Ready for the second stimulus check? Here’s the potential timeline

Congress appears on the brink of approving a second round of coronavirus stimulus checks. If approved, here’s when you might see the payments start to arrive.

WASHINGTON — More than seven months after Americans started receiving the first coronavirus stimulus checks, Congress appears to be on the brink of finally approving a second round of checks. 

As of Thursday afternoon, negotiators were working through a handful of remaining hold-ups on a $900 billion COVID-19 economic relief package. 

What is the timeline for the second round of stimulus payments?

The biggest factor outright depends on when Congress and President Donald Trump approves the legislation. 

There’s a hoped-for deadline of midnight Friday to deliver both the completed COVID-19 relief proposal and $1.4 trillion government-wide funding bill to Trump. The current temporary spending bill is set to expire midnight Friday.

But on Thursday, congressional leaders acknowledged they may need to pass another temporary spending bill to keep negotiations going into the weekend. 

How fast could the IRS send out checks once approved?

During the first round of economic impact payments, President Trump approved the CARES Act on March 27 and the first checks started appearing in people’s bank accounts about three weeks later, during the week of April 14.

However, because the IRS already did a lot of the set-up work during the first round of payments, there’s a chance a second round of stimulus checks could be sent out faster.

Back in August, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the IRS could process the first batch of new stimulus payments within a week. 

“I can get out 50 million payments really quickly. Lot of it into people’s direct accounts,” Mnuchin said then. 

That being said, nothing will be sent out until Congress comes to an agreement on a stimulus package and Trump signs it.  

With just about two weeks left in the year, and with Christmas coming up next week, it seems likely that the earliest Americans might see a second payment would be early January 2021. 

If you received your first stimulus check by mail, you’ll want to sign up for direct deposit to make sure you get it quicker. It’s likely that paper checks won’t arrive until weeks after payments are sent out to those who set up direct deposit. 

How much will the stimulus checks be?

While the bill text hasn’t been formally revealed, the proposal is expected to include $600 direct payments to most Americans. That’s about half of what was sent out during the first round of stimulus checks. 

Under the CARES Act, millions of Americans received checks up to $1,200 per adult, and an additional $500 for each eligible child, for individuals making less than $75,000 and couples making less than $150,000 annually.

It’s not yet known whether the next COVID-19 package has the same income limits or if it goes lower. 

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