New stimulus check qualifications? How the eligibility requirements might change


The proposals for who may or may not qualify for a second stimulus check are coming into focus.


Angela Lang/CNET

If you’re wondering when you might receive a second stimulus check or if you’ll even be eligible, your fate will be decided when Washington lawmakers reach an agreement on the next economic rescue package.

One area where Republicans, Democrats and the White House seem to see eye-to-eye is a second direct payment, though we don’t yet know if the qualifications will change from how they’re currently presented in the HEALS Act, which Senate Republicans proposed last Monday as a response to the Democrats’ Heroes Act and a follow-up to the CARES Act from March.

The HEALS Act mostly follows the guidelines that the CARES Act set for the first stimulus check, making a new allowance of $500 for some dependents who were left out of the last round of payments, but otherwise excluding more people than the Democratic-backed Heroes Act suggested and for less potential relief money for families overall.

As the debate rages on, take a peek at what we know about who may or may not be included in the next round of stimulus payments. Check back on this story for frequent updates.

Here’s who could get a stimulus check under the HEALS Act

The Senate Republicans’ HEALS Act would follow the payment guidelines set out in the CARES Act, with a new adjustment for dependents:

  • A single US resident with an adjusted gross income less than $99,000.
  • A head of a household earning under $146,500.
  • A couple filing jointly without children and earning less than $198,000.
  • A dependent of any age. 

In the CARES Act, the cutoff to receive a $500 dependent check was age 16 and younger and college students under 24 were not eligible to receive a check. The Senate proposal would exclude those in prison and people who recently died from qualifying for a check. The bill would also prohibit creditors and banks from seizing the payment to pay debts.

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Who qualifies for a new stimulus check under the Democratic plan?

The broadest eligibility parameters suggested so far come from the Heroes Act, which was proposed by the House of Representatives on May 15. Although it’s been fiercely opposed by Senate Republicans and President Donald Trump, we can look to this bill to help frame the conversation about the upper limits of who might qualify in a broad proposal:

  • Individuals who made less than $99,000 according to the adjusted gross income from their 2018 or 2019 taxes (whichever was most recently filed).
  • College students, dependents over 17, disabled relatives and taxpayers’ parents.
  • Families of up to five people for a cap of $6,000 per family.
  • SSDI recipients.
  • People who aren’t US citizens and do file tax returns, pay taxes and otherwise comply with federal tax law using an individual taxpayer identification number instead of a Social Security number.
$20 bills and credit cards in a wallet

It may soon become clear who can qualify for another stimulus check.


Sarah Tew/CNET

Who didn’t get a stimulus check under the CARES Act?

These groups didn’t meet the requirements for the first payment:

  • Single taxpayers with an adjusted gross income (AGI) above $99,000.
  • Heads of households with an AGI over $136,500.
  • Married couples with an AGI over $198,000.
  • Children over 16 and college students under age 24.
  • Nonresident aliens, as defined by the US government.

When will the eligibility requirements be finalized?

While Republicans and Democrats are now debating the details of the new stimulus package, they are far apart from reaching an agreement. To give negotiators more time to make a deal, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell could push back the start of the upcoming Senate recess in August, which he has done before. After the sides reach an agreement, the stimulus bill won’t take effect until the president signs it into law. 

And while we won’t know for sure until the two sides come together on the next stimulus package, we have a good idea what Congress’ deadline is and when a check could be sent

For more, here’s what we know about the major proposals for a second stimulus package. We also have information on unemployment insurance, what you can do if you’ve lost your job, if you could receive two refund checks from the IRS and what to know about evictions.



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