You could get another coronavirus support check before the end of 2020. The question is, how much would you get?
Many hoped that the stimulus checks that the IRS began sending in April would be enough to help Americans weather the worst of the economic crisis that continues to plague the country in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, three months after Congress passed the CARES Act that authorized the first round of payments, Washington is trying to reach a consensus on whether the economy needs a second financial boost.
The problem is that no one agrees on what this second round of stimulus checks would look like. House Democrats, Senate Republicans and President Donald Trump have specific – and sometimes conflicting – goals about what a second package should accomplish. And each proposal suggests a different figure, from $1 trillion to $3 trillion, for a rescue package that could also include benefits for the unemployed and small business owners, plus a check for you.
Second Coronavirus Check and $4,000 for Travel: What We Know
Here is what we know so far about each of these proposals and how much stimulus money you could expect to receive. This article is frequently updated with new information and is intended to provide an overview of the situation. If you are still waiting for your first stimulus check, here are 10 possible reasons for its delay and what you can do if you think your payment has been lost or overlooked.
How much money could I get from a second stimulus check?
So far, some figures have been mentioned. $1,200 per eligible recipient. A maximum of $6,000 per family. 2,000 per person per month until January 2021, or perhaps 2,000 per month until the end of the pandemic.
These are some suggestions from leading Democratic leaders. The Senate and the White House have not yet made public their preferences and projections, but we have eyes and ears open to any new developments.
Remember that, in the end, the figure you get will depend on who you are. For example, even if the bill passes, there will likely be eligibility restrictions based on criteria such as how much money you make annually, your age, and your U.S. citizenship or residency status, to name a few that applied to the first stimulus check.
How could a second stimulus check help the economy?
The purpose of the second stimulus check would be the same as the first: to help people and businesses affected by the coronavirus outbreak. That includes those people who were unable to work because they became ill, received a work permit, had to cut their work hours part-time or lost their jobs when businesses closed to stop the spread of COVID-19.
According to the World Bank, we are facing the most acute global recession in recent decades. According to a survey published June 5 by The Financial Times, Americans continue to show concern about the state of the economy since the beginning of the pandemic, with more than one-third of them saying that a global slowdown is the greatest threat to the U.S. economy.
In this context of high unemployment and a potentially long recession ahead, some are wondering whether the first check was enough to help individuals, families, businesses and those without jobs. The debate over future stimulus checks is partly about how best to distribute additional aid.
In June, the Labor Department reported that 1.9 million Americans filed new unemployment insurance claims by the last week of May, and 21.5 million received unemployment benefits in the week of May 23. This actually represented a drop in numbers as more people returned to work and the national unemployment rate fell from 14.7 percent in April to 13.3 percent in May as states allowed more businesses to reopen and hire or rehire employees.
The White House’s vision for the second stimulus check
According to The Wall Street Journal, the White House plan is still taking shape, and Trump and his economic advisers are seeking to boost the U.S. economy by providing incentives for workers to find new jobs or return to their existing jobs, eat out at restaurants and go on vacation, for example.
The president has already expressed his support for a second round of checks. “We will be asking for additional stimulus money,” he said earlier this month. “Because, once we get this going, [everything] will be much bigger and better than what we’ve seen in this country, including [the situation of] three or four months ago, when everybody thought [everything] was great and it was.
Expanding on the president’s statement late last week, White House aide Peter Navarro tweeted that Trump is considering at least US$2 billion for the next stimulus package, “with a large portion [of those funds] going to bring our production base back home,” Navarro said. It’s unclear how much of that amount would go toward stimulus checks for individuals and families.
The White House is also considering reducing unemployment payments to $250 or $300 per week during the second half of the year. Republicans believe this will induce people who lost their jobs to find new ones. Currently, payments are $600 a week, as part of the CARES Act passed in March. This increase in benefits is due July 31.
The president continues to push for payroll tax cuts, an idea he raised in March. “We will implement a payroll tax cut,” he said earlier this month, “which will be incredible in terms of what we are doing because it will allow us to be bigger and better than ever.
The White House also is considering tax breaks for those taking vacations within the United States this year to encourage spending, The Wall Street Journal reported. Japan has taken a similar approach to encourage domestic travel. Presidential advisers believe the terms of this package will not be finalized until July, according to the Journal.
What does the Heroes Act propose?
The House of Representatives, which has a Democratic majority, passed the Heroes Act on May 15. This bill, which has not passed the Senate and therefore is not yet law, seeks to provide a wide range of benefits to households, renters and people living in the United States who are not citizens, according to a fact sheet from the House Appropriations Committee (PDF). Because it has already been passed by the House of Representatives, the details of this stimulus proposal are the most widely known.
But it does not guarantee that it will pass the Senate. In fact, McConnell has already rejected the bill, as has the White House, saying that the House package is “more concerned with fulfilling longstanding ideological and partisan ‘wish lists.
These are his proposals.
All eligible individuals would receive up to $1,200 if the adjusted gross income (AGI) on their 2019 or 2018 federal tax return (if you have not yet filed this year) was less than $75,000; that amount would decrease gradually as your AGI increases.
Children and dependents
Every dependent would qualify for a $1,200 payment, unlike the first stimulus bill, which had a limit of up to three children and $500 for each. It would apply to college students, children over 17, disabled relatives, and one of the taxpayer’s parents.
Households would qualify for a maximum total payment of US$6,000, limited to five family members (up to US$1,200 each). The amount you would receive would decrease the higher your AGI.
Non-citizens who file tax returns, pay taxes and comply with federal tax law by using an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) instead of a Social Security number would qualify for a payment.
If passed, the law would extend the current increase in unemployment benefits of $600 per week (in addition to the typical state unemployment payment) until January 2021.
What do Republican leaders have to offer?
Senate Republicans, led by majority leader Mitch McConnell, have outlined the guidelines they want to follow for a second round, including a limit on the size of the bill and the stipulation that it will be the last stimulus package related to the coronavirus pandemic.
McConnell said the Senate could begin work on the package after its planned recess in July (July 3-17), Bloomberg said.
McConnell said a second bill would be more limited in scope and not exceed $1 billion, Axios reported in late May. By comparison, the CARES Act is a US$2 billion package, the same amount the president is aiming for. The Heroes Act proposes to spend US$3 billion.
- The Senate package could include provisions to reduce the liability of doctors and businesses for coronavirus-related lawsuits, The Wall Street Journal reported.
- It could include assistance for small businesses and health care.
- If the package passes, McConnell said it would be the last coronavirus-related stimulus package that Congress would approve.
Second Stimulus Check: What’s Next?
While the White House and congressional leaders may spend the next few weeks working on the outline of their proposals, it is not until the end of July that Washington is expected to begin working out the details of a second stimulus package, including whether there will be a second round of payments for individuals and families, and what the amounts might be that they can expect to receive.
While the outlook for a second package looks promising (“The odds of a Phase Four deal are extremely high,” White House aide Kevin Hassett told The Wall Street Journal this month), until Congress passes the bill and the president signs it into law, we will have to wait.