New stimulus check requirements? Here’s how your eligibility might change if a bill passes – CNET


The final proposal for who may or may not qualify for a second stimulus check is coming into focus.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Now that another workweek has gone by without a deal on the next coronavirus stimulus bill, a big question looms: Will a relief package pass at all? And if it does, how will the qualifications change from the last stimulus check to the next?

Washington lawmakers seem to agree that more people should receive a second stimulus check worth up to $1,200, but the gulf is wide between Republican and Democratic proposals. The HEALS Act wants to include one group that was left out the first time, while the Heroes Act (which passed in the House of Representatives in May and sat cold in the Senate) seeks to make more people eligible.

Below, we take a look at the highlights of each proposal for the next economic relief package for clues on who may or may not be included in the end, if a deal is reached. This story was recently updated.

Who would get a stimulus check if the HEALS Act is passed?

If the HEALS Act becomes law, it would largely replicate the payment eligibility set out in the CARES Act, with a new allowance for dependents:

  • A single US resident with an adjusted gross income, or AGI, less than $99,000
  • A head of a household earning under $146,500
  • A couple filing jointly without children and earning less than $198,000
  • A dependent of any age

Under the CARES Act, the cutoff to receive a $500 dependent check was age 16 and younger; college students under 24 years old were not eligible to receive a check. The Republican proposal would exclude those in prison and people who recently died from qualifying for a check. The bill would also prohibit creditors and banks from seizing the payment to pay debts.

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Stimulus standoff on Capitol Hill


The Heroes Act’s vision for stimulus check eligibility

The Democratic proposal would offer broader eligibility parameters in the Heroes Act, which was advanced by the House of Representatives on May 15. Although Senate Republicans and President Donald Trump oppose the plan, we can look to this bill to see the Democratic position on the upper limits of who might qualify in a broad proposal:

  • Individuals who made less than $99,000 according to the adjusted gross income from their 2018 or 2019 taxes (whichever was most recently filed)
  • College students, dependents over 17, disabled relatives and taxpayers’ parents
  • Families of up to five people for a cap of $6,000 per family
  • SSDI recipients
  • People who aren’t US citizens but do file tax returns, pay taxes and otherwise comply with federal tax law using an individual taxpayer identification number instead of a Social Security number
$20 bills and credit cards in a wallet

It could soon become clear who will qualify for another stimulus check.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Here’s who didn’t get a stimulus check with the CARES Act

Under the CARES Act, which became law in March, these groups were excluded from receiving the first payment:

  • Single taxpayers with an adjusted gross income above $99,000
  • Heads of households with an AGI over $136,500
  • Married couples with an AGI over $198,000
  • Children over 16 and college students under age 24
  • Nonresident aliens, as defined by the US government

When will Congress reach a deal on the eligibility requirements?

While Republican and Democratic negotiators are meeting daily to work out the details of the new stimulus package, the two sides are far apart. If they reach an agreement soon, however, the House of Representatives and Senate could still hold votes next week on the bill.

To give negotiators more time to make a deal, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell have pushed back the start of their chambers’ August breaks. After the sides reach an agreement, the stimulus bill won’t take effect until the president signs it into law. 

And while we won’t know for sure until the two sides come together on the next stimulus package, we have a good idea when a check could be sent.

For more, here’s what we know about the major proposals for a second stimulus package. We also have information on unemployment insurance, what you can do if you’ve lost your job, if you could receive two refund checks from the IRS and what to know about evictions.

Julie Snyder and Shelby Brown contributed to this report.


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