Second Stimulus Check: How Eligibility Could Change for Next Round of Coronavirus Relief

Americans are counting on another stimulus check to weather the coronavirus pandemic and the economic recession. Still, there is no guarantee yet who will qualify for the next payment — if it ever passes. The U.S. Congress is back to juggling multiple options for a stimulus package, each with its own eligibility requirements for its various programs. Lawmakers say they are still intent on making a deal.

Leaders in The United States Senate initially indicated that they wanted to tighten the eligibility requirements for a stimulus check in the second round, but with input from the White House, they eventually agreed to something more familiar. Sen. Mitch McConnell's HEALS Act had a stimulus check worth up to $1,200, with eligibility requirements that looked remarkably similar to the first round in the first draft, according to a report by CNET.

Under the HEALS Act — as it is written now — a person with an annual gross income of $75,000 or less on their last tax return would get a stimulus check for the full $1,200. The check would drop incrementally from there, with each additional $100 of income taking $5 off the stimulus check. So, a person making $75,100 would get a check worth $1,195, and a person making $75,200 would get $1,190, and so on. At an income of $99,000 or more, there would be no stimulus check.

In the case of tax filers who are listed as "Head of Household," the structure is different. They would get a check with a gross annual income under $146,500. Meanwhile, a couple filing jointly can simply double the numbers for individuals — so, their check would be worth $2,400 if their combined gross annual income is $150,000 or less. It would reach zero at an income of $198,000.

The HEALS Act also provides a $500 bonus for each dependent the tax filer claims, just like before. However, it counts adult dependents as well, so college students and the elderly would be eligible. It has no stated limit on how many dependents can be claimed.


On the other hand, The House of Representatives' HEROES Act has a limit of three dependents for the stimulus check, but each one would receive the full $1,200. Still, many adult dependents are put off that this money would go to the tax filer who claimed them.

As before, the stimulus check will not be eligible to be seized by any creditors, with the exception of overdue child support bills. For the most part, these rules are the most likely to pass, since both legislatures and both political parties are agreed on the stimulus check itself. Other programs, such as unemployment and liability protections, continue to hold the negotiations up.