The road to a second stimulus check has grown even rockier, but the direct payment still has a few more chances to come your way. If Trump,Â who’s now in Florida celebrating Christmas, signs the joint funding/COVID-19 relief bill in the next week, it’s possible to predict when the IRS may begin to issue stimulus payments, and who would get them first — and last. Â (And here’s whoÂ could now be ineligible.)
We’ll tell you what you need to know about the priority payment order we expect to see from the IRS, but first, let’s make sure you’re caught up on the latest. The Senate passed aÂ $900 billion bipartisan stimulus package with a second stimulus checkÂ worth up to $600 on Monday night. The next day, President Donald Trump asked Congress to raise the stimulus payment in the COVID-19 relief bill to $2,000 maximum per person (though it’s unclear how much would be earmarked forÂ dependents).
About 4 million people received their stimulus payment through a prepaid debit card called an EIP card, which looks like this.Â
The next move is for the House of Representatives to vote for a standalone bill for $2,000 on Monday, but it isn’t expected to be taken up by the Senate. If any bill is signed, theÂ second stimulus checkÂ will be sent out in waves (calculate your $600-max stimulus check total), so some people will get them days, weeks or possibly even months after others. Read on to understand the different priority payment groups that are used by the IRS. We recently updated this story.
First: People who have set up direct deposit with the IRS
People who have theirÂ direct deposit informationÂ on file with the IRS, or who quickly provide that information when and if IRS registration opens it up again, are projected to be in the first group to receive a stimulus check. An electronic transfer of funds is faster and more efficient than mailing a check, which is why this group largely got their first payment faster.
“The good news is [direct deposit] is a very, very fast way of getting money into the economy. Let me emphasize: People are going to see this money at the beginning of next week” Mnuchin said Monday on a phone call with CNBC.
For the first stimulus check, the IRS took 19 days to build their online tool. On April 15, it sent the first batch of stimulus checks, and in the first week, sent roughly $80 million payments to eligible recipients through direct deposit. People were encouraged to continue registering for direct deposit through May 13 as a way to get their checks faster than through the mail. Some did experience holdups with the tool or with their personal situations, but on the whole, this was the speediest method.
Social Security beneficiaries: Two main scenarios to know
With the first stimulus payment, many people who receive Social Security disbursements who also had direct deposit information on file with the federal government received checks in the first week, though not always the first day.
The IRS had a separate informational section for people who receive SSDI and SSI. Normally, people in these groups receive their federal benefits through aÂ Direct Express card, though people in this group received their stimulus payment through a non-Direct Express bank or a paper check.
Why paper stimulus check delivery times could lag
With the first batch of payments, the IRS began to mail checks about a week after people with direct deposit data on file. The US Treasury can process between 5 million and 7 million paper stimulus checks a week in addition to checks for other federal programs, according to aÂ Government Accountability Office report from June.Â
The IRS and Treasury said they began sending checks to people whose adjusted gross income, or AGI, is less than $20,000, and then moving to people whose AGIs are progressively larger.
The IRS has said it sent 160 million economic impact payments in total with the first check, which means it’s taken months to distribute paper checks to every eligible recipient. In fact, the IRS is wrapping up its distribution this month. Anyone who didn’t get a full or partial payment will be able to claim it in early 2021 during tax season.
Mailed EIP cards were last on the list for the first stimulus check
Economic impact payment debit cardsÂ are prepaid Visa cards the IRS mailed to about 4 million people starting in mid-May. If the IRS follows the same payment priority order, this group could begin to see their payment start to arrive a month after the first direct deposit transfers take place.Â
As with paper checks, the IRS would be able to process 5 to 7 million EIP cards a week. The payments arrived in unmarked envelopes, making it difficult for the recipient to identify, but also making it less likely to be stolen through mail fraud. It’s unclear if the IRS would keep the same delivery schedule for EIP cards with a second stimulus check.
People with more complex situations could be waiting the longest
This category includes people who received a check after June, still haven’t received their full stimulus payment or whoÂ didn’t know they need to complete an extra step.Â
Direct payments will conclude at the end of December. Here’s what could beÂ holding up the stimulus check deliveryÂ for some people andÂ how to contact the IRSÂ to report a missing, lost or stolen check. You may be qualified to claim a catch-up payment from the IRS, called a Recovery Rebate Credit, in the 2021 tax season.
If you didn’t get your full payment from the first payment, what happens next?
It isn’t always clear how much money the IRS might owe you in the event of an error. We suggest starting with our stimulus check calculator and this introduction to how the IRS tabulates your total sum. If the numbers seem lower than they should be, you might want to investigate further.
See if any of these situations could apply to you: Are youÂ missing $500 allotted for your child dependents, or do you pay or receive child support? Are you a taxÂ nonfiler who may be owed a stimulus checkÂ (includingÂ older adultsÂ and people whoÂ receive SSI or SSDI)?
If you’re aÂ US citizen abroad or live in a US territoryÂ and didn’t receive a check as expected, you may also need to read up on the rules. And a new court ruling has made it possible for millions ofÂ people who are incarceratedÂ to get a check, even after the IRS changed its interpretation to exclude this group.
Depending on which group you’re in, we’ve also mapped out some speculative dates for how soon you could potentially get your next stimulus check.