Second stimulus check now looks to be in danger — here's why

Illustration of hundred-dollar bills and a check from the U.S. Treasury poking out of a manila envelope against the backdrop of the American flag.
(Image credit: ungvar/Shutterstock)

The outlook for stimulus check 2 is getting gloomier, as Democrats and White House officials have no plans to compromise, lawmakers remain on recess and the focus on the November general election increases.  

Prior to the stall in negotiations, Senate Republicans, House Democrats and representatives of President Trump came to a consensus on the need for a second stimulus check. They even agreed, generally, on the amount: $1,200 for Americans who were eligible for payments under the CARES Act plus expanded benefits for dependents of any age (and pro-rated checks for those making slightly more per year). 

But lawmakers won’t return to Washington for their next legislative session until after Labor Day, Sept. 7, and Forbes reports that it’s not clear what the chances are that they’ll resume talks or reach an agreement if they do so. In other words, the stimulus check 2 date is in limbo.

Plus, it’s possible that a package won’t have a second check at all. Senate Republicans have pitched a “skinny” bill that does not include any direct payments, and there's a House "skinny bill" as well. While formal proposals haven’t been introduced into committee in either chamber, they could further decrease the possibility for stimulus check 2. 

Supplemental unemployment coming soon

There is some good news for out-of-work Americans, though: CNBC reports that 30 states have been approved (so far) to offer an extra $300 in weekly unemployment benefits as laid out in President Trump’s executive order earlier this month. A federal supplement to state unemployment programs has been a sticky issue in stimulus negotiations, especially after the $600-per-week bonus expired on July 31. 

A few states, including Kentucky and Montana, are even offering an additional $100 for a total of $400 per week. Others are still in the process of applying for or receiving approval for the program. 

Recipients don’t need to apply separately for this bonus, but they will have to self-certify that their unemployment is due at least in part to the pandemic.  

No first stimulus check? Look up your status

Not everyone who is eligible received their first stimulus check, for a variety of reasons. If you believe you're eligible, check the IRS's Get My Payment web page to check the status of your check. 

If you find out that the check or stimulus-payment debit card is in the mail, then you can use the U.S. Post Office's Informed Delivery service to be notified when it's about to arrive. As a last resort, you can call the IRS stimulus-check phone number for human help.  

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.