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CORONAVIRUS STIMULUS CHECKS

Second stimulus check: When your payment could come

Donald Trump's insistence that lawmakers boost the bill's $600 stimulus checks to $2,000 per person is keeping millions of Americans waiting.

Second stimulus check: When your payment could come
Samuel Corum AFP

A second round of stimulus checks had been expected by millions of Americans thanks to the $900 billion economic relief package that Congress passed last Monday, however, President Donald Trump's insistence that lawmakers boost the bill's $600 stimulus checks to $2,000 per person is now keeping millions waiting.

Trump is remaining silent on his intentions whether to sign or veto a new covid-19 relief bill. The holdup could see unemployed people have to wait weeks or even months for their payment.

The issue at hand is Trump's criticism of the "measly" $600 limit negotiated by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. Trump wants $2,000 second stimulus checks. On Saturday, the weekly federal unemployment insurance lapsed. The eviction ban will soon follow, along with other programs which are due to end on or before December 31 if Trump doesn't sign the bill.

If the outgoing President relents and signs the new stimulus bill into law, the IRS and Treasury could send the first batch of payments via direct deposit as soon as a week later, compared with the 19 days it took to set up the online tools and schedule distribution of the first stimulus check.

Last week, Mnuchin said he could start sending out the up to $600 second stimulus checks to recipients a week after the bill became law, however, what is making matters more troubling is an already short deadline, which would likely to leave tens of millions of people to claim their money a different way.

There are a few ways this could play out, according to Wall Street analysts. Congress could agree to the $2,000 checks by early next week, paving the way for Trump to sign the bill, but it's unclear whether Republican lawmakers will agree to the change, noted Heights Securities.

Important date: January 15, 2021

January 15 is the cut-off date in the $900 billion stimulus bill by which time the IRS and US Treasury must stop sending checks as part of this round of delivery. If you don't receive your full second stimulus check money by January 15, you will need to claim all or part of the missing amount when you file your federal tax returns in 2021. You will also be able to claim any money the IRS still owes you from the first round of payments sent out earlier in 2020.

"Most of these will be direct deposits. We call them 'checks in the mail,' but most will be direct deposits," Treasury secretary Mnuchin said on December 21. "It will be within three weeks. We are determined to get money in people's pockets immediately. So that will be within three weeks."

As of last summer, 75% of the first round of stimulus payments were sent straight to people's bank accounts using direct deposit, which brings hope for the majority of people to receive their second payment before January 15.

People who receive their stimulus payment through direct deposit are unlikely to be affected, however, there is potentially a distinct disadvantage for people who don't already have direct deposit set up with the IRS.

Adding the delivery of the second stimulus check to the 2020 tax return will more than likely delay payments for many people, considering a wide variance in circumstances will cause people to file taxes in January and others in April, or even later if they need to request an extension. It remains unclear as to how quickly the IRS will process the payments.

$300 a week in extra unemployment aid

Aside from the $600 stimulus checks, the stimulus bill also includes an extra $300 a week in unemployment aid. That means that jobless workers would receive their regular state unemployment payments, plus $300 on top of that through March 14, 2021.

How long may it take to get the second payment in the mail?

Since the new stimulus bill sets a January 15 deadline for the IRS to send out payments, people who will receive their second stimulus check in the mail, either as a paper check or a prepaid debit card, should look for a payment in the first three weeks of January, Mnuchin said on Monday.

"On Monday, I will bring the House back to session where we will hold a recorded vote on our stand-alone bill to increase economic impact payments to $2,000. To vote against this bill is to deny the financial hardship that families face and to deny them the relief they need," Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a statement following the measure.