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We help you estimate the maximum amount that could end up in your bank account if another stimulus payment is approved.


Angela Lang/CNET

The hospitalization of President Donald Trump with COVID-19 could add new urgency to negotiators’ efforts to send out a second stimulus check worth up to $1,200 per person — and more for families — to Americans straining from the pressures of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. (CNET’s stimulus calculator can help estimate the size of your check.)

The path to an overarching stimulus package that both Republicans and Democrats can agree on has been eventful this week, with talks reportedly continuing into the weekend.

Convalescing at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Trump tweeted his support for “stimulus.”

Both Pelosi and Mnuchin have agreed on another direct payment as part of the final stimulus package. So how much money can you count on? The first stimulus check was worth up to $1,200 per adult, but a second stimulus check may amount to more or less, especially if the qualifications for dependents are broadened or if your financial circumstances have changed since the first round in March. These new eligibility rules (among others) will shape the size of a potential payment.

Read on to see how some realistic scenarios could play out — it may also be helpful to know how your yearly taxes help determine your share of stimulus money. This story updates often.

You could get less than $1,200 — or maybe more

If another stimulus bill passes and you get an extra stimulus check, it’s likely that $1,200 will remain the maximum for individuals, as it was in the last stimulus bill and two proposals. For most people, calculating the total amount requires them to know their adjusted gross income, or AGI.

That’s just the start. Family circumstances, like if you file taxes jointly with your spouse, and a range of other eligibility requirements also play a role. A new change to let dependents of any age qualify could bring in more money, too. Here are some potential scenarios based on our stimulus check calculator, which you can also use to get a more specific estimate for your particular situation. 

How much stimulus money could you get?

Scenario 1 Scenario 2 Scenario 3 Scenario 4 Scenario 5
Tax filing status Single Head of household Married Married Married
2018 or 2019 tax AGI $55,000 $80,000 $110,000 $110,000 $200,000
Dependents under 17 (CARES Act) 0 1 2 2 2
Dependents over 17 (HEALS Act) 0 0 0 2 0
Estimated check amount $1,200 $1,700 $3,400 $4,400 $900

Best ways to get ready for the IRS to send a second check

The IRS will send your check automatically, if you’re eligible, but there may be some things you can do to help make sure you receive your money quickly, if another direct payment occurs.

Register for direct deposit to your bank account: Direct deposit will be the fastest way to get your money. The IRS already has a system in place to electronically transfer the funds into your checking account. That is, if you already provided those details if you registered for direct deposit with your first check or as part of filing your IRS tax return. 

Look for the registration tool to reopen if another check passes. If you don’t have a bank account, read on for other ways to prepare.


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Next stimulus checks: What to expect



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If you moved, you need to let the post office know: A physical check is the most likely way, after direct deposit, that you’ll receive a stimulus check. If you’ve moved recently, you’ll need to file a change of address with the US Postal Service, since the IRS will mail your check to your last known address.

Keep an eye on the mail: Instead of a paper check, about 4 million people received a prepaid economic impact payment card in the mail. This is money you can spend like cash on a debit card. The cards came in plain, unmarked envelopes that were prone to being tossed. When and if the time comes, you can sign up for a free USPS service to track your mail all the way to your mailbox, so there are no surprises — or disappointments.

Beware of scams: Stimulus check fraud is real, and it’s still ongoing as millions of people continue to wait for their first checks. Fraudsters prey on people they consider vulnerable. Knowing common attacks can help you recognize and avoid them. There’s no second stimulus check right now, but that won’t stop a scammer from trying to take advantage.

If you’re still waiting for your first stimulus check, follow these steps.

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The amount of stimulus money you could get in a second round of checks is still undecided. 


James Martin/CNET

The maximum amount your family could look for from another check

It depends. If the qualifications expand to include dependents of any age with no age restriction, a married couple who files jointly and has a large number of dependents could get thousands without limit. It all comes down to the requirements. 

A quick, hypothetical estimate with our stimulus check calculator: A married couple filing jointly, with a combined AGI of $75,000 per year and that has eight dependents, could potentially receive $5,200 in a second check.

How Americans used the first round of stimulus checks

A recent survey looked at how Americans are using their stimulus checks. According to research from the National Bureau of Economic Research:

  • 15% of recipients said they spent or would spend most of their checks.
  • 33% said they mostly saved.
  • 52% said they paid down debt.

In general, the report found that lower-income households were significantly more likely to spend their stimulus check, higher-income individuals were more likely to save it and those with mortgages or who were renters were much more likely to pay off debt.

According to the US Census Bureau, here’s the breakout for households that spent their stimulus checks on items other than savings or paying down debt.

  • 80% of those who spent their checks reported using it on food.
  • 77.9% spent it on rent, mortgage and utilities.
  • 58.2% bought household supplies and personal care products.
  • 20.5% purchased clothing.
  • 8.1% spent it on household goods — such as TVs, electronics, furniture and appliances — or recreational goods, including fitness equipment, toys and games.

Looking for more stimulus check information? Read up on all the finer points of the stimulus payment here. If you’re still waiting for your first stimulus check, here are 10 possible reasons for a delaywhat you can do if you think your payment was lost or has fallen through the cracks and if you could receive two refund checks from the IRS.

source: cnet.com

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