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Second stimulus check: Would you get more than $1,200 or less? A look at the money


How much money are we really looking at with a second stimulus check?

Angela Lang/CNET

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Here’s what we do know: Next week, Congress will begin work on another stimulus proposal, and a second stimulus check will be part of the discussion, according to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. What we don’t know — and what no one in Washington is talking about publicly — is if a new payment would be larger or smaller than the $1,200 cap from the first stimulus check.

There have been hints that it might be harder to qualify for an extra direct payment, and that there may be less money to go around overall. Some leaders in Washington, however — including President Donald Trump — have called for the stimulus check to be even bigger. How much money you could actually get will depend on the size of the total relief package and how Congress will portion out that money. 

Read on for what we’re hearing. And here’s more information on when we think Washington will reach a decision and who might qualify for a second stimulus check if a new economic bill passes.

Warning: A second stimulus check could be smaller

White House economic advisor Larry Kudlow said on July 10 that a second stimulus check will be smaller than the first, Fox Business reported. That aligns with McConnell, who has indicated that the next stimulus package would have a $1 trillion cap.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has made her disagreement clear.

“A trillion dollars is, OK, that’s an interesting starting point, but it doesn’t come anywhere near,” Pelosi said July 9. “We need $1 trillion for state and local [assistance]. We need another $1 trillion for unemployment insurance and direct payments. We need something like that, but probably not as much, for the [coronavirus] testing, tracing, treatment,” she said. “What doesn’t measure up is, ‘Oh, it can only be a trillion dollars.””

The final figure is anything but decided and the tides could turn. For the last two months, proposals have surfaced over how big a second stimulus check should be, ranging from a single $1,200 payment up to $2,000 a month through the end of the pandemic.

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How much money could a second stimulus check get you?

Washington leaders are talking about these possible stimulus figures for individuals:

As with the first stimulus check, it’s almost certain that Congress will include eligibility restrictions based on how much money you make annually, your age, the number of dependents you have and your US citizenship or residency status.

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What do Trump and his administration say about a second stimulus check?

The president has, over the past few weeks, come out as a firm advocate of a second round of direct payment to Americans.

“I support actually larger numbers than the Democrats,” Trump said July 1, referring to the $1,200-per-person amount the Democrat-led House proposed in May. The Washington Post reported in June that the president has told aides he is largely supportive of sending a second round of checks to Americans.

cash funds running out of money change dollars wallet empty

The president said he supports another round of direct payments.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Kudlow echoed the president’s support, telling Fox Business last week, “Direct checks are probably going to be part of it, as far as the president is concerned right now.”

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin also expressed support, telling reporters at a White House briefing, “We’re going to serious[ly] consider whether we’re going to put more payments and direct payments over. It worked very well.”

The Chair of the Federal Reserve Jerome Powell made the case for more stimulus money in prepared remarks before the House committee on Financial Services on June 30. “A full [economic] recovery is unlikely until people are confident that it is safe to re-engage in a broad range of activities,” Powell said. “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.”

The Senate’s view: A smaller second stimulus check

“I’ll be unveiling something, which will be a starting place, in a few weeks,” McConnell said July 6 about a new stimulus package. And a new payment for individuals and families “could well be part of it,” he added. We picked through the Senate calendar to get a good idea of its timeline.

And while the Senate has not offered many specifics on what it will include in its proposal, McConnell has been clear what it won’t offer. 

“I can’t tell you what the amount is likely to be at this point, but it won’t be $3 trillion,” McConnell said late last month. He also proposed setting a $40,000 income ceiling to qualify for a check. “I think the people who have been hit the hardest are people who make about $40,000 a year or less. Many of them work in the hospitality industry,” he said

Here’s what we know about who might qualify for a second check.

McConnell had previously stressed that the focus of another bill will be narrow and, if approved, will be the last. Republican senators are focused on including incentives to bring people back to work.


The Senate intends to weigh the benefits of a second check this month.

A $1,200 one-time payment from the House’s Heroes Act?

The House of Representatives passed the Heroes Act on May 15. The bill, which has not passed the Senate and is not law, seeks larger payments for more family members, according to a fact sheet from the House Appropriations Committee (PDF). McConnell has already dismissed the bill, as has the president, who has called it DOA. Here are the broad outlines of the House coronavirus bill:

  • Individuals: An eligible person could receive up to $1,200.
  • Children and dependents: Each dependent could qualify for a $1,200 payment.
  • Families: Households would qualify for a maximum payment of $6,000 total, capped at five family members at $1,200 apiece.
  • 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 instead of a Social Security number would qualify for a payment.

The bill would also extend many federal benefits set to expire this month.

Second stimulus check: What comes next?

The Senate returns to Washington on Monday, July 20, when it will pick up the topic of the next rescue bill and check. The Senate will have three weeks until Aug. 7 to pass another stimulus bill before a monthlong recess.

If you’re still waiting for your first stimulus check, here 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.

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