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The road to a second stimulus check has seen potholes and bumps but isn’t totally blocked off yet. The warring Republican and Democrat sides may staunchly disagree on the total price of the next stimulus package, but all agree that another direct payment will benefit Americans and the economy.
“I like the larger number,” President Donald Trump said last week. “I want to see people get money.”
If a second check does happen — either before the Nov. 3 election or after it — possible changes in eligibility rules could actually get you more money for you and your dependents in the second round than with your first check.
The good news is, you don’t have to wait to calculate how much stimulus money you could get if a fresh round of stimulus payments goes through. We lay out common scenarios below and tell you everything you need to know about how the IRS could send your money. Meanwhile, here are the top things to know about stimulus checks, and try CNET’s stimulus check calculator to estimate how much you might be due. We update this story frequently.
How to find out if your payment could be more than $1,200
The $1,200 figure for individuals is based on guidelines from the last stimulus bill and two proposals, and uses your adjusted gross income, or AGI, and a set of rules to determine the total you could personally expect.
But there are also allowances for your whole family, including up to $2,400 if you file jointly with your spouse, as well as more money for dependents. In the first round of stimulus checks, only dependents aged 16 or younger could qualify for an extra $500 each toward the family total. There’s bipartisan support to include more people this time, which means you could potentially receive more from a second round of payments than from the first.
As part of the stimulus package, you may get payment from the government.
We lay out some potential scenarios below, based on our stimulus check calculator, which you can also use to get a more specific estimate for your particular situation.
3 ways the IRS could send your stimulus payment
Being owed a check is one thing, but receiving it is another. Here’s how the IRS is likely to send a second check, based on the first.
Direct deposit to your bank account: The IRS already has a system in place to electronically transfer the funds into your checking account. That is, if you already provided those details if you registered for direct deposit with your first check or as part of filing your IRS tax return. This is expected to be the fastest way to get your stimulus check — look for the registration tool to reopen if another check passes.
A paper check in the mail: If you don’t share your direct deposit details with the IRS, look for a physical check in the mail. You’ll wait longer for it, and if you’re recently moved, you’ll need to file a change of address with the US Postal Service, since the IRS will mail your check to your last known address.
EIP card: The IRS sent about 4 million people a prepaid economic impact payment card in the mail. This is money you can spend like cash on a debit card. The cards came in plain, unmarked envelopes. It took longer to receive than a paper check or direct deposit.
If you’re still waiting for your first stimulus check, follow these steps.
How Americans used the first round of stimulus checks
A recent survey looked at how Americans are using their stimulus checks. According to research from the National Bureau of Economic Research:
In general, the report found that lower-income households were significantly more likely to spend their stimulus checks, higher-income individuals were more likely to save it and those with mortgages or who were renters were much more likely to pay off debt.
Looking for more stimulus check information? Read up on all the finer points of the stimulus payment here. If you’re still waiting for your first stimulus check, here are 10 possible reasons for a delay, what you can do if you think your payment was lost or has fallen through the cracks and if you could receive two refund checks from the IRS.
Shelby Brown contributed to this report.