Next stimulus check: How much money could I get with a second round?

If Washington signs off on a second stimulus check, could you get an extra $1,200, or some other amount? It isn't clear, but this is what we're hearing so far.

Clifford Colby Managing Editor
Clifford is a managing editor at CNET, where he leads How-To coverage. He spent a handful of years at Peachpit Press, editing books on everything from the first iPhone to Python. He also worked at a handful of now-dead computer magazines, including MacWEEK and MacUser. Unrelated, he roots for the Oakland A's.
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How much money could the government send in a second stimulus check? That's a topic of intense speculation.

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Is it possible you could get more money with a second stimulus check than you did with the first? Or would the tide turn and you'd wind up with less money, or none at all? That's the big question as the Senate begins to collect information it will use to help it decide on the fate of an extra stimulus payment

"I support actually larger numbers than the Democrats," President Donald Trump said last week, referring to a lump sum up to $1,200 per person that the Democrat-led House of Representatives proposed in May. But there are other proposals, too, and not all of them as optimistic.

The talk of a second check is a recent shift in momentum that, along with assertions from Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin last week, provide hope that more direct payments are on their way. Now we just need to know when they could comewho would qualify for more stimulus money and how big a check you might see.

Read on to see what the current proposals offer in the way of extra stimulus money. This story updates frequently in light of new information. If you're still waiting for your first stimulus checkhere are 10 possible reasons for a delay and what you can do if you think your payment is lost or has fallen through the cracks.

cash funds running out of money change dollars wallet empty

Could you expect a lot or a little? The final decision could come by the end of the month.

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How much money would a second stimulus check get you?

Here are the possible amounts being discussed in Washington:

Remember that how much you get will eventually depend on your situation. For example, even if the bill passes, there will certainly be eligibility restrictions based on, for example, how much money you make annually, your age, your dependents and your US citizenship or residency status.

Watch this: Haven't received your stimulus check yet? Let's track it down

The situation in a snapshot

Keep reading for specific measures and dollar amounts. This brief overview helps set the stage.

The White House: Trump's clarification that he wants to provide more than a $1,200 maximum stimulus check for struggling Americans is a shift from vague statements of support over the last few weeks. For example, in June he characterized another stimulus package as "very good" without a sense of scope. "It will be very generous," the president said.

The Senate: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has repeatedly said he'll keep to a July deadline to make a decision on whether Americans will see a second stimulus check or not. Following its midmonth recess, the Senate is expected to take up discussion on a second package the last two weeks of July. Here's a possible timeline, based on Senate dates and the timeline of the first stimulus checks.

The House: The House of Representatives has already acted, passing the Heroes Act (PDF) in May. If adopted in full, it would authorize a second round of sweeping payments in addition to other broad measures. It faces strong opposition from the Senate and the president -- Trump called it DOA -- and is not expected to pass. 


Want more stimulus check money? Who wouldn't?

James Martin/CNET

How could a second stimulus check help the economy?

With some states reinstating lockdown measures as coronavirus cases soar in 45 statesfinancial protections such as $600 in enhanced unemployment running out and the coronavirus recession raging on, the question of more stimulus money for individuals and families is a pressing one. 

"A full [economic] recovery is unlikely until people are confident that it is safe to reengage in a broad range of activities," Chairman of the Federal Reserve Jerome Powell said in prepared remarks before the House committee on Financial Services on June 30.

"The path forward will also depend on the policy actions taken at all levels of government to provide relief and to support the recovery for as long as needed," Powell added.


There's still so much about the next potential stimulus check that we don't know.

Angela Lang/CNET

The Labor Department last week reported first-time unemployment claims topped 1 million (PDF) for the week ending June 27, making 15 straight weeks that more than 1 million US workers filed new claims.

It's not just the US that is suffering through a recession. According to the World Bank, we are in the deepest global recession in decades.

