When second stimulus checks could arrive if Biden strikes a deal

For months Democratic and Republican leaders have failed to reach an agreement for another COVID-19 relief package, which would include items like a second round of $1,200 stimulus checks.

But staffers on Capitol Hill expect that breakthrough to come shortly after the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden on January 20.

And if that economic aid package includes another round of stimulus checks, here’s when Americans could expect to actually get the money.

If the last go-around is any indication, the first of the checks would start to be deposited within two weeks of the legislation passing. After the passage of the $2.2 trillion CARES Act on March 27, Americans started to receive their stimulus checks as early as the week of April 13.

The long waits shouldn’t happen this time. Back in the spring, millions of Americans, including those on Social Security, saw their checks delayed until they provided additional information. Since this payment would be based on the same tax year, it’s unlikely more information will need to be verified—at least among those who received their first round of payments.

And the Biden White House could even ask the Treasury Secretary—likely to be Janet Yellen—to speed up the distribution of the checks given that the system is already in place. That is exactly what the Trump White House discussed prior to losing the election.

Once control of the Senate is determined by a pair of runoff races in Georgia on January, we’ll have a better idea of what the next stimulus package will look like. If Democrats win the Senate, expect a larger package like the $2.2 trillion Heroes Act passed in the Democratic controlled House. But if Republicans retain the Senate, they’ll have the leverage to push Democrats to accept a more modest package—which could exclude direct payments altogether.

If stimulus checks do get included, expect it to be similar to the first round. The direct payments sent in the spring were worth as much as $1,200 for individuals or $2,400 for married couples, plus $500 for each qualifying child. That amount would decrease for adjusted gross income above $75,000 per individual or $150,000 per qualified couple. And the checks phase out for individuals earning above $99,000, head of household filers with one child above $146,500, and joint filers with no children at $198,000.

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