Why you could get your second stimulus check weeks before or after someone else

Why you could get your second stimulus check weeks before or after someone else

After the first stimulus payment was authorized by the CARES Act back in March, the IRS took the pool of qualifying people and created different priority groups, sending payments over the course of a few weeks and even months — some people are still waiting. A second stimulus check is expected to be worth as much as $1,200 per person (and more for dependents) and employ a similar priority group system.

The timeline to reach the final stimulus package is still unknown. Negotiators remain optimistic that a deal will happen — but it chances are fading that the bill will become law before the Nov. 3 election, which is just over a week away.


“We are waiting for the final ‘yes,'” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Sunday.

Below, we sketch four possible timelines for when a second stimulus check could go out, and explain how those priority groups work. This story frequently updates as news develops.

How quickly could the IRS send my payment to me?

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has said it would take about a week to process the first payments, when and if another stimulus check is signed into law. “I can get out 50 million payments really quickly. A lot of it into people’s direct accounts,” he said in August.

We’ve speculated as to some potential dates if a bill becomes law after the Nov. 3 election and before or after Inauguration Day on Jan. 20, based on current negotiations in Washington. Keep reading for more information.

What are the IRS’ payment groups?

The IRS has so far sent money to at least 160 million people three different ways, starting with people who filed for direct deposit. Some people with more complicated personal situations are still waiting for their checks or even for catch-up payments. This creates a de facto priority order that could lead some Americans to receive their checks days or even weeks before others. We expect the IRS will adopt roughly the same system for sending out a second stimulus check in 2020 as it did with the first stimulus check, which was approved in March…Read more>>