Calculate your second stimulus check total now that payments are going out


You can estimate how much money you could get in your second stimulus check with our calculator tool.


Sarah Tew/CNET

Just because the second stimulus check maxes out at $600 per person doesn’t mean it’s easy to guess how big your payment will be. Whether you receive your next stimulus payment through direct deposit, paper check or EIP card, the ins and outs of the formula the IRS uses to tabulate your total — and the second stimulus check qualifications that decide who in your family is eligible — is so specific to your personal situation.

As of Jan. 1, any hope for a $2,000 payment to replace the $600 died in the Senate, so the $600 maximum going out right now is the final sum to work with. While we can’t say for sure what the IRS’ final total will be for you, we can give you an estimate of the total payment you should expect in a second stimulus check. CNET’s calculator tool uses the same formula as the IRS, taken from the December stimulus bill President Donald Trump signed into law Dec. 27. 

Even if you already received your payment, it’s a good idea to check in with the calculator to make sure it’s close to the total second stimulus check you received. A huge deviation could indicate a calculation error, and a need to potentially claim your missing stimulus money during 2021 Tax Season, using the Recovery Rebate Credit. There are also some important things you’ll want to know about the IRS’ typical payment schedule and about a Jan. 15 cutoff for sending checks. While the IRS tracking tool isn’t live as of Jan. 1, you can track your paper check right to your mailbox. We recently updated this story.

How to calculate your $600 second stimulus check total

Before you use the $600 stimulus check calculator tool below, you’ll need your adjusted gross income, or AGI, from your 2019 federal tax return: Find that figure on line 8b of the 2019 1040 federal tax form. (If you don’t typically file taxes, we share more details below.) To estimate the amount of the second check, enter all your child dependents age 16 and younger. A single taxpayer claims no dependents, and a head of household does not file jointly with a spouse and claims at least one dependent.

CNET’s stimulus calculator follows the formula the IRS uses to tabulate your household’s payment, but note that it should be considered an estimate, not a guarantee of the IRS’ final check to you. The calculator does not store or share your personal information. 

Calculate your second stimulus payment

Use details from your 2019 tax return.

1. Choose your filing status below.

Estimate how much you’d get with a (future) $2,000 stimulus check

Immediately after signing the new COVID-relief bill on Dec. 27 that authorized the $600 payments, President Donald Trump asked Congress to adjust the amount to a $2,000 maximum for eligible adults. As of Jan. 1, any bills to change the total failed. It’ll be up to a new Congress sworn in Jan. 3 to decide how much money a third stimulus check may have.

However, we wanted to provide a way to compare your total as a hypothetical, or in case a future bill passes in 2021. The eligibility basics are the same as for the $600 check (see below) and we’ve left the amount you could receive on behalf of each child dependent at $600, the same as the payment being sent now.

Calculate your stimulus payment

Use details from your 2019 or 2018 tax return, whichever is most recent.

1. Choose your filing status below.

If you’re not required to file taxes, what should you do?

As with the first checks, the IRS will automatically send stimulus checks to many who normally aren’t required to file a tax return — including older adultsSocial Security and SSDI and SSI recipients, certain veterans and railroad retirees. The IRS refers loosely to this group as nonfilers.

If you fall in one of these categories, enter your best guess in the calculator where it asks for your adjusted gross income.


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Eligibility essentials to know about the new stimulus payment

Broadly, here’s who is eligible for money with the second stimulus payment. With the new law, payments top out at $600 apiece, and as you reach the upper AGI limit, the amount of your check will decrease. A family of four that qualifies, for example, could receive up to $2,400. For a complete breakdown, check out our stimulus check qualifications guide.

To get the full $600 stimulus per person, either:

  • As an individual without qualifying children, you have an adjusted gross income of up to $75,000 (this completely phases out at $87,000, down from the $99,000 used for the first check).
  • You file as the head of a household (you claim children) and earn under $112,500.
  • You file jointly without children and earn less than $150,000 and no more than $174,000 (down from $198,000 from the first check).
  • Any dependent child under age 17 will count for an additional $600.

Note, if you don’t qualify for a second stimulus check based on 2019 data but you would qualify based on your 2020 financial situation, you will not receive a second check this year. However, you can get that amount as a credit against your 2020 taxes.

If you qualify based on 2019 tax information but will be over the limit in 2020, you will receive a second check and do not need to repay it.

Who isn’t eligible for this new stimulus payment?

We have a list of people who may not qualify for a second stimulus check. If you are over the income limit, a nonresident alien or a dependent 17 years of age or older, you won’t qualify for a check. The People’s Policy Project think tank estimates 13.5 million adult dependents will be excluded under the requirements, including 7.3 million students.

For everything to know about the second payment, see what else is in the new stimulus legislation, when the IRS could start sending checks and what we know about renewed federal unemployment benefits in the new law.



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