If a second stimulus check is approved this weekend, when will the first payment arrive?

How quickly could the IRS send your money? We have some potential dates.

Sarah Tew/CNET

The House of Representatives is expected to vote as early as Sunday — or possibly Monday, if dealmakers can’t finalize and arrangement — on a $900 billion stimulus package that’s reportedly set to include a second stimulus check for $600, a $300 unemployment bonus and other federal benefits set to expire this month. If the Senate and President Donald Trump also approve the new stimulus bill in the next few days, how soon could the IRS and US Treasury begin sending your second stimulus check

Although the exact date the first new direct payments could be delivered depends on some very specific factors, we have a good idea when that might take place. For example, the second stimulus payments will likely be scheduled in waves according to different payment groups, similar to the first payments. We’ve mapped out some potential dates below, depending on who you are and where you might stand in line for a second stimulus check.

Read on for more current information that could help a second stimulus payment. (And if you’re curious, here’s how third stimulus check could be possible in the new year.) We recently updated this story with the latest information.

Read moreWant a third $1,200 stimulus check? Everything could change in January

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Next stimulus checks: What to expect


When will Congress say yes to a second stimulus check?

Congressional leaders continue to hammer out the details of a $900 billion rescue package that could include $600 checks for adults and dependents. The House of Representatives could vote on more aid Sunday, after the latest extension to this year’s federal budget runs out.

“We’re not leaving here without a COVID package. It’s not gonna happen. We’re gonna stay here until we get a COVID package. No matter how long it takes, we’ll be here,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Dec. 15.

After President-elect Joe Biden is inaugurated on Jan. 20, the new administration could try again for a larger bill that could potentially include a third stimulus payment, especially if the results of two Georgia senatorial runoffs on Jan. 5 lean in the Democrats’ favor. That would mean that particular check would likely go out in February at the earliest. See the chart below for possible dates.


Hanging on to hope of a second stimulus check? You’re not alone.

Sarah Tew/CNET

How long before the IRS could send the first new checks?

Once a new stimulus bill is approved, the IRS and Treasury could potentially rally the first batch of payments faster than last time. In August, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said it would take about a week from the time that another stimulus check is approved to the time the IRS could process the first batch. 

“I can get out 50 million payments really quickly. A lot of it into people’s direct accounts,” Mnuchin said then. 

Here’s one stimulus check truth of many: Not everyone will get a payment at the same time. With the first check, the IRS divided stimulus payments into different priority groups depending on the form in which you received the money, and other factors. 

In the chart below, these speculative dates show when you might see a payment if Congress reaches an agreement this year. We also sketch out three other timelines if another  bill becomes law after Biden becomes president Jan. 20.

Possible dates a second stimulus check could go out

Scenario 1 Scenario 2 Scenario 3 Scenario 4
House passes final bill Dec 20 Feb 1 March 1 April 5
Senate passes final bill Dec 21 Feb 2 March 2 April 6
President signs Dec 22 Feb 3 March 3 April 7
First direct deposits issued Week of Jan 4 Week of Feb 8 Week of March 8 Week of April 12
First paper checks sent Week of Jan 11 Week of Feb 16 (Feb 15 is Presidents Day) Week of March 15 Week of April 19
First EIP cards sent Week of Feb 8 Week of March 15 Week of April 12 Week of May 10

Direct deposit, EIP card, paper check and you

The IRS sent out the first stimulus payments on a staggered timeline to different groups of people depending on how they were being paid: by direct deposit, paper check or EIP card. We dive more into the five stimulus check payment priority groups here.

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