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By Brad Tuttle
Updated: August 7, 2020 7:34 AM ET | Originally published: July 24, 2020
Money, Getty Images

Americans overwhelmingly say they want a second round of $1,200 coronavirus stimulus checks. Now, three months after the first stimulus checks began making their way to taxpayers, the government appears ready to pay up once more.

According to a recent survey conducted for Money, 42% of Americans said they need a second stimulus check to cover essential expenses like housing and food, while an additional 32% said another stimulus payment would be “helpful but not necessary” to pay the bills.

The HEALS Act — and a Second Stimulus Check: Update

The possibility of a second direct stimulus payment to help struggling Americans and boost the economy has been discussed for months. Last week the GOP proposal was revealed. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said on Monday, July 27, that the proposal will be a series of bills collectively known as the HEALS Act. “Together, their bills make up the HEALS Act — Health; economic assistance; liability protection; and schools,” said McConnell. “It will take bipartisan cooperation to make the HEALS Act into law for the American people.”

The Senate Committee on Finance, led by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), published a section-by-section summary of the legislation focused on coronavirus relief for workers, families, and employers, and yes, it includes a second round of stimulus checks.

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Bear in mind that right now, the GOP plan’s is just a proposal. The components are up for negotiation and could be changed between the time it’s released and it goes to a vote in Congress. It’s then possible that the final bill(s) might be delayed, or even quashed. More than a week after details of the package were released, it appeared that Congress was not close to reaching a deal.

Even so, if you received a $1,200 coronavirus relief payment from the IRS before, you may very well get another $1,200 stimulus check in the near future. It also looks likely that dependents who did not receive any stimulus payments — including college students — will each be receiving up to $500 this time around.

Stimulus Check Eligibility: Who Qualifies for a Second Payment?

On Thursday, July 23, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told reporters that the new GOP coronavirus relief package would include direct stimulus payments to Americans, and that eligibility for checks and payment amounts would be the same as the first round of stimulus checks.

When asked by reporters about how the second round of stimulus payments would be structured, Mnuchin said, “We’re talking about the same provision as last time, so our proposal is the exact same proposal as last time,” according to The Hill.

In other words, anyone who received a first stimulus check would receive a second stimulus check, for the same dollar amount. If you’ve forgotten what the stimulus check eligibility rules were the first time around, here are the basics:

• For most recipients, stimulus checks, or “Economic Impact Payments” in the words of the IRS, are based on your adjusted gross income (AGI) in your tax returns.

• Individual tax filers with an AGI of $75,000 or less, and married couples filing jointly with a combined AGI up to $150,000, would receive the maximum amount: $1,200 per adult.

• Individual tax filers with an AGI between $75,000 and $99,000, and married couples filing jointly with a combined AGI between $150,000 to $198,000, are also eligible with stimulus checks, but they won’t get the full $1,200 per adult — the amounts taper off as income levels increase. Anyone with an AGI above the upper threshold is not eligible for stimulus payments. Also ineligible, according to the IRS: “aliens” (a.k.a. non-citizens) and people who are incarcerated.

• Families with children under the age of 17 claimed on their tax returns receive extra stimulus payments, allocated at $500 per eligible child.

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Do College Students and Adult Dependents Qualify for Stimulus Checks?

If the second round of stimulus checks follows the same rules as the first payments, then these and other individuals will again be excluded.

However, according to this week’s Committee on Finance summary, the second round of stimulus checks will have no age limits on the $500 payments for dependents. In other words, dependents who are 17 and over and claimed for tax purposes by their parents or someone else — including millions of college students — could each be eligible for up to $500.

“Unlike under the CARES Act where the additional $500 was limited to taxpayers with a dependent child under 17, the additional $500 will now be provided to taxpayers with dependents of any age,” the summary states.

When Is the IRS Sending New Stimulus Checks?

The IRS was surprisingly fast in the issuing of the first round of stimulus checks. If and when the second stimulus payments are approved and signed into law by President Trump, it may again only take a short few weeks afterward for the money to arrive in your bank account. (As before, the fastest way to get your stimulus check is via bank direct deposit.)

If things go smoothly — a big IF — you could be in possession of a second stimulus check by Labor Day, if not sooner. Speaking to CNBC on Thursday, Secretary Mnuchin said, “The President’s preference is to make sure that we send out direct payments quickly so that in August, people get more money.”

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