Next stimulus check: We worked out when the IRS could send a second payment

The second stimulus check is coming. We break down possible payment schedules.

James Martin/CNET

We now know that a second stimulus check will be part of CARES 2, the Senate Republicans’ proposal for the next economic relief package that’s expected to be presented on Monday in Washington. 

The unveiling of CARES 2 is likely to unleash a torrent of debate over the details of a second direct payment, such as who will qualifyhow big the next stimulus check should be, and how long it’ll take the IRS to start sending out the money once the final legislation passes. As the recession continues, knowing when a new direct payment might happen could make a huge difference to millions of Americans, especially now that enhanced unemployment benefits and eviction protection have now officially ended.

To advance a possible timeline, we matched the Senate’s calendar with the payment schedule from the first stimulus check. This story is frequently updated with new information.

When could the IRS start to send the new stimulus checks?

“The president’s preference is to make sure that we send out direct payments quickly so that in August people get more money,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told CNBC on Thursday. “There is no question this worked before.”

But August is a long month. Looking over the Senate calendar and using the first stimulus check as a guide can give us some ballpark dates to work from. This is, of course, pure speculation, and there are several factors involved that could speed up or slow down check delivery. 

The Aug. 7 deadline: The Senate’s last day in session before its August recess is Aug. 7. After that, senators return to their home states through Sept. 7 (Labor Day). That means there are 32 days from the last date of the Senate session (Aug. 7) until the first day of the following session (Sept. 8). If the Senate doesn’t pass a bill by Aug. 7, it won’t pick it up until then. The September session runs through Sept. 25.

Below are the dates of the first CARES Act’s journey through the final approval process. Roughly based on that model, we sketch out possibilities for the next stimulus act.

When could the second stimulus checks go out?

Date passed by Senate Date passed by House Date signed First checks sent
Original CARES Act March 25 March 26 March 27 April 15
Proposal date Negotiations begin Negotiation time before deadline Deadline to pass a bill
CARES 2 Act July 27 July 28? 7 or 8 days Aug 7
If Senate passes If House passes If President signs First checks could be sent
Final negotiated bill Aug. 6 Aug. 7 Aug. 10 Week of Aug. 24
Sept. 8 Sept. 9 Sept. 10 or Sept. 11 Week of Sept. 28

What could make the second stimulus check arrive sooner?

Here are some possibilities that could result in the IRS sending checks sooner rather than later, assuming the next stimulus bill passes Congress on Aug. 7.

“If the parameters stayed the same, we could do it really quickly,” Sen. John Thune, a Republican from South Dakota, said, according to The Washington Post.

  • CARES 2 guidelines are the same as the original CARES Act, which allows the IRS to follow the same model.
  • The IRS already built its Get My Payment tool for the dual purposes of tracking your stimulus check payment and signing up for direct deposit. Implementing this tool for the first checks took time.
  • If fewer people qualify for the next direct payment overall, those who do may receive their checks sooner because the backlog of people waiting will be smaller.

Congress is working on a new coronavirus stimulus bill that may put another $1,200 in your wallet.

Angela Lang/CNET

What could delay the IRS sending the second stimulus checks? 

If Congress and President Donald Trump can’t agree on the contents of the next stimulus bill and miss the Aug. 7 deadline, it will be another month before the next session in Washington can reconvene and propose, debate and pass the bill.

Both chambers of Congress and the president appear motivated to pass the bill before Aug. 7, though the Senate has already fallen behind schedule.

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What’s the last date I could receive a second stimulus check?

Once again, the first stimulus checks can provide a potential blueprint, though there’s no official news until another rescue package is passed.

The IRS will have sent about 200 million checks by the time it’s done distributing the first raft of payments. (The total US population is nearly 330 million people, according to the Census Bureau.) 

The majority of those were sent by the beginning of June, though the IRS said it will continue to disburse the final batches through the end of the year. If there are fewer people receiving a second stimulus check, it’s possible that it won’t take as long to send a second round of checks.


US workers are experiencing a staggeringly high unemployment rate.

Angela Lang/CNET

Will this be the last stimulus check?

In May, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said this next coronavirus relief bill will also be the last. The course of COVID-19 infections will certainly play a role in future debates over the best way to strengthen the economy. Coronavirus infections began surging in June, with record numbers of infections rising in July.

Need more help?

If you’re still waiting on the first round of coronavirus payments, you can track the status of your stimulus check, learn how to report your no-show check to the IRS and find possible reasons why your stimulus check still hasn’t arrived.

Here are even more resources about coronavirus hardship loans and unemployment insurance, what you can do if you’ve lost your job, what to know about evictions and late car payments and how to take control of your budget.

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