Second stimulus check for coronavirus aid: Who could get it first and when it could come


Did you know? Different groups will get their stimulus checks at different times.


Sarah Tew/CNET

The House of Representatives passed a new stimulus bill Thursday night and is now officially in recess. But that doesn’t mean the next stimulus package that grants another direct payment among other benefits is on hold. 

Despite the House’s official departure (it can reconvene any time to vote) and the shadow of President Donald Trump’s hospitalization as a result of COVID-19, discussions are very much moving ahead between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

If anything, Trump’s illness could underscore the importance of more monetary aid during the ongoing pandemic. “We will find the middle ground,” Pelosi said Friday on MSNBC.

If a new stimulus bill is passed that includes a new direct payment for those who qualify (including provisions for dependents), there are some groups who are likely to see it before others. 

Below, we’ve posited four different timelines for when the IRS may start sending out payments to different priority groups, with the understanding that a stimulus payment hasn’t yet been approved. Use CNET’s stimulus calculator for a specific estimate. We update this story often.

IRS schedule to possibly send the first checks — this will change

When and if another stimulus check happens, Mnuchin has said it would take about a week to orchestrate the first payments. “I can get out 50 million payments really quickly. A lot of it into people’s direct accounts,” he said.

We’ve speculated about potential dates based on calendars from the House of Representatives and the Senate, and also based on Pelosi’s vow to keep her chamber in session until a deal is reached. Not every person will get a payment at the same time — keep reading to see how the different priority groups shake out.

Note that, even if an agreement is reached by the end of Friday, it will still take time to hash out the details and draft new legislation to prepare for a vote, first in one chamber (the House, for example) and then in the other.

Possible dates a second stimulus check could go out

Scenario 1 Scenario 2 Scenario 3 Scenario 4
House passes final bill Oct. 5 Oct. 9 Dec. 1 Dec. 7
Senate passes final bill Oct. 6 Oct. 13 (Oct. 12 is Columbus Day) Dec. 2 Dec. 8
President signs Oct. 7 Oct. 14 Dec. 3 Dec. 9
First direct deposit sent Week of Oct. 12 Week of Oct. 19 Week of Dec. 7 Week of Dec. 14
First paper checks sent Week of Oct. 19 Week of Oct. 26 Week of Dec. 14 Week of Dec. 21
First EIP cards sent Week of Nov. 9 Week of Nov. 16 Week of Jan. 11 Week of Jan. 18

Why some people will get their checks faster than others

The IRS has so far sent money to at least 160 million people three different ways, starting with people who filed for direct deposit. Some people with more complicated scenarios are in fact still waiting for their checks or even for catch-up payments. This shakes out into a de facto priority order that could lead some to receive their checks days or even weeks sooner than others. We expect the IRS would keep roughly the same system for sending out the second stimulus check.

Direct deposit is fastest: People who already have their direct deposit information on file with the IRS or who register it when and if registration opens again should be first in line to receive their stimulus check. An electronic transfer of funds is faster and more efficient, which is why this group largely got their first check faster.

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Social Security beneficiaries: With the first stimulus payment, many Social Security beneficiaries who had direct deposit information on file with the federal government received their checks in the first week, though not always the first day.

People who get paper checks: The IRS began to mail these about a week later to people without direct deposit data on file. 

EIP card recipients: Economic Impact Payment debit cards are prepaid Visa cards that the IRS sent to around 4 million people starting in mid-May. If the IRS follows the same payment priority order, this group could begin to see their checks weeks after the first direct deposit transfers go out.

Last group: People who received their checks after June, are still waiting to receive their stimulus payment or did not know they need to fill out an extra step. Direct payments will continue through the end of 2020 for some individuals who were not part of the previous groups. Here’s what could be holding up the stimulus check delivery for some and how to contact the IRS to report a missing, lost or stolen check.

What’s the longest I could wait for a check?

While we expect the bulk of people to get their money sooner, if the first round is any indication, it could still take months for the IRS to send all the checks. Six months after the first stimulus payments went out, the federal agency is still trying to track down millions of people who may be owed money.

And even with the experience of processing roughly 160 million payments in the IRS’ back pocket, some would probably need to clear a few hurdles to receive their money. Here are common roadbumps that held up the first stimulus check for some.

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There’s hope that the IRS could speed up delivery of a second check, if it’s authorized.


Angela Lang/CNET

A few more resources to help

If you’re still waiting on the first round of 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.

And here are 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, if you could receive two refund checks from the IRS and how to take control of your budget.



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