As the HEALS Act begins to make its way through Congress, many Americans are already counting down the days until they receive a second stimulus check. Officially revealed Monday by Senate Republicans, the GOP proposal could actually see many American households receiving more stimulus money than the first time, all thanks to a slight extension of eligibility.
Although the HEALS Act largely mimics the wording of the CARES Act when it comes to economic impact payments, there are some slight differences, including the promise from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell that the bill will provide "more support" for those caring for adult dependents. Under the first stimulus package, most eligible people received $1,200 per adult, plus an additional $500 per child dependent under 17. This meant that numerous dependents, including many college students, were excluded from receiving any stimulus money. Under the Heals Act, however, that would change, as there will be an additional $500 for any dependent regardless of age.
"We also include, in the additional $500 for each dependent, some people that we didn’t intend to leave out last time, but we did," Sen. Chuck Grassley said from the Senate floor on Monday, according to Yahoo Money. "So regardless of age, some of these dependents will now be helped."
Similar to the CARES Act, eligibility for this round of payments would be based on a taxpayer's most recent tax return for either 2019 or 2018 and adjusted gross income (AGI). Single adults with income up to $75,000 and married couples with income up to $150,000 would receive the full check amount of $1,200 or $2,400. That total would begin to phase out for single taxpayers earning between $75,001 and $99,000 and joint filers earning between $150,001 and $198,000. The income level would be capped after that, meaning those making above those amounts would not be eligible for a payment. Social Security recipients would also be eligible to receive a payment.
Although stimulus payments have been supported by both Democrats and Republicans, and the HEALS Act offers a similar proposal as the HEROES Act, there is one aspect of this proposed second round of stimulus payments that could prove controversial. Under the GOP's proposal, those without a Social Security number and nonresident aliens, or those who are not U.S citizens or U.S. nationals, would not qualify for a check. Democrats had proposed extending payments to people with Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) filers and their families, which would have made an additional 4.3 million adults and 3.5 million children eligible.