As conversations surrounding a potential second round of stimulus checks resume, one lingering question remains: If further economic impact payments are approved, when could Americans expect them to be distributed? At this time, no strict timetable has been laid out by lawmakers, and much of the discussions remain nothing more than theories, though a simple look at key dates for Congress as well as the timeline for the first round of stimulus checks offers an idea as to when the American people could expect further economic aid to land in their hands.
According to CNET, the Senate is scheduled to recess from Friday, July 3, through Friday, July 17, during which time they will collect the necessary information to determine the details of the next relief package. They will return to work on Monday, July 20, and will spend three weeks debating what is believed to be the final package before entering another recess after Friday, Aug. 7. If Congress does not approve a bill during this time period, it would need to resume discussions on Sept. 8, when members reconvene. Multiple lawmakers have stated a goal of passing a bill before this second recess.
Looking at the timeline of the CARES Act — the very first relief package that was signed into law earlier this year — can also offer further clues. After being approved by Congress, the CARES Act was signed into law by President Donald Trump on March 27. Less than three weeks later, on April 15, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) confirmed that the first payments had begun to be distributed via direct deposit. Physical checks sent in the mail followed not long after.
Taking both of these things into account, it can be assumed that should Congress approve another relief package that includes stimulus checks before their next recess begins in August, the IRS could begin distributing payments sometime later that month. For example, should a bill be passed on Aug. 7, the first checks could go out by Wednesday, Aug. 26. It is unclear how quickly checks would be distributed to all eligible Americans, though the process could potentially be faster than the first round of checks given the fact that the IRS already has a number of mechanisms in place, such as the non-filers tool and Get My Payment Now tool, to speed up the process.
The speed with which payments are distributed would also depend on the number of people eligible for Americans. It was recently suggested by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell that the eligibility would be far stricter than that under the CARES Act, with an income cap possibly sitting at $40,000. This would reduce the number of eligible Americans by roughly half, meaning far fewer checks would need to be sent.