CORONAVIRUS

Stimulus check: when will the second payment arrive?

US President Donald Trump has stated his support for a second coronavirus Economic Impact Payment, but Americans want to know when they are going to receive it.

Stimulus check: when could it be approved & when could I get it?
CHIP SOMODEVILLA / AFP

United States President Donald Trump has already confirmed his support for the inclusion of a second stimulus check in the next coronavirus relief package, revealing that he is in favour of Americans receiving more money than in the first round of payments, those officially known as Economic Impact Payments (EIPs). 

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President Trump supports "larger" second stimulus check

"I support it […], I support actually larger numbers than the Democrats, but it’s got to be done properly," Trump told Fox Business. “I want the money getting to people to be larger so they can spend it. I want the money to get there quickly and in a non-complicated fashion.”

As part of the CARES Act, a $2.2tn stimulus package signed into law in March, qualifying Americans have received checks of up to $1,200, with households also able to claim an extra $500 per dependent under 17. Passed by the House in May, the HEROES Act also proposed $1,200 checks, but the $3tn bill has met with Republican resistance in the GOP-controlled Senate.

Next stimulus package expected between recesses

The indications from Senator Majority Leader Mitch McConnell are that the terms of the next coronavirus aid package - which he maintains will be the "final" one - are likely to be worked out between Congress' July and August recesses.

Lawmakers are currently on recess until 17 July, before going on another summer break between 10 August and 7 September - and McConnell appears determined to get the issue resolved before then. "We will not be here in August," the Kentucky senator told reporters, according to Politico.

Roy Blunt, a Republican senator from the state of Missouri, has put forward a similar timeline for a relief bill. "A month from now we should be in the final stages of getting that bill together," he said at the end of June.

U.S. President Donald Trump arrives with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to address a press briefing on the U.S. economy.

Before the August recess, the Senate is last in session on Friday 7th, notes CNET - so a new stimulus bill giving a second batch of checks the green light would need to be approved by both the House and the upper chamber by that date if it is to avoid being pushed back until September.

However, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has moved to quell fears of the bill being made to wait so long, saying that Congress will "of course" have time to negotiate a new package before going on its August break.

Republican senators softening to idea of second stimulus check

Trump may support a second check as mentioned above, and has said that it should be coming along "very soon", although held back on giving any specific dates. However, the plan also needs the backing of Congress, and with some Republicans in the Senate seemingly still unconvinced about the idea, it won't necessarily get that approval.

That said, there has been a change in the stance being taken by senior members of the party, as pressure from the White House, rising coronavirus figures and a worsening of the employment outlook take their toll.

Unemployment actually fell by 2.2% in June, but as states roll back their economic reopening plans amid surging numbers of infections, the indications are that the jobless rate is set to rise again.

Minds softening | US Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) speaks to the media.

"[June’s labor report] still leaves employment 9.6% below its February level and with the spread of the virus accelerating again, we expect the recovery from here will be a lot bumpier and job gains far slower on average”, Michael Pearce, a senior economist at Capital Economics, told CNBC.

“We do support another round of economic impact payments,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said during a recent interview. “We’re discussing the criteria with the Senate, and had a productive talk with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.” He also added that it was a “priority” to have legislation passed by 20 July although that the package may be set to act as an incentive to get people back to work.

When might I receive a second stimulus check?

The CARES Act was signed into law on 27 March, with the first stimulus checks beginning to arrive in people’s bank accounts on the weekend of 11 and 12 April, just over two weeks after the relief package was approved.

The vast majority of direct-deposit payments had been made by the end of the month, but those receiving their EIPs as paper checks or prepaid debit cards have had to wait longer. An estimate by the House Committee on Ways and Means has said it will take 20 weeks for all postal payments to be sent out.

Based on the payment calendar of the CARES Act, therefore, a stimulus check approved around the start of August would begin to be paid at some point in the second half of the month, with all checks delivered by just before Christmas.

However, it can reasonably be expected that the IRS would be able to use the information and experience gathered in managing the first round of payments to send out a second batch of checks more quickly.