Second stimulus check date: Here's when your payment could arrive

second stimulus check date
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After months of back-and-forth over stimulus relief, lawmakers have agreed on a plan that includes a second stimulus check for $600.

The approximately $900 billion legislation includes a $600 stimulus check for eligible taxpayers—a measure not originally included in several recent proposals. Payments for individuals would max out at half of the first stimulus checks provided under the CARES Act last spring.

Lawmakers say they’re hoping to move quickly and are currently planning to attach this new stimulus package to the 2021 budget proposal. Both the House and Senate have passed the bill, so now it's up to the President to put into legislation. 

So what does that mean for the second stimulus check date?

Americans can expect to see their second stimulus checks in their bank accounts as early as next week, assuming the relief package agreed to promptly. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said that the turnaround time for this round of direct payments will be much shorter than for the first stimulus checks that trickled out over the spring and summer.

Second stimulus check date: When can you expect payments?

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has said throughout negotiations that Americans could expect a quick turnaround for the stimulus check 2 date once a deal was reached. The IRS presumably has more data on file now from both taxpayers and those who submitted their information specifically to receive their first check earlier this year. 

Before 2021: If the President does in fact pass the bill before Saturday—with votes in both the House and Senate—the IRS could begin processing payments the following week. While an exact timeline is tricky to pin down with the upcoming holidays, this means direct deposits could land in bank accounts right before or shortly after Jan. 1 with paper checks not far behind. 

While past timelines have been hampered by Congressional recess dates, lawmakers appear committed to staying in session until a deal is reached. 

Before Inauguration Day: Of course, if talks drag on beyond the weekend, lawmakers opt for a short-term government funding bill instead, or Congress breaks for a holiday recess, stimulus check 2 could be pushed back as well.

After Inauguration Day: There’s also the possibility that the deal will fall apart and be left up to the Biden administration to push through. President-elect Joe Biden will be sworn in on Jan. 20—if negotiations move quickly after Inauguration Day, a bill could pass in early February with checks following by mid-month.

Of course, that’s all speculative. A Biden plan could look different than what’s on the table now, and runoff elections in Georgia could change priorities in the Senate.

Plus, as The Wall Street Journal points out, a deal in late January or beyond could actually slow down the processing of stimulus check 2, as the IRS will also be dedicating resources to preparing for tax-filing season.

Emily Long

Emily Long is a Utah-based freelance writer who covers consumer technology, privacy and personal finance for Tom's Guide. She has been reporting and writing for nearly 10 years, and her work has appeared in Wirecutter, Lifehacker, NBC BETTER and CN Traveler, among others. When she's not working, you can find her trail running, teaching and practicing yoga, or studying for grad school — all fueled by coffee, obviously.