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A pedestrian with a takeout lunch in hand walks through an area of Scottsdale, Ariz., known for busy restaurants, bars and nightlife, June 30, 2020. (AP/Ross D. Franklin) A pedestrian with a takeout lunch in hand walks through an area of Scottsdale, Ariz., known for busy restaurants, bars and nightlife, June 30, 2020. (AP/Ross D. Franklin)

A pedestrian with a takeout lunch in hand walks through an area of Scottsdale, Ariz., known for busy restaurants, bars and nightlife, June 30, 2020. (AP/Ross D. Franklin)

Miriam Valverde
By Miriam Valverde August 6, 2020

If Your Time is short

  • Republicans and Democrats agree that families should get a second round of stimulus check, but when they'll be able to come to a final agreement and pass a law is unclear.

  • How much will it be? That’s unsettled. Both parties agree on $1,200 per taxpayer. Republicans want to give $500 per dependent (same as the CARES Act); Democrats want to increase dependent pay to $1,200. Adult dependents would be eligible under the proposals.

  • How long after a bill signing would Americans get a check? It could take a week for some families, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin suggested.

As Republicans and Democrats in Congress debate what should be included in new legislation to counter the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, many Americans are wondering whether a new stimulus check will be part of the deal. And if it will be, when will it arrive, and how much will it offer?

Negotiations are still ongoing, but at this point, it appears that both parties agree that Americans should get at least one more round of direct payments. But there doesn’t appear to be agreement on how much to provide or how extensive the aid should be. Other issues stalling passage of a comprehensive bill include disagreements over unemployment insurance, funding for cities, states, and schools.

Here are the details we know so far about the stimulus checks.

How much money would families get?

That’s unsettled. Republicans and Democrats have proposed different amounts.

Democrats want to give each household up to $6,000 — $1,200 per taxpayer and $1,200 per dependent (maximum three dependents). If a taxpayer has four dependents, he or she would get $1,200 only for three of them.

Republicans are proposing $1,200 per taxpayer and $500 per dependent, regardless of age (no maximum number of dependents specified).

Stimulus checks sent earlier this year under the CARES Act left out dependents age 17 and older. Under the current proposals, adult dependents would be eligible for the stimulus.

Both Republicans and Democrats propose income caps. Check amounts decrease and eventually phase out for individuals who earn more than $75,000, heads of households who earn more than $112,500, and joint filers who earn more than $150,000. The stimulus would be available for taxpayers who have filed a tax return for 2019 or 2018.

The Republican-led Senate has not voted on the Republican proposal. The Democratic-led House passed the Democratic proposal in May, largely along party lines.

Would immigrants illegally in the country be eligible for a stimulus check?

Under the Democratic proposal, immigrants in the country illegally who file tax returns using an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, or ITIN, would be eligible for a stimulus check (income caps also apply). That’s not allowed under the Republican plan, which requires all tax filers to have a Social Security number.

ITINs are issued by the IRS for tax purposes, so that foreign nationals and other individuals who don’t have a Social Security number can pay income taxes. Some immigrants in the country illegally pay taxes using an ITIN.

Under the CARES Act, U.S. citizens were ineligible for a stimulus check if they filed a joint tax return with a spouse who used an ITIN. (There was an exception for military families.) If the couple had filed their taxes separately, then whoever filed using a Social Security number was eligible for the check.

The Migration Policy Institute estimated in April that 3.7 million children and 1.7 million spouses who are either U.S. citizens or green-card holders were excluded from the CARES Act stimulus payments because one of their family members filed taxes using an ITIN.

It’s unclear at this point whether Democrats and Republicans will reach an agreement on this issue.

Once there’s a compromise and a final bill becomes law, how long before families get their checks?

It could take a week for some people, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin suggested Aug. 2.

"I could have them out immediately," Mnuchin said. "If I could get that passed tomorrow, I could start printing them the following week. We did it the first time. I can get out 50 million payments really quickly. A lot of it into people’s direct accounts. That’s going to have an enormous impact on the American economy, hard-working Americans, so I want to get that done quickly."

While direct deposits could happen relatively quickly, it could take a bit longer for families who don’t have direct deposit set up to get the check mailed to their homes.

PolitiFact did not get an answer from the IRS and the Treasury Department when we asked if the agencies were poised to process faster a second round of stimulus checks compared with the first round, when it took weeks for many families to receive payments.

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Our Sources

Congress.gov, H.R.6800 - The Heroes Act

Bloomberg QuickTake News, Steven Mnuchin Gives an Update on Federal Stimulus Negotiations, Aug. 2, 2020

Migration Policy Institute, Vulnerable to COVID-19 and in Frontline Jobs, Immigrants Are Mostly Shut Out of U.S. Relief, April 24, 2020

IRS.gov, Individual Taxpayer Identification Number

PolitiFact, Claim about stimulus check eligibility for Americans married to immigrants missing context, April 29, 2020

Sen. Chuck Grassley’s website, Grassley Releases Finance Committee Provisions in Next Coronavirus Relief Legislation, July 27, 2020

Email interview, Michael Zona, spokesperson for Sen. Chuck Grassley, Aug. 6, 2020

Email interview, Scott Sloofman, spokesperson for Sen. Mitch McConnell, Aug. 6, 2020

Email interview, Henry Connelly, spokesman for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Aug. 6, 2020

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