With almost 37 million Americans out of work due to coronavirus shutdowns, Democratic lawmakers are proposing a second round of stimulus checks to provide some financial relief, potentially worth more than the first round.
Most eligible Americans have by now received their check, called economic impact payments, though some are still being mailed to those who did not provide direct deposit information to the IRS.
The checks have provided something of a cushion to the tens of millions of people who are out of work or have had their hours reduced, though many critics and lawmakers said they did not go far enough. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said a second round of direct payments is "necessary" for the survival of many Americans, and that they would help stimulate the economy.
But those checks are not likely to hit bank accounts soon, if at all. Here's what you need to know.
House Democrats introduced the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act, or HEROES Act, a new piece of coronavirus legislation, that, among other relief measures, includes a second round of stimulus payments of up to $1,200 per person.
The bill was passed in the House on Friday, but it is unlikely to make it through the Republican-controlled Senate, at least in its current form, NBC News reports. "What Nancy Pelosi is proposing will never pass the Senate," Republican Sen. John Barrasso of Wyoming said Tuesday.
Under the legislation, individuals would receive another payment of up to $1,200 (or $2,400 for married couples), and $1,200 per dependent (up to three).
The income eligibility thresholds would be the same as the first round of checks: Individuals earning up to $75,000 and couples earning up to $150,000 would receive $1,200. After that, the checks would completely phase out at $99,000 for individuals and $198,000 for couples.
Unlike the first round of checks, all dependents would be eligible for the additional credit, not just those under 17. And that credit is worth much more: $1,200, compared to $500 for the first round. Each household could receive a maximum of three dependent credits.
The first round of stimulus checks excluded adult dependents, including many in college.
This legislation also does not require recipients have a Social Security number to be eligible, which means those who file taxes with a taxpayer identification number (TIN) could receive a check this time around. Those without an SSN were excluded from the first round of checks.
The HEROES Act would extend the unemployment measures from the first stimulus package, including extending the extra $600 weekly federal unemployment benefit through January 2021 instead of July 2020, and providing unemployment benefits to gig workers, independent contractors, part-time workers and the self-employed through March 2021, rather than the end of 2020.
Additionally, the bill would establish a $200 billion "Heroes' Fund" to provide hazard pay to some essential workers. It would also extend the payment pause on federal student loans as well as provide forgiveness of up to $10,000 for both federal and private student loans.