January 8, 2021

What to Know About the Second Coronavirus Stimulus Checks

On December 27, 2020, the federal government enacted a relief package that included a second round of Economic Impact Payments (often referred to as “stimulus payments”) to Americans. Eligible individuals will receive a payment of $600, or $1,200 for married individuals, plus $600 for each qualifying child. However, those payments gradually phase out for incomes above $75,000 for single taxpayers, $112,500 for taxpayers filing as head of household, and $150,000 for married couples filing jointly. Taxpayers would be ineligible for any payment, unless they have a qualifying child, above the following income levels:

  • $87,000 for single taxpayers
  • $124,500 for taxpayers filing as head of household
  • $174,000 for married couples filing jointly

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Treasury Department began issuing such payments on December 29; most recipients will receive those funds by direct deposit. Paper checks and debit cards also began going out and will continue to be sent through January. For Social Security and other beneficiaries who received the first round of payments via debit card, they will receive this second payment the same way. As of January 29, about $135 billion of the second round of payments have been sent out; overall, such payments are expected to cost a total of $164 billion according to the Congressional Budget Office.

How Many First-Round Stimulus Checks Have Been Issued?

The first round of stimulus payments were authorized under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. As of August 28, 2020, the IRS had issued 153 million payments — totaling $269 billion. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that those first-round payments will eventually cost a total of $281 billion.

The initial Economic Impact Payments issued earlier in 2020 were $1,200 per person, or $2,400 for those filing jointly, plus $500 per qualifying child. The payments began phasing out at the same income levels as the current payments, but since the payments authorized under the CARES Act were larger, the maximum income levels to receive a payment were also larger:

  • $99,000 for single taxpayers
  • $136,500 for taxpayers filing as head of household
  • $198,000 for married couples filing jointly

Distribution of First-Round Payments by State

The interactive map below shows the number, and total amount, of first-round payments sent to taxpayers by state.



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