Second Stimulus Check Update: HEALS Act vs. CARES Act

When compared to first-round payments, the new Republican stimulus check proposal expands and protects payments for some people, but it shuts the door on payments for others.

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The Senate Republicans have finally introduced their latest economic stimulus package. They call it the Health, Economic Assistance, Liability Protection, and Schools Act – or HEALS Act for short. The package's price tag is around $1 trillion, which is about $2 trillion less than the HEROES Act that was passed by the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives in May. Negotiations are now underway to craft a plan that both Democrats and Republicans can support and pass.

As expected, the HEALS Act calls for another round of stimulus check payments. In fact, the direct payments to Americans that the new legislation would authorize are almost the same as the first-round stimulus check payments issued under the CARES Act…but there are some important differences. (Note that the HEROES Act would also authorize a second round of stimulus payments.)

For some people, the HEALS Act would provide more money than the CARES Act. It would also better protect stimulus payments from creditors. On the other hand, some people are completely denied payments under the new proposal. Let's take a closer look at how stimulus checks under the HEALS Act would differ from the payments issued under the CARES Act.

Rocky Mengle
Senior Tax Editor, Kiplinger.com

Rocky is a Senior Tax Editor for Kiplinger with more than 20 years of experience covering federal and state tax developments. Before coming to Kiplinger, he worked for Wolters Kluwer Tax & Accounting and Kleinrock Publishing, where he provided breaking news and guidance for CPAs, tax attorneys, and other tax professionals. He has also been quoted as an expert by USA Today, Forbes, U.S. News & World Report, Reuters, Accounting Today, and other media outlets. Rocky has a law degree from the University of Connecticut and a B.A. in History from Salisbury University.