Sorry, you might get less money with a second stimulus check. This is what we know


If a second check is made, you may not get the full $ 1,200 per adult.

Angela Lang / CNET

When it comes to stimulus checks, the good news is that your total payment could increase. But if Congress can meet in the middle and pass a rescue package that funds another direct payment, your personal total may also decrease. And in some cases you might not have another turn at all. In fact, a the second stimulus test is not acquired at all.

No, you don’t lose your grip. These are complicated things, detailed qualification rules to the way the IRS calculate your total sum. We even built a tool to help you estimate the size of your next check, but until the requirements are crystallized into another bill, there may be some uncertainty as to how much your household can expect.

It doesn’t matter if you are counting on the next direct payment, it is better to prepare mentally. Here are some scenarios that could cause your second check be smaller than the first. And if you didn’t get the first check right away (by the way, here’s when the the next payment might come), here’s what you could do now to get the next one faster.

Stimulus money: a basic thing to know

in the first round of dunning checks, the IRS has mostly used your most recent federal income tax return (2019 0r 2018) when calculating your total payment (people who generally do not file income tax returns were also eligible in many cases). But some people who qualified for a check have experienced personal or financial changes after depositing that could affect a future payment in one way or another.

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If you started a new job, got a raise, or earned more overall

Your adjusted gross income, or AGI, is a term normally used for the IRS annual income tax return to describe your total income, including assets (like sales of shares, credits and deductions, or an inheritance, for example) that do not fall under your usual salary. The first stimulus check, and most likely the second, will cut you off if your AGI goes over a certain income limit.

There is a huge correlation between your tax status and your stimulus checks, and any change in your AGI could increase or decrease the size of your check.

For example, if you received all of the $ 1,200 per qualified adult with the first stimulus check because your AGI was below the income limit, but then you got a promotion or a new job that pays more (congratulations), then your check may be smaller next time – since the IRS pays on a sliding scale – or you may have exceeded the threshold and no longer eligible. All in all, that’s a “good” problem to have.

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The kids get older and you could lose $ 500 per kid.

Sarah Tew / CNET

Do you have fewer qualified dependents?

Age is a big factor in how much stimulus money a household receives, but maybe not the way you think. The elderly are in many cases entitled to a stimulus check. In the first round of direct payments, households received an additional $ 500 for each “dependent child”. This is a legal minor aged 16 or under.

Interestingly, the IRS definition of a dependent child for your taxes (23 years of age or younger, and financially dependent on the filer) is not the same set of terms used for stimulus checks.

If the rules remain the same (and there is an indication that they cannot), any older dependent you requested for the first check may no longer have qualified, meaning you could get $ 500 less if the rules stay the same.

You owe child support or you have changed the way you apply for child support

In most cases, any stimulus check you receive is free to use as you see fit. However, an exception set out in the CARES Act de mars was child support. If you owe child support to your child’s other parent, you can have some or all of your stimulus check seized. If you received an additional $ 500 for how you and the other parent filed a dependent claim (it’s complicated) then changed the way you filed your 2019 tax reserve (for example , if the other parent has obtained full custody), you get the additional $ 500. Here is more information on child support situations.

You owe money to creditors or private banks

Normally, your stimulus money cannot be seized to pay rent or federal tax. There are some exceptions, however, including the child support situation above. If those rules don’t change with the next stimulus bill, then there are two groups – private creditors and banks – who could legitimately seize all or part of your money on the first and possibly the second check.


A few entities are allowed to seize your stimulus money.

Sarah Tew / CNET

Stimulus laws could change, but not in your favor

From the terms of the the second stimulus check is not yet finalized – and won’t be until the incumbent president signs a bill – it’s not clear how or not they can change. There’s also how the IRS can interpret the law and act or withhold stimulus funds. For example, after the CARES Act was signed in March, the IRS first sent people in jail and jail a stimulus check, then requested return and stopped issuing new checks. A recent decision by a federal judge has revived them.

If this law and others concerning citizenship status in the United States, the United States territories or abroad were to change, this could make a person eligible to receive the first payment disqualified for a second check.

You’ve moved and the IRS doesn’t know your new address

If you have moved as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and you have not filed a change of address form with the USPS or IRS (a good action to take), the agency may not know where to send a paper check or EIP plan. If you received your first delivery of stimulus by direct deposit, the IRS will likely resume that route. If you have changed your bank account, you can run in a heist or need contact the IRS to file another claim.

There is an IRS error or a missing step. You will need to file a complaint

The arrived with the first check and could easily happen with the next one. Administrative errors and complex rules can cause your household to receive less money on a second stimulus check in the future than what you might really be entitled to – for you and your dependents. Or maybe you don’t normally need to file your taxes and miss a rare extra step you need to take. Perhaps you have moved (see above).

Whatever the reason, if there is an issue preventing you from receiving some or all of your stimulus money, you should be able to request a refund. The IRS is currently sorting those dunning payment omissions now for a wide range of groups, and probably will do so again if a second check has just been.

A family member has died since your last tax return

Our condolences. If your household received a stimulus check that included a spouse or dependent child who died between your last tax return and receipt of the second stimulus check, the IRS is likely to send a smaller amount if your status as a amended tax return, deductions, credits or AGI. If the person is recently deceased (by the time the next check arrives), the IRS requests a refund of the payment.

For more on the stimulus, here’s what President-elect Joe Biden could do if another stimulus bill does not pass when he becomes president, and everything you need to know about dunning checks.


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