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Second stimulus check: who could qualify under the new package?

As Americans across the country await news of a new coronavirus relief bill being signed into law, many are also desperate to know what they will be eligible for.

Second stimulus check: who could qualify under the new package?

It’s 10 September and there is still no formal agreement on a new coronavirus relief package from US lawmakers although, once again, it feels like we are making progress towards one. That said, the general consensus over a second round of stimulus checks is still within the realms of the negotiation sphere, with nothing rubber stamped.

Assuming, however, that a second Economic Impact Payment is to be made to American households battling against the financial difficulties during the pandemic, we wanted to take a look at who and how people may be affected. If you are not already familiar with the Democrats’ HEROES Act proposal or the more recent HEALS Act push from the Republicans, we offer detailed analysis of both (see links). Based on those, and from the original CARES Act criteria for stimulus checks, we are able to put together a fairly comprehensive lists of eligibility.

Let’s consider the various groupings that were already included under the CARES Act and are fully expected to also be in the latest bill, although with negotiations to determine how.

Stimulus checks: individuals, heads of households, couples and dependents

Both proposals state that the salary threshold, using adjusted gross income (AGI) for Individuals would be set at $99,000. Anyone under that limit would receive a payment up to a maximum of $1,200 as per the previous round. The limit for heads of households and for couples filing jointly are also agreed across the two proposals and these sit at $146,500 and $198,000 respectively.

For dependents, however, there are differing views. In the CARES Act, a maximum of three dependents could be claimed against, with $500 available for each but some criteria over age (under 16) being attached. Under the HEALS Act and the HEROES Act there would be no age limit, so this would bring in students and adult dependents into the eligible group, although the Democrat offering would maintain a limit of three claims per household unlike the unlimited HEALS Act.

Final signature | US President Donald Trump will have to put his mark on the bill once it reaches his Oval Office table.
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Final signature | US President Donald Trump will have to put his mark on the bill once it reaches his Oval Office table.MANDEL NGANAFP

The amounts between the two would differ too: with the HEROES Act providing $1,200 per dependent and the HEALS Act just $500 each.

Stimulus checks: other potential provisions

US citizens who are living abroad, as well as those in US territories (although the latter group’s payments were looked after by each local tax authority) were included in the CARES Act and are expected to be treated similarly in any second round of payments. The same is expected to apply to those who do not file their taxes and SSDI recipients.

There is slightly more doubt over the provisions for other groups. Non-citizens who pay taxes, for example, would have been included under the HEROES Act but are unlikely to make it into the final bill. Similarly, people in prison were considered as part of the CARES Act but will almost certainly not be going forward.


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