Second stimulus checks of up to $1,200 could come in August, Mnuchin says. Here's what you need to know

Republicans released their proposal for the next coronavirus relief bill Monday, which includes another round of direct $1,200 payments for many Americans.


Republicans released their proposal for the next coronavirus relief bill Monday. The roughly $1 trillion HEALS Act includes another round of $1,200 direct payments to many Americans. 

In a Fox News interview over the weekend, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin had said a fresh round of stimulus checks worth up to $1,200 per person would be coming next month. "We'll get the majority of them out in August and those will help people," Mnuchin told anchor Chris Wallace. 

Republicans will need to reach an agreement with Democrats before another stimulus package is voted on and signed into law. Democrats passed their own coronavirus relief bill back in May — a $3.5 trillion effort known as the HEROES Act, which also included another round of stimulus checks — but the Republican-controlled Senate didn't act on the proposal. 

While Americans wait for lawmakers to reach a deal, here's everything we know about the second $1,200 stimulus check being proposed by Republicans. 

Who will get a second stimulus check?

Under the Republican proposal, a second $1,200 direct payment would be sent to the same Americans who qualified for the first stimulus check under the CARES Act. 

That means that individuals who earn up to $75,000 a year would be eligible for the full $1,200 second economic impact payment. Americans who earn more than $75,000 but less than $99,000 would be eligible for a reduced payment.

Under the CARES Act, which was signed into law in March, the government based the amount Americans received on a sliding scale, with the amount falling by $5 for every $100 in income above $75,000. 

The new proposal would also offer $500 per dependent of any age. Under the CARES Act, only those younger than age 17 were eligible for dependent payments, meaning college students and other adult dependents did not receive a check.

The HEALS Act also specifies that anyone who died prior to January 1, 2020, will not receive a check, nor will anyone currently in prison.

When determining eligibility for the first 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. The second round would rely 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.

When could you expect your second stimulus check?

A second stimulus check won't be sent out until Republicans and Democrats agree to the terms of the coronavirus relief bill. Both the House of Representatives and the Senate must OK the package before it is sent to President Trump to sign the bill into law. 

Still, Mnuchin believes the two parties will come to a swift agreement. "We can move very quickly with the Democrats on these issues. We've moved quickly before and I see no reason why we can't move quickly again," he told Fox News.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell seemed less optimistic about a quick turnaround when he spoke at an event in Ashland, Kentucky, last week. He said he expects Congress to pass something by "the end of the next few weeks."

What happens after enhanced unemployment benefits run out?

Video by Stephen Parkhurst

Republicans would benefit politically from getting checks out quickly, says Joshua Gotbaum, a guest scholar at the Brookings Institution who has worked in five administrations under presidents of both parties. Gotbaum, who spoke to Grow earlier this month, pointed out that "you have a lot of people who are running for reelection in August," and if Washington doesn't pass more stimulus by then, it could hurt politicians at the polls. 

One in four people who should have received a stimulus check in the first round had a problem receiving their payment, according to a June MagnifyMoney survey of more than 1,000 Americans. Gotbaum thinks things will go more smoothly if another round of payments go out, though: "There are going to be some mistakes, but they've done this once so they are going to make fewer mistakes the second time than the first."

Lawmakers race the clock to get a deal

Time is also a factor in the rush to get a bipartisan bill approved, as Congress breaks for recess on August 7.   

This past weekend, federal enhanced unemployment benefits of $600 per week under the CARES Act technically expired. The extra aid, which was set to expire on July 31, was paid to Americans on a biweekly basis, so distribution ended on Saturday, July 25, in most places.

The federal eviction moratorium provided for in the CARES Act, sometimes called the "eviction ban," expired this past weekend, too. The ban covered renters living in buildings with federally backed mortgages and protected millions of Americans from losing their homes during the pandemic.

For many Americans, continued protections and extra cash can't come soon enough. The national unemployment rate was at 11% in June, and millions of Americans remain out of work.

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