Second stimulus check: When could the IRS start sending your payment? What we know now


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

Sarah Tew/CNET

Right at the deadline, Congressional leaders agreed late Sunday on a $900 billion stimulus package that will include a second stimulus check for up to $600, $300 in federal unemployment payments and funding for other federal benefits set to expire this month. The House is poised to vote on the COVID-19 relief bill Monday, followed by the Senate, before a passing bill heads to President Donald Trump to sign.

Once the second stimulus check become law, how soon could the IRS and Treasury Department begin distributing the payment? Based on the first round of checks and remarks by administration officials, we have a good idea when that might take place. The second stimulus check will likely be scheduled in waves according to different payment groups, similar to the first direct payments. We’ve mapped out some potential dates below, depending on where you fit in.

Read on for more information about a second stimulus payment. As long as you’re here, there are steps you can take to potentially get your second stimulus check faster. And if you’re curious, here’s how a third stimulus check could happen in the new year. We recently updated this story with the latest information.

Read moreWant a third $1,200 stimulus check? Everything could change in January

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Next stimulus checks: What to expect


When will Congress completely pass a second stimulus check?

On Sunday, Congressional leaders agreed to the details of a $900 billion rescue package that include $600 direct payments for adults and dependent children. The House of Representatives is set to vote Monday, with the Senate to follow. The bill with the new $600 stimulus check could become law early this week.

After President-elect Joe Biden is inaugurated on Jan. 20, the new administration may try again for a larger bill that could potentially include a third stimulus payment, especially if the results of two Georgia senatorial runoffs on Jan. 5 go for the Democrats. That would mean that particular check would likely go out in February at the earliest. See the chart below for possible dates.


Hanging on for a second stimulus check? You’re not alone.

Sarah Tew/CNET

How soon could the IRS start to send the new checks?

Once a new stimulus bill is approved, the IRS and Treasury could potentially send the first batch of payments faster than last time. In August, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said it would take about a week from the time that another stimulus check 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 different priority groups depending on the form in which you received the money, and other factors. 

In the chart below, these speculative dates show when you might see a payment if Congress agrees to the bill and the president signs it into law the next two days. We also sketch out three other timelines if another  bill becomes law after Biden becomes president Jan. 20.

Possible dates a second stimulus check could go out

Scenario 1 Scenario 2 Scenario 3 Scenario 4
House passes final bill Dec 21 Feb 1 March 1 April 5
Senate passes final bill Dec 22 Feb 2 March 2 April 6
President signs Dec 22 (same day) 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

Paper check, direct deposit, EIP card 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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