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When will a second stimulus check arrive? We mapped out 4 timelines for 2020

When will a second stimulus check arrive? We mapped out 4 timelines for 2020


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


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The fate of a second stimulus check will be laid out soon, at least for now. What happens Thursday could have a tremendous impact on the date a new stimulus payment of up to $1,200 would arrive. If the ongoing negotiations between Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi yield an agreement, there’s a higher chance a bill could pass in early October.  

“We made a lot of progress over the last few days. We still don’t have an agreement, but we have more work to do. And we’re going to see where we end up,” Mnuchin told reporters Wednesday.

If negotiations fail and it’s back to the drawing board, well, then things get complicated. The Democrats’ scaled-back proposal is expected to come to a vote in the House of Representatives today with more uncertainty after that if it gets volleyed over to the Senate. 

The pressure for aid is high. Although new jobless claims for the week declined in the last week (to 837,000 from 870,000), more than 21 million people remain unemployed as a result of the pandemic, according to estimate by the Economic Policy Institute. United and American airlines will furlough 32,000 employees, and Disney has laid off 28,000 people worldwide.

We’ve mapped out four different timelines for when the IRS could start sending payments to different groups — including who would get a check first and who might get it last. Keep reading for our best guess on dates, and estimate your total check with CNET’s stimulus calculator. We update this story often.

When the IRS might possibly send the first checks to each group

When and if another stimulus check happens, Treasury Secretary Steven 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 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 their check at the same time — keep reading below for how the different priority groups shake out.

Note that, even if an agreement is reached by Oct. 2, 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

Some people will get their checks sooner 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 do so 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: Anyone who received their checks after June, is 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’d have to 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 bumps 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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