Second stimulus check might still be possible for eligible adults. Here’s who could qualify


Congress hasn’t yet agreed who’ll be eligible to receive a second stimulus check, but it’s expected that more people will be included the second time around.

Sarah Tew/CNET

A second stimulus check could still be in the cards this year, if the latest hints about restarting stimulus bill negotiations to authorize it materializes. If Congress fails to vote on a bill that includes another direct payment, there could be a new executive order to fund stimulus payments with money from existing pandemic programs.

In the chart below, we detail everything we know right now when it comes to eligibility for a second check, including how factors like your income, your number of dependents and a range of rules and exceptions could affect whether you personally qualify for another round of stimulus money, should there be one. (Note: Nine million people who are eligible for the first check can still claim it.)

One new demographic might qualify to contribute to an even larger sum for family groups than the first stimulus payment originally allowed — read on for more information, and try our stimulus check calculator to estimate how much money you might get. We update this story regularly.

Stimulus check eligibility: Which groups could make the cut

We won’t know for certain who will qualify for a new stimulus payment until Congress passes the legislation. We can, however, draw from the first stimulus check’s eligibility requirements and the Heroes Act and HEALS Act proposals (neither of which is law) to get an idea of who may or may not get a second check, including a few unexpected qualifiers below. 

Both Republicans and Democrats are using adjusted gross income, or AGI, to determine the payment amount for individuals and families, which would cap at $1,200 for individuals and $2,400 for married couples.

Who might qualify for the next stimulus check

Qualifying group Likely to be in final bill Unlikely to be in final bill
Individual An AGI of less than $99,000, under both proposals
Head of household An AGI of less than $146,500, under both proposals
Couple filing jointly income An AGI less than $198,000, under both proposals
Dependents of any age No dependents limit specified, under HEALS Act Up to 3 dependents, under Heroes Act
Noncitizens who pay taxes Under Heroes Act
Incarcerated people Under CARES Act
Owe child support CARES Act excludes those who owe child support. Heroes Act includes them
US citizen living abroad Included under CARES Act
Live in US territory Under CARES Act, payments handled by each territory’s tax authority
SSDI recipients Included under CARES Act
Tax nonfilers Included under CARES Act

How rules over dependents could change

While the initial payments authorized under the CARES Act included $500 for dependents aged 16 and younger, the HEALS and Heroes Act would both loop in any dependent, regardless of age, including college students and adult dependents. (Here’s the youngest you can be to qualify for your own stimulus check.)

The Democratic plan would extend $1,200 each, for up to three dependents, so a family of five people could receive a maximum of $6,000. The Republican plan would provide $500 for each dependent you claim on your taxes, but the HEALS Act doesn’t specify a cap on the number of dependents.

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Who the first stimulus payment skipped 

For the payments authorized under the CARES Act, which became law in March, these groups were excluded:

  • Single taxpayers with an AGI over $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.
  • People who are incarcerated.
  • People who died since the previous tax filing. (Their families may not collect on their behalf and are expected to return the payment.)

When will Congress finalize new stimulus check requirements?

If a stimulus check is authorized by Congress and not an executive order, here’s the flow. Talks between Republican and Democratic negotiators on the new stimulus package have been stalled for over a month, but the two sides have signaled they’re willing to pick up the debate. The Senate has officially returned from recess today and the House, after passing USPS funding, is back next week. If the sides reach a deal, the stimulus bill will take effect after the president signs it into law. 

While we won’t know for sure until the two sides come together on the next stimulus package, we have a good idea of 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.

Shelby Brown contributed to this report.