Stimulus check 2 update: How fast can the IRS send a payment? Here are some possible dates

A second stimulus check is being worked on, but the payment schedule is still unknown. We break down some likely scenarios.

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The timeline of when you might get your next stimulus check is less certain now that talks over another economic relief package are on hold. The debate is less over the total $1,200 upper limit for people who qualify and more about the total size of the package and additional aid. (Here’s how the current proposal, called HEALS, compares to the previous stimulus bill.)

If and when Republican and Democratic leaders are each willing to compromise — and here are five reasons we think that might happen — Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has said that he can get it sent out faster than the first stimulus check.

So when will that happen? That all depends on when both sides renew serious negotiations. But the initial hope after comments over the weekend that there could be talks this week seem less sure now. If negotiations begin again and a deal is made, we’ve calculated some possible dates you could get your first check — assuming it happens.

This story was recently updated with new information.

How soon the IRS would deliver the second stimulus checks

Several scenarios could play out. Republicans and Democratic negotiators could pick discussions back up and reach an agreement this week, or that could slide into next week. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Aug. 10 that if the two sides could find common ground, they could reach an agreement this week. That looks less and less likely today.

Meanwhile, the House of Representatives is now adjourned until Friday, Aug. 14 at 2 p.m. ET.

Here are some possible first dates that a second stimulus check could pass. For reference, we also include the timeline for the now expired CARES Act as a point of reference. And keep reading for who could get their payment first.

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
If Senate passes If House passes If President signs First checks could be sent
Final negotiated bill Friday, Aug. 21 Monday, Aug. 24 Tuesday, Aug. 25 Wednesday, Sept. 2
Aug. 24 Aug. 25 Aug. 26 Week of Sept. 14
Sept. 8 Sept. 9 Sept. 10 Week of Sept. 21

Who would get their stimulus check first?

It’s likely the IRS would use roughly the same calculations and tools for sending out the second stimulus check as it did for the first one, including the IRS Get My Payment tool for tracking your stimulus check payment and signing up for direct deposit

The IRS sent the first batch of stimulus checks to people who had filed 2018 or 2019 tax returns and had already provided the IRS with their direct deposit information, according to the House Committee on Ways and Means. Following that model, the next stimulus payment could first reach people who have already registered for direct deposit, either as part of their 2019 tax filing or before.

The next group were Social Security beneficiaries who had direct deposit information on file with federal agencies. (About 80 million people got their checks through direct deposit in the first week they were disbursed, according to the IRS.) 

Paper checks didn’t start getting mailed out until about a week later, to people who hadn’t signed up for direct deposit, but you could still register for the electronic bank transfer as late as May 13. The first Economic Impact Payment debit cards, which are prepaid, were sent in mid-May to about 4 million people. 


Another check for up to $1,200 could find its way into your bank account.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Why your stimulus check might arrive later than other people’s

We won’t know for sure until a new bill is passed and the IRS forms a plan to send out checks, but here are points to consider.

Changes to aid for dependents: This depends on which version of the bill passes. The CARES Act allotted $500 for dependents age 16 and under. The Republican-backed HEALS Act also allocates $500 for dependents, of any age. But the Democrat-backed Heroes Act suggests $1,200 for a maximum of three dependents. If a change is made, even if it ultimately leads to more money being sent, it could require the IRS to adjust its accounting system. That could potentially slow things down for you. 

Banking status: With the first checks, people who didn’t submit direct deposit information to the IRS had to wait longer to receive the stimulus money through the mail. As of June, 120 million people received the stimulus money through direct deposit, 35 million through a check in the mail, and 4 million through a prepaid debit card. The IRS hasn’t provided an update on how many people received a stimulus check by Aug. 1.

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Banking status has affected the speed of payments since the CARES Act passed, disproportionately impacting Black Americans and people of color, according to an analysis (PDF) by the think tank Urban Institute. People who are white and whose incomes were above the poverty line were more likely to have received their first stimulus check by the end of May than people who are Black, Hispanic or below the poverty line, the analysis found. 

People who didn’t make enough money to be required to file federal income tax returns in 2018 or 2019 also would not get a stimulus check unless they submitted a form to the IRS, according to a report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. This group includes low-income families with children and a far greater number of Black people and people of color.

When’s the latest date you would get the new stimulus check?

Once again, the schedule for the first stimulus checks can provide a potential roadmap, but there’s no official news until another rescue package is finalized.

The IRS will have sent about 200 million checks by the time the agency is done distributing the first raft of payments. (The total US population is over 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 send payments through the end of the year.


US workers are experiencing a staggeringly high unemployment rate.

Angela Lang/CNET

How you can get 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, if you could receive two refund checks from the IRS and how to take control of your budget.

Julie Snyder and Shelby Brown contributed to this report.

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