26 million people who didn't qualify for the first stimulus check may be eligible for the second

Twenty-six million more Americans could qualify for a second stimulus check under the HEALS Act, according to an estimate from the Tax Foundation.


As Democrats and Republicans negotiate another coronavirus aid bill, both parties and President Trump agree Americans need a second round of stimulus checks

On Monday, Senate Republicans introduced the HEALS Act, calling for a second $1,200 economic impact payment for qualifying Americans. Democrats also called for another round of $1,200 payments in their proposal, known as the HEROES Act, which was passed by the House in May, before stalling in the Republican-controlled Senate. 

The Republican stimulus check proposal, however, contains one key difference when compared to the first round of stimulus checks sent out under the CARES Act in late April: More people are likely to receive money.

"It's on the little details that things have changed," Janet Holtzblatt, senior fellow at the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center told CNBC.com earlier this week. 

Here's why 26 million more Americans could qualify for a stimulus check under the HEALS Act, according to an estimate from the Tax Foundation.

More dependents would be eligible for a check

The first round of stimulus checks under the CARES Act allowed eligible Americans to receive up to an additional $500 for dependent family members. But only children under the age of 17 qualified under the terms of the government's first coronavirus aid package. 

The Republican's proposed HEALS Act does not put a cap on the age of dependents. That means that children 17 and over, including college students, and adults who are disabled or otherwise claimed as dependents on someone else's tax return, would be eligible.

Since the Republican plan expands the dependents that qualify, at least 26 million additional people would be eligible to receive stimulus money, according the Tax Foundation.

The Democrats' HEROES Act also called for including all dependents, but it features a bigger payment of $1,200, instead of $500, for a maximum of three dependents per household.

"It's not the design of the deal that's up for debate, it's just the amount of money," says Garrett Watson, senior policy analyst at the Tax Foundation. "Since there's support from both parties, it's fair to say whichever rebate is approved, it will not restrict dependent eligibility the same way the CARES Act did."

Income eligibility is the same under the GOP proposal

To qualify for a second stimulus check, the GOP's plan would use the same income criteria as the CARES Act. 

Individuals with adjusted gross income of up to $75,000 would be eligible for full payments. Checks would be reduced for those making over that amount and would phase out completely for income over $99,000.

Individuals stand to receive up to $1,200 and married couples could get up to $2,400, plus $500 per dependent, with no cap on the number of eligible dependents.

When sending out the first round of stimulus checks, which the government began distributing in mid-April, the IRS and Treasury Department reviewed Americans' most recent tax returns, either 2018 or 2019. If the Republican proposal is approved, the government would determine eligibility by relying more heavily on 2019 tax return data "or their 2018 return as a secondary alternative," according to a memo from the Senate Finance Committee.

Use this calculator to figure out how much you could get under the proposed Republican coronavirus aid package.

Most Americans support a second stimulus check

Over the weekend, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said a fresh round of stimulus checks would be coming next month. "We'll get the majority of them out in August and those will help people," Mnuchin told Fox News anchor Chris Wallace. 

But, before a second stimulus check is approved, Congress needs to reach a deal to pass another round of coronavirus-relief legislation, and then President Trump has to sign it into law.

Aside from bipartisan government support for sending Americans a second stimulus check, Americans also support additional direct payments, according to a new CNBC/Change Research poll. 

The poll, which surveyed over 2,500 adults in in Arizona, Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, found that 4 in 5 respondents said they back another direct payment of up to $1,200 for people making less than $99,000. Only 18% oppose another round of checks. 

In order for a coronavirus aid bill to be signed into law, both parties will have to find common ground on a number of contentious issues, including enhanced unemployment benefits and small business loan assistance.

Lawmakers have less than two weeks to meet Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's self-imposed deadline to pass a stimulus package by August 7, when Congress breaks for recess. 

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