Updated December 29, 2020
A second stimulus check is OFFICIALLY on its way after President Trump signed a $900 billion COVID-19 relief bill into law Sunday night after initially refusing. The relief bill will deliver a second stimulus check of $600 to most adults who can’t be claimed as dependents, as well as $600 for children 16 and younger.
Now the wait begins — but fortunately, it should be shorter than the first time around. Here’s when you can expect your second stimulus check.
When Will Your $600 Stimulus Check Arrive?
It took just over two weeks for the first round of stimulus checks provided by the CARES Act to start hitting bank accounts for people who had direct deposit information on file with the IRS. Those who received payments by mail via paper check or prepaid debit cards had to wait several extra weeks — or longer, in some cases.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has indicated that this round of checks could start going out even sooner. On Dec. 21, Mnuchin told CNBC host Jim Cramer: “People are going to see this money at the beginning of next week.”
Of course, at that point, President Trump was expected to quickly sign the relief bill. It’s unclear how the timeframe will be affected since Trump didn’t sign the bill into law until Dec. 27. Assuming that the IRS processes payments at the speed Mnuchin suggested, checks could start arriving in bank accounts during the first week of January.
Mnuchin expressed confidence in the same timeline earlier this year during stimulus bill discussions that ended in stalemate. In August, he said: “If I could get it passed tomorrow, I could start printing them the following week. I could get out 50 million payments really quickly.”
The faster timeline seems likely, given that the IRS established the infrastructure and got the information it needed to deliver stimulus checks to most Americans through the CARES Act.
Plus, the new bill establishes a Jan. 15 deadline for the IRS to send out payments. If your payment hasn’t been made by then, you’ll have to file a 2020 tax return and get your stimulus check as a refund.
How Can You Get Your Check Faster?
Sorry, but there isn’t much you can do right now. If you filed a 2019 tax return or used the non-filer tool to get your first payment, the IRS has the information it needs to determine your eligibility. Same goes if you receive benefits from Social Security, the Railroad Retirement System, SSI, SSDI or the VA.
But if you don’t have direct deposit information on file with the IRS — or your bank account has changed — there’s no way to update it at this time. You’ll probably have to wait and receive your payment by mail.
As of Dec. 28, the “Get My Payment” tracking system on IRS.gov was offline, which means you can’t yet find your payment status. We’ll update you if that changes.
Robin Hartill is a certified financial planner and a senior editor at The Penny Hoarder. She writes the Dear Penny personal finance advice column. Send your tricky money questions to [email protected]