Everything we know about how large your second relief payment may be

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Could you get a second stimulus check before the election on Nov. 3 if you qualify, and how much could you get? 

text: We help you estimate the maximum amount that could end up in your bank account if another stimulus payment arrives. Angela Lang/CNET

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We help you estimate the maximum amount that could end up in your bank account if another stimulus payment arrives. Angela Lang/CNET

Now that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin have restarted negotiations to pass another coronavirus rescue package, there’s still a chance of another round of payments. House Democrats have a new relief proposal worth $2.2 trillion that includes a check as well as other items like $600 per week in federal unemployment benefits — it may be voted on as soon as this week. If it actually passes the House, the Senate could vote on it or Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell may choose to let it languish like the original Heroes Act from May instead of taking it to the upper chamber.

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The first stimulus check sent as much as $1,200 per adult, but a second stimulus check could be a bigger or smaller amount, particularly if the qualifications for dependents are broadened or if your financial circumstances have changed since the first round in March (try CNET’s stimulus calculator for an estimate of how much you might get). These new qualifications (among others) will shape the size of a potential payment.


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Make sure you are aware of the key facts to know about stimulus checks, and keep reading for possible scenarios that may occur. Check back here for new updates.

You could get less than $1,200 — or possibly 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 you can get ready for the IRS to send your 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.

Next stimulus checks: What to expect



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.

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

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

Here’s 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:

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.

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