As reported by cnet,

We now have a good idea who will be eligible for a second stimulus check and what changes.


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Congress on Monday signed off on a second stimulus check as part of a larger a $900 billion bipartisan stimulus package. On Tuesday, however, President Donald Trump threatened to veto the long-awaited rescue bill, which is tied to next year’s federal budget, jeopardizing a collection of economic-assistance measures, including 11 more weeks of federal unemployment benefits along with the $600 payments to qualifying adults and children. As on Wednesday afternoon, it isn’t clear if he will veto the bill or not.

Despite Trump’s warning about the rescue package, we do have a clear idea of who would qualify for the $600 stimulus check, if the bill becomes law. (Calculate your $600 second stimulus check total now.)

And while the new rules for who would be eligible for a second stimulus check — and who wouldn’t qualify — take a similar path to requirements for first check, Congress did make some changes that could affect who will get a check and how big the check would be. 

One important thing to know: as with the first check, the rules around eligibility and the size of your second stimulus check go hand in hand. Here’s everything we know about the requirements for a second check. This story was recently updated.

What are the income limits to get a second stimulus check?

If the rescue bill is signed into law as is, the income limits for the $600 second check will stick closely to the first, with a few adjustments. As with the first direct payment under the CARES Act, the income limits are based on your adjusted gross income, or AGI

In one change for the $600 check, Congress decided to just use your 2019 AGI to determine if you qualify for a stimulus check, assuming you meet all the other requirements — not your AGI from 2018. (More below for people who don’t normally file taxes.) 

Here are the income limits for the second stimulus check. The first figure below represents the lower income limit to receive the full amount. Above that figure, your check amount would decrease on a sliding scale the higher your AGI, until it hits the second figure, which is the most you can make before you’re disqualified. Check out our stimulus check calculator to get an estimate for your specific situation.

  • Single tax filer: AGI under $75,000 (full amount) to under $87,000 (sliding scale, down from $99,000 with the first check). You won’t qualify for any money at $87,000 or above.
  • Head of a household: AGI under $112,500 (full amount) to under $124,500 (sliding scale, down from $146,500 with the first check). You won’t qualify at $124,500 or above.
  • Married, filing jointly: AGI under $150,000 (full amount) to under $174,000 combined (sliding scale, down from $198,000 with the first check). You won’t qualify at $174,000 or above.

These income limits do not count qualified children.


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Adults and their child dependents could get $600 apiece in a second stimulus check

With the second stimulus check, each eligible adult would get up to $600, decreasing as income raises (more on this above) and each child dependent — age 16 and younger — would also qualify for a $600 payment. There is no cap on how many children you can claim for a payment.

As with the first stimulus check, children age 17 and above and dependent adults will not be eligible for the $600 dependent payout. This excludes roughly 13.5 million adult dependents from contributing to the household total, according to the People’s Policy Project.

Read moreNobody can take your stimulus check away, right? Know your rights

Who could qualify for a second stimulus check

Qualifying group Covered in final bill
Individuals An AGI of less than $87,000
Head of household An AGI of less than $124,500
Couple filing jointly An AGI less than $174,000
Children under 17 years old $600 apiece, no limit on number of children
Families with noncitizen spouse Provided they meet other qualifications
US citizens living abroad Yes, same as CARES
Citizens of US territories Yes, same as CARES, with payments handled by each territory
SSDI and other tax nonfilers Yes, but may require an extra step to claim (more below)
Incarcerated people Initially excluded under CARES Act but now included
People who owe child support Excluded under CARES, but included in bill
Disqualified group Not covered in final bill
Non-US citizens Qualifying “alien residents” are currently included under CARES
Noncitizens who pay taxes Not included if no US citizen spouse

New changes could benefit some individuals and families

In the $900 billion stimulus package, a US citizen and child who has a noncitizen spouse will be eligible for a payment as long as they have Social Security numbers.

In the CARES Act from March, households with a person who was not a US citizen were not eligible to receive a stimulus check, even if one spouse and a child were US citizens.

If I owe child support, does that affect eligibility?

If you owed child support, your first stimulus money could be garnished for arrears (the amount you owe). In the new bill, those who owe child support won’t have their payment docked to cover past-due payments.

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If the definition of a dependent changes, your family could benefit.


Angela Lang/CNET

Incarcerated people can receive a second stimulus checks

After months of back and forth, the IRS was ordered by a federal judge to send the first stimulus checks to people who are incarcerated. They will also qualify with the new bill.

Noncitizens who pay taxes and are not married to US citizens

The CARES Act made a Social Security number a requirement for a payment. While earlier proposals would’ve expanded the eligibility to those with an ITIN instead of a Social Security number because they’re classified as a resident or nonresident alien, this group of people is again excluded in the final bill text.

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How much stimulus money you could get depends on who you are.


Angela Lang/CNET

How do my taxes affect how much I could get? What if I don’t file taxes? 

For most people, taxes and stimulus checks are tightly connected. For example, the most important factor in setting income limits is AGI, which determines how much of the total amount you could receive, be it $600 or $1,200 for individuals and $1,200 or $2,400 for married couples (excluding children for now).

Read below for your eligibility if you don’t typically file taxes.

What retired and older adults should know

Many older adults, including retirees over age 65, received a first stimulus check under the CARES Act, and will be eligible for a second one. For older adults and retired people, factors like your tax filingsyour AGI, your pension and if you’re part of the SSDI program (more below) will affect if you receive a second payment. 

I haven’t submitted my federal tax return for 2019. Can I still get money?

With the second payment, the IRS will use your 2019 tax returns to determine eligibility. People who weren’t required to file a federal income tax return in 2018 or 2019 may still be eligible to receive the first stimulus check under the CARES Act. And this group will qualify again. Here are reasons you might not have been required to file:

With the first stimulus check, nonfilers needed to provide the IRS with some information before they could receive their payment. (If you still haven’t received a first check even though you were eligible, the IRS said you can claim it on your taxes in 2021.) This fall, the IRS attempted to contact 9 million Americans who may have fallen into this category but who haven’t requested their payment. Those in this group can claim their payment on next year’s taxes.

Under the new bill, those who used the IRS the Nonfiler portal to file for the first check will also receive a second payment. We’ve reached out to the IRS and US Treasury to clarify what action, if any, these “nonfilers” will need to take.

I’m part of the SSI or SSDI program. Do I qualify for a stimulus check?

Those who are part of the SSI or SSDI program qualified for a check under the CARES Act. Recipients wouldn’t receive their payments via their Direct Express card, which the government typically uses to distribute federal benefits, but through a non-Direct Express bank account or as a paper check. SSDI recipients can file next year to request a payment for themselves and dependents.

Under the new bill, these recipients will again qualify to receive payments, along with Railroad Retirement Board and Veterans Administration beneficiaries.

For more, here’s what we know about the contents of the new stimulus package. We also have information on the chances of a third stimulus check in 2021. Here are the top things you should know about the second stimulus check.



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