CORONAVIRUS

Second stimulus check US: can unemployment affect a second payment?

There have been talks of a second stimulus check and with that comes doubts about who is eligible. Everyone was eligible the first time around and that shouldn't change.

Second stimulus check US: can unemployment affect a second payment?

The IRS have paid out $257.9 billion in direct payments during the past six weeks to over 152 million Americans in non-taxable stimulus checks. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has been pushing for another $1 trillion to cover shortfalls in the budget across states and while it seems likely that there will be some sort of financial aid for citizens, it remains to be seen in what form that aid will come.

A second stimulus check has been mentioned and brought to the House of Represenatives in the HEROES Act. It passed there but many Republicans believe the bill is DOA when it comes to the Senate. Pelosi has said, however, that the initial bill is just a starting point in negotiations.

With that said, just what is being discussed and could unemployment affect a second check? Everyone is eligible regardless of income. People with low income are eligible, homeless people are eligible and even those who aren’t legally required to file federal taxes can get a $1,200 stimulus check. That should not change with a second stimulus check as it is aimed at helping those struggling the most during the coronavirus pandemic.

The IRS has urged those with little or not income to sign up for the checks: "We remind people to visit IRS.gov for the latest information, including answers to the most common questions we see surrounding the payments. We also continue to urge those who don't normally have a filing requirement, including those with little or no income, that they can quickly register for the payments on IRS.gov."

White House still considering second stimulus checks

President Donald Trump is clearly still open to the idea of further stimulus checks, saying back on 7 April in a press conference that it was “absolutely under serious consideration," comments he has never walked back.

Trump said at the start of the month that he was considering funding for a further stimulus package, but that he wanted to “take a little bit of a pause” before passing it. Some politicans said it would be after Memorial Day Weekend before anything was decided and that has come and gone. Talk of the second check will only ramp up in the coming days and weeks as citizens start to fall short again on rent and groceries. Unemployment is at 14.7% but experts says the real figure is much higher than that.

White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett has sent mixed messages, telling reporters at the end of last month that officials were looking at the need for further stimulus checks, before saying that another round of coronavirus relief legislation might not be necessary, arguing that “because there's been good news really, that the opening up is starting to happen faster than we expected” then there is a chance no further relief, including a second stimulus check would be needed.

Second stimulus check: what happens now?

The HEROES Act has been through the House but in order for it to become a reality, it now must be passed by the Senate, who will start discussing it after the Memorial Day weekend, in the final week of May or the first week of June. Senators are expected to put relief funding legislation on hold until mid-June, and possibly passing a modified bill before the 4 July holiday.