Second stimulus check: If Congress votes this weekend, when would your payment be sent?


How quickly could the IRS send your money? We have some potential dates.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Washington lawmakers are expected to authorize another round of stimulus aid as part of a $900 billion relief bill as soon as this weekend if negotiations over the new stimulus package continue to include a second stimulus check for $600 and a $300 unemployment bonus.

A handful of federal benefits set to expire this month is coinciding with a potential government shutdown without new action from Congress, but if another direct payment is approved in 2020, a third stimulus check could also possibly arrive in 2021.

With the Congressional deadlines and schedule in hand, we’ve sketched out some possible dates that a bill could pass that would send a second stimulus check your way, based on your particular payment group. We’ve also predicted some dates when a direct payment could arrive early next year — whether that would be a second, smaller share of stimulus check money or potentially a third payment.

Read more: Want a third $1,200 stimulus check? Here’s how everything could change in January

For everything we currently understand about the second stimulus check, keep reading. This story is regularly updated with new information.

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Next stimulus checks: What to expect


When will Congress vote on a second stimulus check?

Congressional leaders continue to hammer out the details of a $900 billion rescue package that could include $600 checks for adults and dependents. The House of Representatives could vote on more aid this weekend, after an extension to this year’s federal budget runs out, or Congress could extend the budget a few days.

“We’re not leaving here without a COVID package. It’s not gonna happen. We’re gonna stay here until we get a COVID package. No matter how long it takes, we’ll be here,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on Tuesday.

After President-elect Joe Biden gets inaugurated on Jan. 20, the new administration could try again for a larger bill that could include another direct payment — either a second smaller one, or perhaps even a third if a second one went out in 2020. That would mean that particular check would likely go out in February at the earliest. See the chart below for possible dates.


Hanging on to hope of a second stimulus check? You’re not alone.

Sarah Tew/CNET

How long before the IRS could begin sending checks, once approved?

In August, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said it would take about a week from the time that another direct payment is approved to the time the IRS could process the first batch. 

“I can get out 50 million payments really quickly. A lot of it into people’s direct accounts,” Mnuchin said then. 

Here’s one stimulus check truth of many: Not everyone will get a payment at the same time. With the first check, the IRS divided stimulus payments into three main groups depending on the form in which you received the money. 

In the chart below, these speculative dates show when you might see a payment if Congress reaches an agreement this year. We also sketch out three other timelines if a bill becomes law after Biden becomes president Jan. 20 to give you an idea of how long you might have to wait.

Possible dates a second stimulus check could go out

Scenario 1 Scenario 2 Scenario 3 Scenario 4
House passes final bill Dec 20 Feb 1 March 1 April 5
Senate passes final bill Dec 21 Feb 2 March 2 April 6
President signs Dec 22 Feb 3 March 3 April 7
First direct deposits issued Week of Jan 4 Week of Feb 8 Week of March 8 Week of April 12
First paper checks sent Week of Jan 11 Week of Feb 16 (Feb 15 is Presidents Day) Week of March 15 Week of April 19
First EIP cards sent Week of Feb 8 Week of March 15 Week of April 12 Week of May 10

Direct deposit, EIP card, paper check and you

The IRS sent out the first stimulus payments on a staggered timeline to different groups of people depending on how they were being paid: by direct deposit, paper check or EIP card. We dive more into the five stimulus check payment priority groups here.

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