If you were counting on another stimulus check in August, we’ve got bad news for you: It’s highly unlikely that will happen.
That doesn’t mean a second stimulus check isn’t coming. In fact, the odds are pretty good we’ll get another round eventually, considering it’s one of the few things both Democrats and Republicans agree on.
Here’s why we’ll probably be waiting well past Labor Day for the next stimulus check to arrive.
Why a Second Stimulus Check Isn’t Coming in August
Congress has been deadlocked over the next stimulus bill for weeks, but it isn’t the stimulus checks they’re fighting over.
The HEROES Act that passed the House of Representatives in May contained $1,200 for most adults and children in the U.S. That bill immediately fizzled in the Senate.
The Republican-proposed HEALS Act also contained $1,200 for most adults, though it limited payments for children and anyone claimed as a dependent to $500. Both versions would have used the same income limits as the first round.
So while there are a few details to sort out, both parties are more or less in agreement that there should be a second round of stimulus checks.
But lawmakers are at odds over a number of other issues, including the expanded unemployment benefits that expired in July, U.S. Postal Service funding and aid for struggling state and local governments.
President Trump issued four relief orders on Aug. 8 calling for a $300 weekly federal unemployment supplement and payroll tax suspension. The orders also extended federal student loan relief through Dec. 31 and gave vague instructions about eviction protections.
But Trump’s orders didn’t include a second stimulus check, Congress is about to go on recess and isn’t scheduled to reconvene again until Sept. 8.
That means we’ll be waiting until after Labor Day to see any movement on stimulus checks.
So When Will the Next Stimulus Check Arrive?
If the House and Senate do reach an agreement that includes stimulus check and the White House signs off on it, payments could arrive faster than they did the first time around. After the CARES Act became law, it took 17 days for the first coronavirus stimulus checks to arrive via direct deposit.
The IRS established the infrastructure it needed to make payments from the first round. It’s also collected the information it needed to process payments for most people.
U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said earlier this month: “If I could get it passed tomorrow, I could start printing them the following week. I could get out 50 million payments really quickly.”
So, assuming no last-minute miracles before Congress goes on vacation, let’s summarize the most optimistic of possibilities: Suppose lawmakers return from their recess feeling rested and amicable. They quickly agree on a relief bill that the president signs into law. That puts us at mid-September. Then, suppose the IRS really can process the first payments within a week.
Under the best-case scenario, we won’t start getting more stimulus checks until late September.
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 [email protected]