How long could it take you to get a second stimulus check? We break down some possible times.

Angela Lang/CNET

Congress intends to send out a second stimulus check for individuals and families — and soon. “We want another round of direct payments,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on Monday. What we don’t know is just about everything else, including who would qualify for a second paymenthow much money you would get with a new round of stimulus checks and when the IRS would send the first batch of checks. All that is under negotiation. And legislators won’t immediately agree.

“I envision this bill doesn’t get done by the end of July,” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy told CNBC on Tuesday. “We’re probably in the first week of August before we make this happen.”

The first week of August is also the deadline McConnell set for passing a new bill that includes stimulus payments. But for many, a critical deadline is sooner. If Congress doesn’t pass a new stimulus bill — or at least a new short-term measure — by the end of July, the extra $600 unemployment benefit will run out. 

What else could happen if another stimulus check doesn’t get approved before the next recess? And if a new law is passed, when’s the soonest you might expect to see a second IRS payment? We used the Senate’s calendar and the first stimulus check schedule as a model to formulate a possible timeline.

This story is updated constantly in response to the developing situation in Washington.

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When is the stimulus payment “deadline”? Less than three weeks away

The Senate now has 13 working days until the Aug. 7 deadline set to build, debate, negotiate and pass another stimulus package before the last day of the current session. 

Why Aug. 7? Because the Senate’s August recess runs from Aug. 10 through Sept. 7 (Labor Day), which means there are 32 days from the last date of the Senate session (Aug. 7) until the first day of the following session (Sept. 8). If the Senate doesn’t pass a bill by Aug. 7, it won’t pick it up until then. The September session runs through Sept. 25.

Senate timeline for making a stimulus check decision

Dates Senate action
July 20 – Aug. 7 In session. The Senate is not expected to work past Aug. 7.
Aug. 10 – Sept. 7 August recess.
Sept. 8 – Sept. 25 In session. If the Senate doesn’t pass a bill by Aug. 7, this is the next period it will have to work on a stimulus package.
Sept. 28 – 29 September recess.
Sept. 30 – Oct. 9 In session. If the Senate still hasn’t passed a bill, this is its last chance before the general election on Nov. 3.

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

Angela Lang/CNET

When would the IRS send out the second stimulus payments? 

The IRS could still begin sending checks in August, if a second round of stimulus checks gets the green light by the start of the month. 

For reference, the president signed the CARES Act into law on March 27 and the first stimulus payments went out less than three weeks later, on April 15. 

For the purpose of speculation, let’s say that a new stimulus act becomes law on Friday, Aug. 7. Following the CARES Act timeline, the first checks could go out by Aug. 26.

It’s plausible, however, that the IRS could move even faster to send out the first wave of stimulus checks, since it already has the mechanism in place from the first batch, including a tool for people to sign up for direct deposit and track their payments

Factors like how many people would qualify for a payment the second time around could play a role in slowing down or speeding up this timeline.

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

While we know nothing official — and won’t until another rescue package is passed — we can draw on the experience of the first stimulus checks as a potential blueprint. 


Even with some businesses starting to open, the US has a staggeringly high unemployment rate.

Angela Lang/CNET

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.

What has to happen to get a second stimulus check?

To receive a second check, the new rescue package would need to pass both the House and the Senate before receiving a signature from the president. Only then could it take effect. 

After that, the IRS now has a system in place to organize and distribute those checks. But it could still be weeks more before you receive a payment.

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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