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Stimulus check eligibility requirements: Here's what you need to know about who may qualify

Washington negotiators have agreed to restart talks. They've not reached a deal yet, but here's what we know about who could potentially get a second direct payment.

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It's expected that millions more people will be included the second time around.

Angela Lang/CNET

Capitol Hill took a step forward last week after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin agreed to restart talks on a new economic relief package. If both sides get to the table soon enough, a second direct stimulus payment could be authorized by Congress before the Nov. 3 election.

In tandem with the talks, House Democrats began drafting a more focused bill reportedly worth $2.4 trillion for a potential vote as soon as Oct. 2.

"I am hoping for a deal. I'd rather have a deal to put money in people's pockets than to have a rhetorical argument," Pelosi said Sunday on CNN's State of the Union. "We have a chance to get something done."

As negotiations move ahead to pass relief legislation with a second direct stimulus payment, here's what we know about who might qualify, including dependents who didn't get the first check -- some 13 million people under 25. Try using CNET's stimulus check calculator to estimate how much you could get, and stay informed on the seven most important stimulus check facts. This story was recently updated.

Could you be eligible for the second stimulus check?

It's likely that if a second stimulus check emerges, it'll be based largely on the first. It may follow many of the guidelines from the CARES Act that governed the first check, but draw some changes from the Heroes Act and HEALS Act proposals, neither of which is law. The most important decider in setting income limits is adjusted gross income, or AGI, which determines how much of the $1,200 for individuals and $2,400 for married couples you could receive if you meet the other requirements.

Who could qualify for a second stimulus check

Qualifying group Likely to be covered by the final bill
Individuals An AGI of less than $99,000 (Same as CARES)
Head of household An AGI of less than $146,500 (Same as CARES)
Couple filing jointly An AGI less than $198,000 (Same as CARES)
Dependents of any age No limit (HEALS proposal; up to 3 in Heroes)
US citizens living abroad Yes, same as CARES
Citizens of US territories Likely, with payments handled by each territory's tax authority (CARES)
SSDI and tax nonfilers Likely, but with an extra step to file (more below)
Disqualified group Unlikely to be covered by the final bill
Noncitizens who pay taxes Proposed in Heroes Act, unlikely to pass in Senate
Incarcerated people Excluded under CARES Act
People who owe child support Included in Heroes proposal, but excluded under CARES
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Your family's total sum could include additional dependents

Not enough dependents were eligible for any money at all under the CARES Act, Republicans and Democrats both agree. Dependents aged 16 and younger were allotted $500 as part of the family check, but new proposals from both sides of the aisle want to expand the definition of a dependent to include people regardless of age -- that means college students and adult dependents.

The Democratic proposal was to extend $1,200 each, for up to three dependents, so a family of five people could receive a maximum of $6,000. The Republican HEALS Act would provide $500 for each dependent you claim on your taxes no matter how old, with no specified cap on the number of dependents.

An extra step nonfilers may need to take

People who weren't required to file a federal income tax return in either 2018 or 2019 may still be eligible to receive the first stimulus check under the CARES Act. If that guideline doesn't change for a second stimulus check, this group would qualify again. Here are reasons you might not have been required to file:

  • You're over 24, not claimed as a dependent and your income is less than $12,200
  • You're married filing jointly and together your income is less than $24,400
  • You have no income
  • You receive federal benefits, such as Social Security or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). See below for more on SSDI.

With the first stimulus check, nonfilers needed to provide the IRS with some information before they could receive their checks. The IRS is reaching out to 9 million Americans who may fall in this category but have not requested their payment to notify them they may be due a payment.

Could SSDI recipients get a new stimulus check?

Those who are part of the Social Security Disability Insurance program also qualify for a check under the CARES Act. Recipients would not receive their payments through their Direct Express card, which the government usually uses to distribute federal benefits, but through a non-Direct Express bank account or through a paper check. SSDI recipients also need to use the IRS' Non-Filers tool to request a payment for themselves and dependents.

7 groups that were passed over in the first stimulus round 

For the payments authorized under the CARES Act, which became law in March, these groups were excluded:

  • Single taxpayers with an AGI over $99,000.
  • Heads of households with an AGI over $136,500.
  • Married couples with an AGI over $198,000.
  • Children over 16 and college students under age 24.
  • Nonresident aliens, as defined by the US government.
  • People who are incarcerated.
  • People who died since the previous tax filing. (Their families may not collect on their behalf and are expected to return the payment.)

For more, here's what we know about the major proposals for a second stimulus package. We also have information on unemployment insurance, what you can do if you've lost your job, if you could receive two refund checks from the IRS and what to know about evictions.