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Stimulus Check 2 payments have started - how and when will you get your check?

Stimulus Check 2 payments have started - how and when will you get your check?
(Image credit: Getty)

Stimulus check 2 has finally been signed off and may have already arrived in the bank accounts of some Americans. But what has changed from the first stimulus check, is there anything you need to do to secure the second payment, and when can you expect to receive yours, if you haven’t already? Read on for the answers to all of these questions, and many more.

How much is stimulus check 2?

Under stimulus check 2, eligible individuals will receive a maximum of $600, and married couples could receive up to $1,200. It’s exactly half the amount that was paid under the first stimulus check, but should nevertheless prove invaluable to many households who are considering, or already necessarily turned to personal loans, credit cards, or even payday loans to help bridge financial gaps created by the coronavirus pandemic and its fallout. 

Parents will also receive a payment of $600 for each dependent child, a sum which has increased from $500 under the original stimulus check. 

How is stimulus check 2 being paid?

As with the first stimulus payment, most people will receive stimulus check 2 by direct deposit into their online bank accounts using the information that the IRS already holds. Social Security and other beneficiaries who received the first payment via Direct Express will get the second payment the same way.

Those who received the original stimulus check but now don't receive a payment via direct deposit will generally receive a check or, in some instances, a debit card, similar to before. If your bank account details have changed since the first payment, and the IRS are not aware, you can also expect a check in the mail or debit card. 

Mailbox

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When will stimulus check 2 be paid? 

The roll out of stimulus check 2 by the IRS began on December 29, meaning some Americans may already have a direct deposit payment in their bank account. 

If you don’t receive a direct deposit by early January, it’s likely you’ll receive a paper check or a debit card instead. The debit card will be sent in a white envelope prominently displaying the U.S. Department of the Treasury seal, and will have the Visa name on the front and the issuing bank, MetaBank, N.A. on the back. Mailed payments are expected to be completed by the end of January.

You can also check the status of your stimulus payment by using the Get My Payment tool on IRS.gov. 

Who is eligible for stimulus check 2? 

Generally, U.S. citizens and resident aliens who are not eligible to be claimed as a dependent on someone else’s income tax return are eligible for the second stimulus check. Individuals with adjusted gross income for 2019 of up to $75,000 and married couples filing joint returns and surviving spouses earning up to $150,000 can expect to receive the full payment. 

For tax filers with income above those amounts, the payment will reduce by $5 for every $100 earned above the maximums, as happened before. What is slightly different is that the income levels beyond which no payment will be received have been lowered to $87,000 for individuals, and $174,000 for joint filers, down from $99,000 and $198,000 respectively for the first stimulus check. 

In terms of child payments, as before, only dependents who are under the age of 17 will be eligible, meaning some older dependents, such as college students, won't qualify. 

Stimulus Check 2 payments have started - how and when will you get your check?

(Image credit: Getty)

What about mixed status households?

Under the earlier CARES Act, joint returns of couples where only one member of the couple had a Social Security number (SSN) were generally ineligible for a payment – unless they were a member of the military. But with stimulus check 2, provision has been expanded so that families will now qualify to receive payments for the taxpayers and qualifying children of the household who have work-eligible SSNs. Those within this group who missed out on the first payment can also now claim this retrospectively when they file their taxes under the Recovery Rebate Credit. 

What do I need to do to receive stimulus check 2?

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has confirmed that those who are eligible should receive stimulus check 2 without needing to take any action. That’s because payments are automatic for eligible taxpayers who filed a 2019 tax return, those who receive Social Security retirement, survivor or disability benefits (SSDI), Railroad Retirement benefits as well as Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Veterans Affairs beneficiaries who didn’t file a tax return. 

Those who registered for the first stimulus payment online at IRS.gov using the agency’s Non-Filers tool by November 21, 2020, or who submitted a simplified tax return that has been processed by the IRS, should also receive payment automatically.

Eligible individuals who didn’t receive a stimulus check in 2020 – either the first or the second payment – will be able to claim it when they soon load up their tax software and file their 2020 taxes in 2021. And taxpayers who didn’t get a payment last year are urged to review the eligibility criteria when they file their taxes, in case they are now eligible to claim. 

Tim is Finance Editor at Top Ten Reviews. With over 20 years’ experience in the financial services industry, Tim has spent most of his career working for a financial data firm, where he was Online Editor of the consumer-facing Moneyfacts site, and regularly penned articles for the financial advice publication Investment Life and Pensions Moneyfacts. As a result, he has an excellent knowledge of almost areas of personal finance and, in particular, the retirement, investment, protection, mortgage and savings sectors. A keen armchair follower of most sports, Tim regularly plays soccer, and also enjoys attending live music events, when not having to chase after his two children.