9 things we already know about your first and second stimulus check

When will the IRS send another stimulus check? Here are some possibilities.

Angela Lang/CNET

Let’s get through the bad news first. The Nov. 3 election is in less than a week away and time has run out to vote on a stimulus bill beforehand, though negotiations are continuing. Now for the good news. Every major proposal we’ve seen since May — including presidential candidate (and former Vice President) Joe Biden’s — includes a second stimulus check.

Where does this leave you? Waiting. And beyond that, armed with solid facts and educated guesses that can help you prepare for the debate — and maybe resolution — to come. If approved, the bill is expected to include a second stimulus check worth up to $1,200 per individual and more for certain situations — here’s how the IRS determines your total stimulus check amount. Keep reading to learn how taxes factor into your payment and to see if you might be due more money from the first round of direct payments. We updated this story recently.

Read more: Would you use your second check like these people?

A new check won’t come until after the election is over

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SimpliSafe’s outstanding DIY security system finally looks the part

In 2014, SimpliSafe’s DIY home security kit won the Editors’ Choice Award here on CNET. I liked that it was one of the most affordable home security options to feature 24/7 live monitoring, I liked how easy it was to install and operate, and I loved how customizable the system was, with subtle layers of protection for a variety of emergency situations.

The old SimpliSafe system in its awkward teenage years.


The problem was SimpliSafe’s hardware — the dated-looking devices were ugly as hell. That’s a significant shortcoming for a system you’re supposed to stick up all over your home.

That’s why I was particularly excited to test out SimpliSafe’s third-gen system, which made its debut at CES 2018. Aside from a couple of new additions to the setup since last time around, the pitch was the same — monitored security that you install yourself and control from your smartphone. The difference now is that the hardware looks a lot better — and, with packages starting at $229, it doesn’t cost any more than before, either.

It’s just as capable as before, too. Though some of the sensors — particularly the glass break and freeze sensors —

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Smartphones should never die: Great chargers and alternative power sources

There’s little more frustrating than having your smartphone run out of charge, not just in emergencies, but anytime. Here are some great items to keep your handheld device charged.

The newest iPhones and Androids have been announced. Whether you have the latest iPhone, a Samsung Galaxy Note 20, or just want to keep your smartphone battery at full capacity, chargers and alternatives are essential. Today’s chargers can fit in a pocket or purse, be solar-powered or wireless, or (the reliable standby) plug-in. Here’s a sampling of what’s available to keep you and your very-relied-upon smartphone charged up and always turned on.

iPhone MagSafe Charger

Image: Apple

Even if you’re looking for a few charger alternatives, iPhone users should always make sure that one of these is in their arsenal.

$39 at Apple


RAVPower Fast Wireless Charger


This wireless charger boasts “no annoying current sound” with overcharge protection. The 10W Max comes with a QC3.0 and is compatible with iPhone 8 and above, as well as the Galaxy Note 10, Note10 Plus, S10, S9, S8 and others. 

The company says the charger was built with “HyperAir technology” and can provide a full charge from 30 to 80 minutes faster than

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