Read more: Best tax software for 2020: TurboTax, H&R Block, TaxSlayer and more compared

The White House vision for the second stimulus check

The president has grown more vocal in supporting another direct payment to individuals. "I want the money getting to people to be larger so they can spend it. I want the money to get there quickly," the president told Fox Business July 1.

Watch this: Do this first if you've been laid off or furloughed

Trump and his economic advisers are looking to boost the US economy with incentives for workers to find new employment or return to their preexisting jobs. The White House is also considering tax breaks for those who take a vacation in the US (PDF) this year to encourage spending, the Journal reported. Japan has taken a similar approach to encourage domestic travel.

White House adviser Peter Navarro tweeted in June that the president is looking for at least $2 trillion for the next stimulus package, "with a bulk of that focused on bringing home our manufacturing base," Navarro said.

The White House is also considering reducing unemployment payments to $250 or $300 a week during the second half of the year, which Republicans believe will induce people who lost their jobs to find work. Currently, payments are $600 a week, as part of the CARES Act passed in March. The enhanced benefits expire at the end this month.

The president continues to push for payroll tax cuts, an idea he brought up in March. "We will be going for a payroll tax cut," he said in June, "which will be incredible in terms of what we are doing because we are going to be bigger and better than we ever were."

What are Republican leaders offering?

Senate Republicans, led by McConnell, have yet to share clear guidelines they want to follow for a second round. Talk has focused on limiting the size of the bill, liability protection for businesses and a strong message that this coronavirus stimulus package would be the last.

"I can't tell you what the amount is likely to be at this point, but it won't be $3 trillion," McConnell said on June 27. In comparison, the CARES Act is a $2 trillion package, the same amount the president targeted for this next round. The Heroes Act proposes to spend $3 trillion.   


A House plan would mail out another round of payments.

Angela Lang/CNET

The Senate package could include provisions to reduce liability for doctors and businesses from coronavirus-related lawsuits, The Wall Street Journal reported in May. It could also include assistance for small businesses and health care.

What does the Heroes Act propose?

The House of Representatives, which has a Democrat majority, passed the Heroes Act on May 15. The bill, which has not passed the Senate and is not law, seeks a wide range of benefits for households, renters and people who live in the US and are not citizens, according to a fact sheet from the House Appropriations Committee (PDF). McConnell has already dismissed the bill, as has the White House, saying the House package is "more concerned with delivering on longstanding partisan and ideological wishlists."

Here are its outlines:

Individuals: An eligible person would receive up to $1,200 if their adjusted gross income, or AGI, from their 2019 federal tax filing or 2018 filing (if you haven't filed taxes yet) was less than $75,000 and incrementally decrease as the AGI goes up.

Children and dependents: Each dependent would qualify for a $1,200 payment, unlike the first stimulus bill, which capped up to three children at $500 apiece. It would apply to college students, children over 17, disabled relatives and a taxpayer's parent.

Families: Households would qualify for a maximum payment of $6,000 total, capped at five family members at $1,200 apiece. The amount you'd be eligible to receive would decline the higher your AGI is.

People who aren't US citizens: Noncitizens who file tax returns, pay taxes and otherwise comply with federal tax law using an individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN) instead of a Social Security number would qualify for a payment.

Unemployment benefits: The bill would carry over the current enhanced unemployment benefit of $600 per week (on top of states' typical unemployment payout) to January 2021.

Second stimulus check: What comes next?

The House has made its move and now we wait on the White House and the Senate to share their full proposals, which should be up for debate sometime this month. Here's the timeline as we know it today, including the Senate's blackout dates for weeks of planned recess.

While the prospects for a second package seem promising -- "The odds of a Phase Four deal are very, very high," White House adviser Kevin Hassett told the Wall Street Journal in June -- until Congress actually passes the bill and the president signs it into law, we'll have to stand by.

While we wait to learn more about a second proposal, here's information about unemployment insurancewhat you can do if you've lost your jobwhat to know about evictions and late car payments and how to take control of your budget.