The CARES Act included a one-time $1,200 stimulus check per qualifying adult, with an additional $500 per qualifying dependent, age 16 and under. Most of those stimulus checks have now been issued and the money long since spent.
However, many Americans are still struggling, leaving many to ask if there will be a second stimulus check, and if so, who will qualify for it, and how much will it cover.
Right now, we don’t have those answers. But we can walk you through everything we know so far, including the stimulus check details found in the HEROES Act, which passed the House and is awaiting a vote in Congress. We will also cover the various official stimulus proposals that have been made and additional information about another stimulus check based on statements made by government officials.
As far as a timeline goes, we may not have any official information until the middle or the end of July. What happens between now and then regarding coronavirus numbers, unemployment numbers, and the economy will greatly impact the likelihood of a second stimulus check.
Finally, keep in mind this is an election year. Several reports say President Trump is in favor of a second stimulus check, with the understanding that a second stimulus check may help his chances at another election. After all, he had his signature added to the Memo section of the Economic Relief Payments authorized under the CARES Act, even though they were not required and it delayed the initial mailing date of the checks.
The First Stimulus Check Under the CARES Act
Many of the second stimulus check proposals are based on the CARES Act stimulus check eligibility criteria, so we will cover this as our baseline. As we covered above, the CARES Act authorized stimulus payments of $1,200 per qualifying adult, and $500 per qualifying child dependent age 16 and under.
Qualifications were based on the following:
- Whether or not you have a Social Security Number
- Whether anyone can claim you as a dependent on their tax return, and
- Your Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) from your most recent tax return (2018 or 2019).
The income limits were based on your AGI from the most recent tax year on file—2018 or 2019:
- AGI was less than $75,000 ($150,000 for married couples filing jointly).
- Payment phases out for income between $75,000 – $99,000 for individuals ($150,000 – $198,000 for married couples).
- Those with an AGI greater than $99,000 ($198,000 for married couples) are ineligible for a stimulus check.
- Additional $500 for each qualifying child ages 16 and under.
- No stimulus check for dependents ages 17 and over if they are claimed as a dependent on their parent’s tax return.
There are several important items of note about eligibility:
- Individuals were not eligible if they did not have a Social Security Number. Many married couples were left out if one of the spouses had an individual taxpayer ID, even if the other spouse had an SSN.
- Dependents ages 17 and over were left out if they could be claimed on another person’s tax return, even if they were working and paid taxes, leaving out millions of high school and college-age workers.
Most of the proposals for a second stimulus check worked to correct these issues.
Second Stimulus Check Proposals
There have been several notable stimulus check proposals to date. Let’s start with the biggest, the HEROES Act, which is a $3 trillion stimulus bill that includes a stimulus check as well as a “wish-list” of other line items. For the purposes of this overview, we will only cover the stimulus check portion of the HEROES Act.
We will also cover the other proposals to date and discuss where they stand and the likelihood of them being passed.
HEROES Act Stimulus Check Proposal – Odds of Passing, Not Great (But There is Hope; See Notes)
The HEROES Act has passed the House and is currently awaiting a vote from the Senate. It includes a $1,200 stimulus check per adult, and $1,200 per qualifying dependent, up to three dependents per family, for a maximum of $6,000 per family.
Unlike the CARES Act, the HEROES Act provides a stimulus check for all dependents, regardless of age, up to 3 per family. This means that dependents ages 17 and up who were excluded from the CARES Act would be included in the HEROES Act stimulus check program. The HEROES Act would also provide stimulus payments for adult dependents who were also left out of the CARES Act.
Also included in the HEROES Act are those who have an Individual Taxpayer ID, but do not have a Social Security Number (these individuals were also left out of the CARES Act).
Income eligibility was the same as the eligibility requirements for the CARES Act.
Odds of Passing: Not great. The HEROES Act is simply too massive and contains many additions that aren’t necessary. Senate Republicans likened it to a Democratic “wish-list” and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell declared it “dead on arrival” in the Senate.
However, there is hope for this framework. The framework for the stimulus check portion of the bill could easily be used for another stimulus check if Congress decides to pass one. Keep an eye on the details for this program, as this is the most likely stimulus check proposal to date.
$2,000 Monthly Stimulus Check Proposals
There have been several other notable stimulus check proposals, several of which called for a monthly $2,000 stimulus check for the duration of the Covid-19 crisis.
Here are the proposals to date, with a brief overview and links to further reading.
- The Emergency Money for the People Act would provide a $2,000 monthly stimulus check for up to one year. Here is a full overview of the Emergency Money for the People Act.
- The Automatic Boost to Communities (ABC) Act would provide a monthly stimulus check for $2,000 for at least 12 months during the payment period, with an additional $1,000 monthly payment for the following 12 months. Adults and dependents would receive the same amount each month and there would be no income limit for the stimulus payment. Full ABC Act overview.
- The Monthly Economic Crisis Support Act would provide a $2,000 monthly stimulus check for individuals and up to three dependents for at least six months. The income limits for this proposal are different than the CARES Act. You can learn more in this Monthly Economic Crisis Support Act Overview.
These proposals would offer welcome financial relief for many individuals, but they would come with a massive cost. We have estimated that a $2,000 monthly stimulus check could cost anywhere from $3 trillion up to $10 trillion.
Odds of Passing? Next to zero. The cost of these programs is simply too high. And while a monthly stimulus check would provide ongoing support, there are more efficient and cost-effective methods of sending money to those who need it, as opposed to sending it to everyone. Here are more reasons why these $2,000 monthly stimulus checks are unlikely to be passed.
Other Current Stimulus Proposals
There have been several other proposals in Congress. Here are some of the more high-profile proposals to date:
- The Rent and Mortgage Cancellation Act would cancel rent and mortgage payments for an individual’s primary residence for up to one year, with a limit of one per household. Rent and mortgage payments would be paid for by the Rental Property Relief Fund and the Home Lenders Relief Fund, both of which would be created by the Act and would be managed by the Department of Housing and Urban Development. You can learn more in this Rent and Cancellation Act overview.
- The Getting America Back to Work Act would provide a payroll tax rebate that covers 80 percent of payroll expenses, enabling businesses to more easily hire and retain employees. You can read the proposal here.
- The American Tax Rebate and Incentive Program (TRIP) Act would offer a $4,000 tax credit per adult (plus $500 per qualifying child) to take a vacation at least 50 miles away from home.
Odds of Passing? The Rent and Mortgage Cancellation Act and the TRIP Act both have little chance of being passed. However, there have been several discussions about payroll tax waivers and similar tax cuts to promote hiring and employee retention. This bill, or a similar proposal, has some chance of being passed in the next stimulus package.
Other Possibilities for the Next Stimulus Package
Several government officials have given statements or hinted at what they believe the next stimulus package will include. While there is support for a second stimulus check, it is not universal. In general, the Democrats are more in favor of a second stimulus check, while the Republicans are more inclined to provide relief through other means, such as proposals designed to improve employment.
Here is some of the coverage we have on this topic: