Stimulus check 2 vs. stimulus check 1: Here's what's different

Stimulus check 2 vs. stimulus check 1
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Senate Republicans recently unveiled stimulus check 2 as a part of the HEALS Act, a stimulus package that would send another round of direct payments to millions of Americans. So far, stimulus check 2 eligibility looks very similar to the first round of payments sent out this spring, but with a few key differences. 

If you received the first stimulus check from the CARES Act, you can expect to get another payment under the Senate GOP plan. In fact, if you have dependents, you may be eligible for a larger check. You can even use this stimulus check 2 calculator to see how much you’ll get.

And if you still haven’t received your initial stimulus check, use the IRS's Get My Payment app or call the IRS stimulus check phone number to speak to a representative.

Let’s take a look at what’s changing with the stimulus check 2 in the HEALS Act, and what’s staying the same compared to the first one. 

Stimulus check 2: What’s staying the same

The HEALS Act uses the same general income guidelines as the CARES Act to determine the stimulus check 2 amount. Single individuals who earn less than $75,000 per year and married individuals making up to $150,000 per year can expect a $1,200 check. 

Prorated payments will be sent to single workers making up to $99,000 and married workers earning up to $198,000. Higher earners left out of the CARES Act will not receive benefits with this second round either.  

Non-citizens remain ineligible for direct payments under the HEALS Act, though there is the possibility that payments could be expanded to include Americans who are married to non-citizens and file their taxes jointly, CNBC reports. The HEROES Act, House Democrats’ proposal passed in June, would have expanded benefits to include workers who have taxpayer identification numbers rather than Social Security numbers. 

Stimulus check 2: What’s changing

The Senate proposal would provide a $500 benefit for dependent children of all ages, including college students and adults with disabilities. The first round of stimulus checks limited this payment to dependent children ages 16 and younger. This means that families with older dependents could receive more money with stimulus check 2. 

House Democrats put forward a similar proposal, though their HEROES Act would have increased the benefit amount to $1,200 per dependent but limited total payments to $6,000 per family. The initial draft of the HEALS Act does not appear to cap the number of eligible dependents per family. 

CNBC also reports that stimulus check 2 is protected from garnishment by debt collectors and banks, though unpaid child support can still be taken out of benefits. In addition, prisoners who are incarcerated in 2020 will remain largely ineligible. 

Stimulus check 2: What’s next? 

The Senate Republican’s proposal is only in the early stages, and lawmakers in both chambers and parties have to agree on a bill that President Trump is willing to sign. 

Negotiators initially suggested they could reach a deal before federal unemployment benefits expire on July 31, but that’s looking unlikely. CNN reports that while the specifics of stimulus check 2 are generally acceptable to both sides, they are far from agreement on most of the other provisions in the HEALS Act. 

The Senate has a scheduled recess coming up on Aug. 10, which means lawmakers have a limited window to come to a consensus before the fall. 

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.