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Second stimulus check: how much do I have to earn per year to be eligible for aid?

Under a new stimulus package proposal, tax-paying Americans could receive a second economic impact payment of $1,200 depending on what they earn.

Second stimulus check: how much do I have to earn per year to be eligible for aid?
Michael A. McCoyAFP

Republican senators are due to present their proposal for the next coronavirus relief package, CARES 2 on Monday, Included in that bill is a second stimulus payment – news which will come as a relief to many Americans who have been feeling the effects of the economic downturn of the coronavirus crisis.

On 15 May, the House approved another aid package, the HEROES Act, which promised a second round of stimulus checks. Under the HEROES Act legislation, each eligible citizen earning less than $75,000 a year ($150,000 for couples who jointly file their tax return) would receive a $1,200 impact payment. A maximum of up to three dependents wold be entitled to the same amount – more than double what many received in the original CARES Act package – as long as that their names appear on their custodian’s tax return. However, under CARES 2, the emphasis on a second stimulus payment will likely be geared towards those on lower incomes - around $40,000 a year. 

Republicans keen for a cheaper relief package

The HEROES Act bill only just got through the House, on a vote of 208 to 199. Many Republicans were initially against a second round of stimulus payments due to the high cost of implementing it. But the situation has changed since then. Eighteen states posted single-day records of confirmed Covid-19 cases during the past week and the daily death toll across the U.S. surpassed 1,100 for four days running leading up to this weekend – the first time such figures have been seen since May.

On Thursday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said, “We want another round of direct payments to help American families keep driving our national comeback. The people that I think have been hit the hardest have been people making $40,000 a year or less. We’re going to be acutely aware of that particular segment of our population going into this next package. Many of them work in the hospitality business, hotels, restaurants - we're going to be acutely aware of that particular segment of our population going into this next package that we'll be putting together in the next few weeks”.

The Kennedy Act

The HEROES Act would come at a cost of around $3 trillion but Republicans are looking at a package that would be around a third of that cost with approximately $16 billion going towards Covid-19 testing. US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin told CNBC last week, “I think the Democrats want 900 billion and if we gave them 900 billion then they would probably ask for a trillion and a half so I’m not sure we will completely satisfy them. We’re going to have the Kennedy bill which basically says that the states that have the money can use the money for lost revenues. That’s going to take care of virtually every single state. I think that’s a very fair compromise”.

Mnuchin added that the next relief package will be focused on “kids, jobs and vaccines”. The weekly $600 top-up unemployment benefit which is due to be phased out this weekend will also be under review but if it is extended, could be reduced to around $100.

See also

Second stimulus check: who is likely to qualify?

Stimulus check: who will qualify for second Economic Impact Payment?