CORONAVIRUS

Stimulus check: who could get second IRS money?

The IRS has sent out 159 million stimulus checks but with the new limit mentioned by Mitch McConnell, tens of millions could be excluded from second check.

Stimulus check: who could get second IRS money?

A second stimulus check looks to be all but certain. Donald Trump has long talked about a second payment and now Republicans are on the same page. Recently, Mitch McConnell said there would be a check but he added an important caveat.

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The senator of Kentucky said that there would be an income limit that is much lower than the first stimulus check that was agreed upon in the CARES Act at the start of the coronavirus pandemic. The first stimulus check was sent out to people who made $75,000 or less in 2019. McConnell says the second stimulus check limit will be almost half that.

"I think the people who have been hit the hardest are people who make about $40,000 a year or less. Many of them work in the hospitality industry. The hospitality industry, as all of you know, just got rim-racked - hotels, restaurants - and so (more stimulus checks) could be part of it," adding: "the country needs one last boost."

As of the start of June, the IRS said it sent out 159 million checks to Americans. According to the data, 131 million Americans made less than $40,000 in 2018. Because the checks are based on previous filing years, this figure might be a good indication of how many people will be eligible for the second stimulus check. That would also mean roughly 30 million people who received the first check will not receive a second one.

Second stimulus check needed for millions of Americans

A study from the Columbia University estimated the country’s poverty level would have jumped to roughly 16 percent had checks not been distributed. Before the coronavirus pandemic the poverty was 12.8% and according to another study made by the Center on Poverty and Social Policy, researchers say they believe checks and job benefits will provide up to $500 billion in income transfer in 2020.

Republicans believe that the best way to help the economy, Americans citizens and small business is to address all three issues rather than just sending money via a check or direct deposit. They want to introduce incentives for people to spend money and they want to give loans and aid to small business along with stimulus check but only for the most vulnerable.

The Democrats are pushing back on the limit though. "I don't know where the $40,000 came from," Nancy Pelosi, the House speaker and a California Democrat, said during a July 9 press conference. "I think families making over $40,000 probably need assistance, depending on their situation."

The Democrats and Republicans will go to the Senate to thrash out a deal and it remains to be seen what will be included. It could be a broad stimulus check with a higher limit or there might be no stimulus check at all. That is unlikely but given the current political climate in the US, it is difficult to predict how it will turn out. Here are the key dates for when a decision will be made with a deal needing to be reached by August when the Senate recesses for the month.