If Trump signs off on $600 second stimulus check, will you get your payment first or last? – CNET

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Will you be first in line for a stimulus check, or last?


Angela Lang/CNET

The road to a second stimulus check has grown even rockier, but the direct payment still has a few more chances to come your way. If Trump, who’s now in Florida celebrating Christmas, signs the joint funding/COVID-19 relief bill in the next week, it’s possible to predict when the IRS may begin to issue stimulus payments, and who would get them first — and last.  (And here’s who could now be ineligible.)

We’ll tell you what you need to know about the priority payment order we expect to see from the IRS, but first, let’s make sure you’re caught up on the latest. The Senate passed a $900 billion bipartisan stimulus package with a second stimulus check worth up to $600 on Monday night. The next day, President Donald Trump asked Congress to raise the stimulus payment in the COVID-19 relief bill to $2,000 maximum per person (though it’s unclear how much would be earmarked for dependents).

The next move is for the House of Representatives to vote for a standalone bill for $2,000 on Monday, but it isn’t expected to be taken up by the Senate. If any bill is signed, the second stimulus check will be sent out in waves (calculate your $600-max stimulus check total), so some people will get them days, weeks or possibly even months after others. Read on to understand the different priority payment groups that are used by the IRS. We recently updated this story.

First: People who have set up direct deposit with the IRS

People who have their direct deposit information on file with the IRS, or who quickly provide that information when and if IRS registration opens it up again, are projected to be in the first group to receive a stimulus check. An electronic transfer of funds is faster and more efficient than mailing a check, which is why this group largely got their first payment faster.

Read more: A third stimulus check in 2021? Here’s why January’s new Congress could hold the key.

“The good news is [direct deposit] is a very, very fast way of getting money into the economy. Let me emphasize: People are going to see this money at the beginning of next week” Mnuchin said Monday on a phone call with CNBC.

For the first stimulus check, the IRS took 19 days to build their online tool. On April 15, it sent the first batch of stimulus checks, and in the first week, sent roughly $80 million payments to eligible recipients through direct deposit. People were encouraged to continue registering for direct deposit through May 13 as a way to get their checks faster than through the mail. Some did experience holdups with the tool or with their personal situations, but on the whole, this was the speediest method.

Here are ways you can help speed up delivery of your next check, including what we know now about signing up for direct deposit.


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Next stimulus checks: What to expect

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Social Security beneficiaries: Two main scenarios to know

With the first stimulus payment, many people who receive Social Security disbursements who also had direct deposit information on file with the federal government received checks in the first week, though not always the first day.

The IRS had a separate informational section for people who receive SSDI and SSI. Normally, people in these groups receive their federal benefits through a Direct Express card, though people in this group received their stimulus payment through a non-Direct Express bank or a paper check.

Why paper stimulus check delivery times could lag

With the first batch of payments, the IRS began to mail checks about a week after people with direct deposit data on file. The US Treasury can process between 5 million and 7 million paper stimulus checks a week in addition to checks for other federal programs, according to a Government Accountability Office report from June. 

The IRS and Treasury said they began sending checks to people whose adjusted gross income, or AGI, is less than $20,000, and then moving to people whose AGIs are progressively larger.

The IRS has said it sent 160 million economic impact payments in total with the first check, which means it’s taken months to distribute paper checks to every eligible recipient. In fact, the IRS is wrapping up its distribution this month. Anyone who didn’t get a full or partial payment will be able to claim it in early 2021 during tax season.

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When you get your stimulus money could depend on who you are.


Sarah Tew/CNET

Mailed EIP cards were last on the list for the first stimulus check

Economic impact payment debit cards are prepaid Visa cards the IRS mailed to about 4 million people starting in mid-May. If the IRS follows the same payment priority order, this group could begin to see their payment start to arrive a month after the first direct deposit transfers take place. 

As with paper checks, the IRS would be able to process 5 to 7 million EIP cards a week. The payments arrived in unmarked envelopes, making it difficult for the recipient to identify, but also making it less likely to be stolen through mail fraud. It’s unclear if the IRS would keep the same delivery schedule for EIP cards with a second stimulus check.

People with more complex situations could be waiting the longest

This category includes people who received a check after June, still haven’t received their full stimulus payment or who didn’t know they need to complete an extra step

Direct payments will conclude at the end of December. Here’s what could be holding up the stimulus check delivery for some people and how to contact the IRS to report a missing, lost or stolen check. You may be qualified to claim a catch-up payment from the IRS, called a Recovery Rebate Credit, in the 2021 tax season.

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Understanding your stimulus priority group will help you set your expectations about the next check.


Angela Lang/CNET

If you didn’t get your full payment from the first payment, what happens next?

It isn’t always clear how much money the IRS might owe you in the event of an error. We suggest starting with our stimulus check calculator and this introduction to how the IRS tabulates your total sum. If the numbers seem lower than they should be, you might want to investigate further.

See if any of these situations could apply to you: Are you missing $500 allotted for your child dependents, or do you pay or receive child support? Are you a tax nonfiler who may be owed a stimulus check (including older adults and people who receive SSI or SSDI)?

If you’re a US citizen abroad or live in a US territory and didn’t receive a check as expected, you may also need to read up on the rules. And a new court ruling has made it possible for millions of people who are incarcerated to get a check, even after the IRS changed its interpretation to exclude this group.

Depending on which group you’re in, we’ve also mapped out some speculative dates for how soon you could potentially get your next stimulus check.