When Will Your Second Stimulus Check Arrive? It May Already Be On Its Way

A direct deposit payment could already be in your bank account. Paper checks will follow quickly.

picture of stimulus check enveloped taken out of mailbox
(Image credit: Getty Images)

When are second stimulus checks coming? Now! The IRS has already started delivering second-round stimulus checks to millions of Americans who received a first-round payment earlier this year. In fact, initial direct deposit payments have already arrived for some people. (To see how much you will get, use our Second Stimulus Check Calculator (opens in new tab).)

If you don't receive a direct deposit soon, watch your mail for either a paper check or a debit card. The IRS started mailing paper checks on December 30. To speed up delivery, a limited number of people will receive their second stimulus payment by debit card. But the form of payment for your second stimulus check may be different than your first payment. Some people who received a paper check last time might receive a debit card this time, and some people who received a debit card last time could receive a paper check. (The original debit cards used for first-round stimulus payments won't be reloaded.)

If you receive a debit card, don't throw it out thinking it's junk mail! The debit cards will be issued by MetaBank, and they will arrive in a white envelope that prominently displays the U.S. Treasury Department's seal. The Visa name will be on the front of the card, and it will say "MetaBank" on the back. More information about these cards is available at EIPcard.com (opens in new tab).

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Amount of Your Second Stimulus Check

Your second stimulus check will be for $600, plus $600 for each child age 16 or younger. If your 2019 adjusted gross income is $75,000 or less for single filers and $150,000 or less for married couples filing joint returns, you'll generally receive the full amount of your second stimulus check. For Americans with income above those amounts, the payment amount is reduced.

You will receive an IRS notice, or letter, after you receive a second stimulus payment telling you the amount of your payment. Keep the notice or letter for your tax records.

There was a bill in Congress – the CASH Act – that would have increased the amount to $2,000 for each eligible American, plus an extra $2,000 for each dependent. However, that bill died in the Senate. Additional stimulus check bills could be introduced in the new Congress – perhaps for $2,000 or some other amount. President-Elect Joe Biden has said he is in favor of additional direct payments.

Automatic Second Stimulus Payments

Second stimulus check payments are automatic for eligible taxpayers who filed a 2019 tax return. In addition, people 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 will also receive a second stimulus check automatically. For Social Security and other beneficiaries who received the first round of payments via Direct Express (opens in new tab), they will receive this second payment the same way.

Payments are also automatic for anyone who successfully registered for a first-round stimulus check online at IRS.gov (opens in new tab) 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.

Tracking Your Second Stimulus Check

You can check the status of both your first and second stimulus checks using the IRS's online "Get My Payment" tool (opens in new tab). The tool, which was used for first-round payments, was recently updated with new information regarding second-round payments. For more information on the tool, see Where's My Stimulus Check? Use the IRS's "Get My Payment" Portal to Get an Answer.

If You Don't Receive a Second Stimulus Check

Eligible Americans who don't receive a stimulus check this year – either the first or the second payment – will be able to claim it when they file their 2020 tax return (it will be due April 15, 2021). When you file your 2020 tax return, you may be able to claim a "recovery rebate" tax credit for stimulus check amount you should have received. (The IRS is expected to start accepting 2020 tax returns in late January or early February.)

For more information about the $600 second stimulus checks, check out Your Second Stimulus Check: How Much? When? And Other FAQs.

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.