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Stimulus check negotiations are a wild card. New timeline if on hold until the election – CNET


Did you know? Different groups will get their stimulus checks at different times.

Sarah Tew/CNET

The date you could get second stimulus check if you qualify is now totally in question after President Donald Trump abruptly called to put a stop to negotiations over the next stimulus bill until after the Nov. 3 election early Tuesday. And then seemed to restart them later the same day.

“If I am sent a Stand Alone Bill for Stimulus Checks ($1,200), they will go out to our great people IMMEDIATELY. I am ready to sign right now. Are you listening Nancy,” the president’s account tweeted, referring to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, in addition to other congressional leaders.

The stimulus package is widely regarded as necessary to help combat the economic effects of the virus. Hours before Trump’s first announcement Tuesday morning, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said there’s little risk of “overdoing it” when it comes to injecting cash into the economy.

The president disagreed Tuesday afternoon. “I have instructed my representatives to stop negotiating until after the election when, immediately after I win, we will pass a major Stimulus Bill that focuses on hardworking Americans and Small Business,” Trump, who has returned to the White House after his hospitalizationtweeted. Trump continues to receive treatment for COVID-19, including the steroid dexamethasone.

Trump’s bombshell delays the timeline to pass legislation for a new relief package that includes a $1,200 maximum per person payment (see our timeline chart below.) We’ve been tracking the soonest you could get a new stimulus check and have adjusted our calendar to reflect some realistic dates a deal will be made and  how fast the IRS could send a new stimulus check when and if a new package is eventually set in motion.

This story was updated recently.

When the IRS could send the first checks now: 4 scenarios

When and if another stimulus check happens, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has said it would take about a week to process the first payments. “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 about the potential dates based on the current situation in Washington. Note that not everyone will get a payment at the same time. Keep reading to see how the different priority groups shake out if a bill becomes law following the Nov. 3 election or after Inauguration Day on Jan. 20, 2021.

Possible dates a second stimulus check could go out

Scenario 1 Scenario 2 Scenario 3 Scenario 4
House passes final bill Nov. 9 Nov. 23 Dec. 7 Jan. 22
Senate passes final bill Nov. 10 Nov. 30 Dec. 8 Jan. 23
President signs Nov. 11 Dec. 1 Dec. 9 Jan. 24
First direct deposits sent Week of Nov. 23 Week of Dec. 14 Week of Dec. 21 Week of Feb. 1
First paper checks sent Week of Dec. 7 Week of Dec. 21 Week of Jan. 4 Week of Feb. 8
First <span data-shortcode="link" data-asset-type="article" data-uuid="f96f4f0c-3b5b-4e72-94a7-8e630b5b05b0" data-slug="eip-card-what-it-is-and-why-you-might-get-one-if-another-stimulus-check-happens" data-link-text="EIP cards” data-href=”” data-edition=”us” data-shortcode-hash=”596ace3476a44eda91522b04821cad77″ data-shortcode-parser-id=”596ace3476a44eda91522b04821cad77_36″>EIP cards sent Week of Dec. 28 Week of Jan. 5 Week of Feb. 1 Week of Mar. 8

Why some people could get their checks before others

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 scenarios are still waiting for their checks or even for catch-up payments. This gives a de facto priority order that could lead some to receive their checks days or even weeks sooner than others. We expect the IRS would adopt roughly the same system for sending out the second stimulus check.

Read moreEstimate the size of your check with our stimulus calculator

Direct deposit is fastest: People who already have their direct deposit information on file with the IRS or who register it when and if registration opens again should be first in line to receive their stimulus check. An electronic transfer of funds is faster and more efficient, which is why this group largely got their first payment faster.

Now playing: Watch this: Next stimulus checks: What to expect


Social Security beneficiaries: With the first stimulus payment, many Social Security beneficiaries who had direct deposit information on file with the federal government received checks in the first week, though not always the first day.

People who get paper checks: The IRS began to mail these about a week later to people without direct deposit data on file. 

EIP card recipients: Economic Impact Payment debit cards are prepaid Visa cards that the IRS sent to around 4 million people starting in mid-May. If the IRS follows the same payment priority order, this group could begin to see their checks weeks after the first direct deposit transfers go out.

Last group: People who received checks after June are still waiting to receive their stimulus payment or did not know they need to complete an extra step. Direct payments will continue through the end of 2020 for some individuals who weren’t part of the previous groups. Here’s what could be holding up the stimulus check delivery for some and how to contact the IRS to report a missing, lost or stolen check.

What’s the longest you might have to wait for your check?

While we expect most people to get their money sooner, if the first round is any indication, it could still take months for the IRS to send all the checks. Six months after the first stimulus payments went out, the federal agency is still trying to track down millions of people who may be owed money.

And even with the experience of processing roughly 160 million payments in the IRS’ back pocket, some people would probably need to clear a few hurdles to receive their money. Here are common roadblocks that held up the first stimulus check.


There’s hope that the IRS could speed up delivery of a second check, if it’s authorized.

Angela Lang/CNET

A few more resources to help out

If you’re still waiting on the first round of payments, you can track the status of your stimulus check, learn how to report your no-show check to the IRS and find possible reasons why your stimulus check still hasn’t arrived.

And here are resources about coronavirus hardship loans and unemployment insurance, what you can do if you’ve lost your job, what to know about evictions and late car payments, if you could receive two refund checks from the IRS and how to take control of your budget.

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