Stimulus check eligibility: How the requirements may change with a new relief package – CNET


The final proposal for requirements to get a second stimulus check is coming into focus.

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Could you qualify for another stimulus check in 2020? That answer depends on so many things: including if the president’s collection of executive actions over the weekend hasn’t derailed negotiations and talks resume, if another stimulus package passes as a result, if you qualified for the first stimulus check and the requirements don’t change much, or if they do change and you happen to fall into the right category.

Both sides of the aisle have expressed interest in picking the talks back up and a new stimulus payment is expected to be part of the discussion. “We’ve agreed on more direct payments, like we sent last time,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Monday.

Here’s what we know about who would become eligible to receive a payment under each plan. Keep reading to see if you might meet the qualifications that are likely to be set in a final bill, if one is passed. This story updates often with new information.

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

There may be continued discussions over stimulus relief in the coming week. If the HEALS Act becomes law, it would largely replicate the payment eligibility set out in the earlier 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 weren’t eligible to receive a check. The Republican proposal would exclude people 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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The Heroes Act’s vision for stimulus check requirements

The Democratic proposal offers broader eligibility parameters in the Heroes Act, which was advanced by the House of Representatives on May 15. Although Senate Republicans and the president 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$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 receive a stimulus check under 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 an agreement on the eligibility requirements?

Right now, the timeline for continued discussions remains up in the air. While talks between Republican and Democratic negotiators on the new stimulus package stopped last week, the two sides have signaled they are willing to pick up the debate. If talks resume and they reach an agreement soon, the House of Representatives and Senate could still hold votes on the bill later in August. 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, if a new bill passes.

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.