New stimulus check qualifications? How the eligibility requirements may change – CNET

$1, $10 and $20 bills sticking out of a wallet
The proposals for who may or may not qualify for a second stimulus check are coming into focus.
Angela Lang/CNET

A small group of White House and Democratic negotiators continue to work on the next next economic rescue package this week, and while the two sides seem far from a deal — “We still have a long way to go,” White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said Sunday — we can look at the proposals the Democrats and Republicans are working from to get a good idea for who could qualify for a second stimulus check.

Examining the two proposals — the Republican-sponsored HEALS Act and the the Democratic-backed Heroes Act  — one of the few areas the two sides are close to consensus is on eligibility requirements for the new stimulus payment.

The HEALS Act largely keeps to the qualifications set out in the CARES Act for the first stimulus check, but expands the $500 payment to some dependents who were left out of the last round. The Heroes Act has fizzled without the Senate ever picking it up, but casts a lens on the House of Representatives’ desire to make far more people eligible for a second set of checks.

As the negotiators resume discussions today, here’s what we know about who may or may not be included in the next stimulus payment. Check back for frequent updates to this story.

Here’s who would get a stimulus check under the HEALS Act

The Senate Republicans’ HEALS Act would follow the payment guidelines set out in the CARES Act, with a new adjustment for dependents:

  • A single US resident with an adjusted gross income less than $99,000.
  • A head of a household earning under $146,500.
  • A couple filing jointly without children and earning less than $198,000.
  • A dependent of any age. 

In the CARES Act, the cutoff to receive a $500 dependent check was age 16 and younger; college students under 24 were not eligible to receive a check. The Senate proposal would exclude those in prison and people who recently died from qualifying for a check. The bill would also prohibit creditors and banks from seizing the payment to pay debts.

Now playing: Watch this: Stimulus standoff on Capitol Hill


Who qualifies for a second stimulus check under the Democratic plan?

The broadest eligibility parameters so far come from the Heroes Act, which was proposed by the House of Representatives on May 15. Although it’s been fiercely opposed by Senate Republicans and President Donald Trump, we can look to this bill to help frame the conversation about the upper limits of who might qualify in a broad proposal:

  • Individuals who made less than $99,000 according to the adjusted gross income from their 2018 or 2019 taxes (whichever was most recently filed).
  • College students, dependents over 17, disabled relatives and taxpayers’ parents.
  • Families of up to five people for a cap of $6,000 per family.
  • SSDI recipients.
  • People who aren’t US citizens and do file tax returns, pay taxes and otherwise comply with federal tax law using an individual taxpayer identification number instead of a Social Security number.
$20 bills and credit cards in a wallet
$20 bills and credit cards in a wallet
It soon may become clear who can qualify for another stimulus check.
Sarah Tew/CNET

Who didn’t get a stimulus check with the CARES Act?

These groups didn’t meet the requirements for the first payment:

  • Single taxpayers with an adjusted gross income (AGI) above $99,000.
  • Heads of households with an AGI over $136,500.
  • Married couples with an AGI over $198,000.
  • Children over 16 and college students under age 24.
  • Nonresident aliens, as defined by the US government.

When will the eligibility requirements be set?

While Republican and Democratic negotiators continue to work out the details of the new stimulus package, they are still divided. 

“There are more unresolved issues than resolved issues. There are more than a dozen initiatives that remain miles apart,” White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows told The Hill’s Morning Report on Aug. 2.

To give negotiators more time to make a deal, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell could push back the start of his chamber’s August recess, which he has done before. After the sides reach an agreement, the stimulus bill won’t take effect until the president signs it into law. 

And while we won’t know for sure until the two sides come together on the next stimulus package, we have a good idea what Congress’ deadline is and when a check could be sent

For more, here’s what we know about the major proposals for a second stimulus package. We also have information on unemployment insurance, what you can do if you’ve lost your job, if you could receive two refund checks from the IRS and what to know about evictions.

Julie Snyder contributed to this report.


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