5 stimulus check payment groups: What they are and why it matters which you’re in

The race to pass a second stimulus check is on as tense negotiations for a $908 billion coronavirus relief plan continue this week. The debate includes how much money should be sent to Americans, with two opposing parties ready to add another direct payment of either $1,200 or $600 maximum per person. Congress is now faced with a deadline it’s determined not to miss this time.

The situation may not bode well for lawmakers trying to pass a cohesive economic rescue bill before the end of the year, but the staunch support does augur hope that another stimulus check will at some point arrive. When and if it does pass, the next question is: How soon can you get it?

There are multiple answers. We go into more depth elsewhere about the possible dates your stimulus check could come. But here, we’ll explain the general framework the IRS used to deliver stimulus checks under the CARES Act, and why that matters for how quickly you’ll be able to receive your direct payment.

Turns out, where you stand in line and how complex your personal situation is can put the delivery of your check days, weeks or even months behind someone else’s. A second round of payments would likely work the same way, though there may be things you can do to clear away a roadblock or two.

Below, we’ll explain what the different “priority” groups are and what they could mean for you. If a second stimulus check doesn’t pass as part of a bill in 2020, here’s what’s likely to happen in 2021. We updated this story recently with new details.

These are the 5 stimulus payment groups based on the first check

When the CARES Act passed in March, it took a couple of weeks for the IRS to build a tool and a procedure to figure out who was owed a check and for how much. This formula helped determine the size of your household’s total sum, but the schedule for sending checks may have felt far less deliberate.

With the IRS under pressure to get out stimulus money fast, how soon you received your check often depended on the method by which you got paid. Any kind of complication could slow it down. In addition, some calculation errors meant there are people who may not see all or any of their allotted share until the middle of 2021.

Direct deposit recipients: People who already have their direct deposit information on file with the IRS or who provide that info when and if registration opens again should be first in line to receive a stimulus check. An electronic transfer of funds is faster and more efficient, which is why this group largely got their first payment faster.

Social Security beneficiaries: With the first stimulus payment, many Social Security beneficiaries who had direct deposit information on file with the federal government received checks in the first week, though not always the first day…Read more>>


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