Monday, May 16, 2022

Second stimulus check: Who may be first to get a new payment and how quickly it could come


How soon could your second stimulus check come? We lay out some possible dates, from when the bill is passed to when your money could actually arrive.

James Martin/CNET

If a new stimulus package or executive order yields a second stimulus check of up to $1,200 per adult before 2020 is out, you could receive it more quickly than last time, if you meet the qualifications. There’s no set timeline to pass a new stimulus bill, which complicates any attempts to map out when another check would come (we did it anyway — more below). Opinions on whether a bill could pass before the Nov. 3 election differ.

“I’m optimistic. I do think that we should have an agreement. That’s what we all want,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Friday. “We came down a trillion dollars right from the start and said, ‘We’ll come down a trillion and you go up a trillion.’ And then we went further than that and said, ‘We’ll meet you halfway.'” 

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, on the other hand, has expressed skepticism that a bill could pass by the general election.

Below, we pieced together when a new check could arrive if a new stimulus payment does come through this year, and we explain how the priority groups could work when it comes to who could receive a check first. We also drew on the first stimulus check to sketch out how long it could take for your check to arrive if your scenario is less than straightforward.

Meanwhile, CNET’s stimulus check calculator can estimate how much you might receive. Here’s how to report your missing $500 for dependents, and how these 9 million people can claim a stimulus check. This story is regularly updated.

What a new stimulus check schedule might look like

When and if another stimulus check gets the green light, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has said it would take about a week to mobilize the first payments. We’ve speculated as to some possible dates when that could happen, though the timeline keeps shifting in response to the latest news from Washington. 

For reference, we also include the timeline for the now-expired CARES Act. The payments don’t go out to everyone at once, so read on for which groups of people could get their payment first.

When the House returns next week, it will have 12 working days before it’s scheduled to break again for the election. The Senate has 22 working days during the current session, which started earlier this week, before it breaks for the election.

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 Sept. 30 Oct. 1 Oct. 2 Week of Oct. 12
Oct. 16 Oct. 19 Oct. 20 Week of Oct. 26
Dec. 1 Dec. 2 Dec. 3 Week of Dec. 7
If order signed Direct deposit could start First paper checks could start First EIP cards could start
Presidential order Sept. 18 Week of Sept. 28 Week of Oct 5 Week of Oct. 26

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Who could get a stimulus check first? The possible priority order

It’s likely the IRS would use roughly the same system 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 and registering for direct deposit. That means the agency might also follow the same stages that paid some people days and even months before others.

Who got their checks first: 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’ve already registered for direct deposit, either as part of their 2019 tax filing or before.

Second group: 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.) 

Third group: 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.

Fourth group: The first Economic Impact Payment debit cards, which are prepaid, began going out in mid-May to about 4 million people.

Fifth group: Anyone who received their checks after June or is still waiting to receive their stimulus payment. 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.


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

Sarah Tew/CNET

What could delay your stimulus check delivery

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: If a change is made to the definition of a dependent, it could require the IRS to adjust its accounting system. That may potentially slow things down for you. Calculate how much you get with if the rules change to include more people as eligible dependents.

Banking status: If your banking status changes, it could potentially hold up receipt of your payment. Banking status disproportionately impacted Black Americans and other people of color, according to an analysis 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.

Nonfilers need to take an extra step: 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. This group includes low-income families with children and a far greater number of Black people and people of color. Over 9 million people have until Oct. 15 to claim their checks.

The latest date you might receive another stimulus check

The IRS will have been sending the first stimulus payments from April 15 to approximately Dec. 31, 2020, a period of 260 days. If we follow the timeline, a second stimulus check that’s authorized before the end of 2020 could still be paying out funds to qualified recipients through the first half of 2021.

It’s likely that the IRS has streamlined its system enough to send checks to more people faster, but if the first round is any indication, there could be complications that could delay a second payment for many. Here are common hurdles that held up the first stimulus check for some.

Once again, the schedule for the first stimulus checks may indicate the timeline, but there’s no official news until a law or executive action lays out the details.


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

Angela Lang/CNET

If you’re looking for additional 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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