The waiting is the hardest part. Fortunately, for the second stimulus check, it will be incredibly short.
The IRS announced Dec. 29 that the first direct deposit payments would be made that night — just two days after President Trump signed legislation approving the checks — and will continue throughout the week. Paper checks will start to be mailed today, Wednesday, Dec. 30.
By comparison, the first round of checks arrived a little over two weeks after Trump signed the CARES Act into law in late March.
The official payment date for the checks is Jan. 4, 2021. You may see the deposit listed as pending until then, according to the IRS news release.
The IRS is under a tighter deadline to disburse the money this time around. While the process for getting the first payments out spanned several months for people getting checks by mail, this time payments must be made by Jan. 15, 2021.
If you don’t receive your check by then, you can still get one if you’re eligible. But you’ll have to file a 2020 tax return and get the money as a refund recovery rebate.
What Do I Have to Do to Get My Payment?
Nothing. The IRS has everything it needs to get your 600 bucks to you if:
- You filed a 2019 tax return
- You used the non-filer tool at IRS.gov to get your first check. (The tool is no longer available.)
- You receive Social Security, SSI, SSDI, Railroad Retirement System or VA benefits.
This is important enough that it bears repeating: You do not have to do anything to claim your stimulus check. If anyone emails, texts or calls you claiming they need your information to get your stimulus check to you, it is a scam.
A good rule of thumb is that if you got the first check, you’re all set to get the second one. If your bank account has changed since the first round, there’s no way to update it. Your bank will reject your deposit and the IRS will mail you your payment. If for some reason you didn’t get the first payment or you don’t get the second one, you’ll still be able to get both by filing a tax return.
As of Dec. 30, the Get My Payment tracker at IRS.gov was offline, but the IRS says it will be available again in a few days.
Are the Checks for $2,000 or $600?
The payments are $600 for adults who can’t be claimed as a dependent and children 16 and younger. They’ll phase out at 5 cents for every $1 of income above $75,000 for single filers, $112,500 for heads of household and $150,000 for married couples who file a joint return.
The House of Representatives approved a bill that increased the payments to $2,000, which President Trump was pushing for. But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell blocked a vote on that bill.
The only payments that have been approved are for $600, not $2,000, so don’t be surprised when your payment arrives. The IRS says if a higher amount is approved, payments that have been made “will be topped up as quickly as possible.”
Robin Hartill is a certified financial planner and a senior editor at The Penny Hoarder. She writes the Dear Penny personal finance advice column. Send your tricky money questions to DearPenny@thepennyhoarder.com.