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Second stimulus check status: Latest updates, amount and who gets it

Second stimulus check status: Latest updates, amount and who gets it
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Second stimulus check payments worth $600 are on the way to millions of Americans. The relief money is in the process of being directly deposited, or mailed out, in the case of paper checks.

The second stimulus check relief package also includes more immediate help in the form of small business loans, PPE distribution and virus testing funds. extends unemployment benefits through to mid-March.

So what's the second stimulus check status? As it stands, eligible Americans will receive a $600 direct payment, and the IRS has until January 15 to get payments to them.

The stimulus check 2 eligibility guidelines for $600 checks are the same as they were for the first check. People who make less than $75,000 a year, according to their most recent tax returns, qualify for the entire payment. Married couples, meanwhile, receive a a larger payment if they have a joint total income of $150,000 or less.

There's also the possibility of a $2,000 stimulus check being passed now that Democrats will hold a Senate majority once Vice President-elect Kamala Harris is sworn in later this month.

Here's everything we know about a second stimulus check, including new details on where it stands.

Second stimulus check status and update today (Jan 15)

The second stimulus check is on its way to eligible taxpayers following President Trump signature on a $900 billion stimulus deal. Today is the last day the IRS has to get payments mailed or deposited.

Meanwhile, the House passed a measure to introduce more stimulus checks for $2,000, but that measure has been blocked for now. Current Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell denied the House-approved measure, but there's good news for those hoping for more relief money.

Because Democrats are unlikely to vote in favor of $2,000 payments, and many Senate Republicans oppose higher direct payments, the bill is unlikely to pass right now. But with Georgia's runoff Senate elections bringing two more Democrats to Congress, Democrats will hold the majority once Vice President-elect Kamala Harris takes office.

In addition to direct payments, the relief bill framework provides aid for small businesses, resumes federal supplements to people receiving state unemployment benefits and gives money to institutions that are at the forefront of combating the coronavirus. 

The proposal also includes both a $300 federal unemployment supplement, as well as $300 billion for small business assistance, which includes Paycheck Protection Program loans. 

As Covid-19 vaccines finally start to be distributed, the deal also includes funding for distribution of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. The government hopes that every American that wants to be vaccinated can do so by summer 2021.

Second stimulus check date: What's the timeline?

Your personal second stimulus check date might not be the same as everyone else's, though as payments are now in the process of being made, you can expect it sooner rather than later. Those who use direct deposit may have received their payment already.

The relief bill gives the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) a deadline of January 15 to send out direct payments. Those who don't receive their payments by then will have to wait to use the Recovery Rebate Credit when filing their tax returns next year.

Second stimulus check amount 

As noted, the relief bill provides stimulus checks of $600 to each taxpayer, half the original amount. Checks were not originally included in the bipartisan plans formulated earlier this month, but have been tacked on as lawmakers close in on a deal.

Spurred on by President Trump's demand for more money, some in Congress had called for an increase in the relief amount, but that move was blocked by House Republicans. Nonetheless, House Democrats brought forward a vote on $2,000 payment as a separate measure on Monday, following Trump's signing of the relief bill. This passed in a 275-134 vote in favor.

Now, though, the measure is stuck in the Senate, even as members of both parties attempt to pressure for a vote. Even Trump himself warned of some Senate Republicans having a "death wish" by not supporting $2,000 payments.

Stimulus check 2 eligibility: Who qualifies for a second payment?

If you were eligible for the first stimulus check, you should also be eligible for stimulus check 2. 

People who earned $75,000 or less per year according to their most recent tax returns qualified for the entire $1,200 stimulus check. Married people, or joint filers, who earn under $150,000 per year were eligible for $2,400.

Those who earn more, up to $100,000 per year, received a prorated amount. 

Second stimulus check calculator: See how much you're eligible for

The second stimulus check calculator could be useful to know how much you money you'll get as you look into your next few months of personal finances. It’s also useful to read up on the best ways to spend your stimulus check if you don’t already have a plan for your payment.

Here's everything you need to know about the second stimulus check calculator.

How it works: Go to https://www.omnicalculator.com/finance/stimulus-check-heals. Complete the short questionnaire. Enter how you filed your taxes (single/joint), how many children you have and your adjusted gross income (AGI) for 2019.

Second stimulus check deadline

The window for sending out relief payments is narrow, and those who don’t receive a check in the next two weeks will need to claim their missing payments on their 2020 tax returns. The legislation approved by Congress gives the Treasury Department only until Jan. 15 to distribute this second round of checks. 

You can see the status of your second stimulus check using the Get My Payment tool on IRS.gov, including the date(s) of your first and second payments as well as payment method (either paper check or direct deposit). 

Second stimulus check and Biden

It's not immediately clear what impact Biden's presidency could have on the status of stimulus payments once he's inaugurated in January, but the former vice president has previously spoken on how he plans to help improve the economy.

Biden said that "our economic plan will put a focus on a path to a strong recovery" during a speech that took place while results were still coming in on Thursday. The President-elect also has detailed The Biden Emergency Plan to Save the Economy on his website, which includes an increase in monthly Social Security checks and a minimum of $10,000 per person in student loan forgiveness.

Second stimulus check: Why do we need round 2?

While the pace of job loss is slowing, a record-breaking amount people have already filed for unemployment since the pandemic began. Nearly 70 million Americans, or about 40% of the labor force, have filed for unemployment benefits during the pandemic, as reported by Fox Business

More people could still be laid off due to a second wave of lockdowns and mandatory business closures. Financial technology firm SimplyWise reported that 63% of Americans require a second stimulus check if they're expected to pay bills. 

70% of Americans also believe the government should issue a second stimulus check, according to The Motley Fool.