New stimulus check: When we think the IRS could send the second payment


The second stimulus check is coming. We break down possible payment schedules.

James Martin/CNET

second stimulus payment will form a big part of CARES 2, the Senate Republicans’ plan for the next economic rescue package that is set for a Monday unveiling. However, a new check for up to $1,200 won’t arrive immediately, even in the best circumstances.

“We’re prepared to move quickly,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told reporters Saturday noting that the checks will arrive in August.

But August is a long month. Looking over the Senate calendar and using the first stimulus check as a guide can give us some ballpark dates to work from. This is, of course, pure speculation, and there are several factors involved that could speed up or slow down check delivery. Here’s what to keep in mind as you anticipate a new direct payment.

This story updates often as new information becomes available.

When could the IRS send the new stimulus checks?

The Senate’s last day in session before its August recess is Aug. 7, which means that Congress has to agree on a final stimulus bill before then. After that, senators return to their home states until the session picks up again Sept. 8.

We don’t know how long it will take from the time the bill is signed into law to the time the IRS sends checks, but we can sketch out possibilities based on the first CARES Act’s journey through the final approval process.

When could the second stimulus checks go out?

Date passed by Senate Date passed by House Date signed First checks sent
Original CARES Act March 25 March 26 March 27 April 15
Proposal date Negotiations begin Negotiation time before deadline Deadline to pass a bill
CARES 2 Act July 27 July 28? 7 or 8 days Aug 7
If Senate passes If House passes If President signs First checks could be sent
Final negotiated bill Aug. 6 Aug. 7 Aug. 10 Week of Aug. 24
Sept. 8 Sept. 9 Sept. 10 or Sept. 11 Week of Sept. 28

What could make the second stimulus check arrive sooner?

Here are some possibilities that could result in the IRS sending checks sooner rather than later, assuming the next stimulus bill passes Congress on Aug. 7.

“If the parameters stayed the same, we could do it really quickly,” Sen. John Thune, a Republican from South Dakota, said, according to The Washington Post.

  • CARES 2 guidelines are the same as the original CARES Act, which allows the IRS to follow the same model.
  • The IRS already built its Get My Payment tool for the dual purposes of tracking your stimulus check payment and signing up for direct deposit. Implementing this tool for the first checks took time.
  • If fewer people qualify for the next direct payment overall, those who do may receive their checks sooner because the backlog of people waiting will be smaller.

Congress is working on a new coronavirus stimulus bill that may put another $1,200 in your wallet.

Angela Lang/CNET

What could delay the IRS sending the second stimulus checks? 

If Congress and President Donald Trump can’t agree on the contents of the next stimulus bill and miss the Aug. 7 deadline, it will be another month before the next session in Washington can reconvene and propose, debate and pass the bill.

Both chambers of Congress and the president appear motivated to pass the bill before Aug. 7, though the Senate has already fallen behind schedule.

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What’s the last date I could receive a second stimulus check?

Once again, the first stimulus checks can provide a potential blueprint, though there’s no official news until another rescue package is passed.

The IRS will have sent about 200 million checks by the time it’s done distributing the first raft of payments. (The total US population is nearly 330 million people, according to the Census Bureau.) 

The majority of those were sent by the beginning of June, though the IRS said it will continue to disburse the final batches through the end of the year. If there are fewer people receiving a second stimulus check, it’s possible that it won’t take as long to send a second round of checks.


US workers are experiencing a staggeringly high unemployment rate.

Angela Lang/CNET

Will this be the last stimulus check?

In May, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said this next coronavirus relief bill will also be the last. The course of COVID-19 infections will certainly play a role in future debates over the best way to strengthen the economy. Coronavirus infections began surging in June, with record numbers of infections rising in July.

Need more help?

If you’re still waiting on the first round of coronavirus payments, you can track the status of your stimulus check, learn how to report your no-show check to the IRS and find possible reasons why your stimulus check still hasn’t arrived.

Here are even more resources about coronavirus hardship loans and unemployment insurance, what you can do if you’ve lost your job, what to know about evictions and late car payments and how to take control of your budget.

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