CORONAVIRUS

Second stimulus check: dates, amount and everything we know about a second round of payments

Senate recessed without discussing the bill but it seems like they will have to decide very soon on if they will pass the HEROES Act and deliver a second stimulus check.

Second stimulus check: dates, amount and everything we know about a second round of payments
DOUG MILLS/ POOL EFE

Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats have sent a bill to the Senate that would see millions of American receive a second stimulus check if passed in its current form. It is called the HEROES Act and Pelosi has been pushing for another $1 trillion to cover shortfalls in budgets across the United States.

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 to help individuals cope with the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. Now that the initial Emergency Relief program is over, House Speaker Nancy says it is time to negotiate again and this time through the HEROES Act. Members of Congress on both sides differ on the details for individuals, families, businesses and those who are out of work.

The Senate broke for recess this week without discussing the bill and that leaves things up in the air. The new relief bill could be passed as it is or negotiated into something entirely different. This is what Pelosi meant she said it was on the table and negotiations could now start. The bill could also fail but the White House have indicated they are in favour of some sort of second stimulus check. It depends now on who gets their way.

Second stimulus check will be debated this week

What is yet to be decided is whether there will be a second round of stimulus checks. 84% of Americans say they need another stimulus check but Republicans had said that there would be nothing discussed until after Memorial Day weekend. That has come and gone and they are set to discuss the possibilities of another relief package soon but haven't yet.

Donald Trump said a second stimulus check is something they are "seriously considering" but other Republican politicians have been a little more recalcitrant about helping US citizens. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said the focus should be on reopening the economy, not another round of checks. "The real stimulus that’s going to change the trajectory that we're on is going to be the economy, not government checks,” Graham said. “So I doubt there will be another payment.”

Others have gone further, with Senator John Kennedy (R-La) saying, "Well, people in hell want ice water too" when asked about the plans, while Steve Scalise reportedly called any strategy for monthly payments a “radical socialist” idea.

At present there is nothing signed into law to send out a second stimulus check, but there has been a groundswell of opinion across the country that the first check may not be sufficient and those fears have only been underscored by the rise in unemployment with now over 36 million out of work. Many suggest, however, that the real unemployment rate could be a lot higher.

A further $484 billion coronavirus relief bill was signed into law on Thursday 30 April but this was aimed at small businesses and did not contain any provision for a second stimulus check for individuals.

How much would the second stimulus check be worth?

This is something that is yet to be discussed properly by the Senate but it looks like the second stimulus check will be similar to the first. That means $1,200 per family member with a cap of $6,000 per family.

For kids, they would also get a check as each dependent would qualify for a $1,200 payment. For non-citizens, however, US residents are required to have a Social Security number and if you can not provide one regardless of whether you pay taxes or not, you do no qualify.

Meanwhile, the HEROES Act also touches on topics such as unemployment benefits and pay for essential workers and help for small business.