $75,000
$75,001 to $99,000
$99,001 or higher
Head of household
$0 to $112,500
$112,501 to $136,500
$136,501 or higher
Married filing jointly
$0 to $150,000
$150,001 to $198,000
$198,001 or higher
In addition, there are a couple of other qualifications worth noting. Families who include a noncitizen parent can qualify for a payment, but undocumented immigrants cannot get a payment themselves. And college students can qualify if they are taxpayers and not able to be claimed as a dependent on someone else's return. This typically means students who provide more than half of their own financial support.
There's a lot we don't know yet
As a final thought, it's important to emphasize that this deal was just agreed upon. And because of this, there's quite a bit we don't know just yet. In fact, as of 8 a.m. EST on Monday morning, the full text of the relief bill had not been released, and neither the House of Representatives nor the Senate had actually voted on it.
One thing in particular we don't know is the timeline. When the original CARES Act stimulus checks were authorized, the Treasury Department was able to start sending them out in significant numbers within a couple of weeks, although many Americans had to wait much longer. It could certainly go even faster this time, however, as the Treasury could simply use the same information and distribution system already in place to get the process started. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has previously suggested that if Congress were to authorize more stimulus checks, they could start being directly deposited into bank accounts almost immediately.
So, while some degree of economic relief appears to be on the way, there are still quite a few moving parts. As the bill's language emerges and the Treasury issues guidance to the American people over the coming days, we're likely to learn quite a bit more.
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