Are you eligible for a second stimulus check? Here’s who may not be

Laveta Brigham

Not everyone in the US will be eligible for a second stimulus payment. Sarah Tew/CNET Chances are you’ve been waiting to know about who will qualify for a second stimulus check and well as when you may receive it. Right now, we’re waiting to hear about the continuation of negotiations […]


Not everyone in the US will be eligible for a second stimulus payment.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Chances are you’ve been waiting to know about who will qualify for a second stimulus check and well as when you may receive it. Right now, we’re waiting to hear about the continuation of negotiations between the Senate and House of Representatives. Once talks continue, it should be worked out as to who will and won’t be eligible for another payment.

A new economic rescue package would likely take operational cues from the CARES Act, which was passed in March, but with some different qualifications that might make you more or less likely to be eligible for a second stimulus payment of as much as $1,200, depending on your personal situations.

We’ve examined the requirements for the first stimulus payment and various proposals for a new stimulus bill for clues on who may not qualify in a second round. Read on for what we know now. This story was recently updated.

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Next stimulus checks: What to expect


Single taxpayers who have an AGI over $99,000

Your adjusted gross income is the sum of money you earn in one year minus approved deductions. The IRS uses your AGI to determine if you qualify for all, some or none of the $1,200 stimulus check. Under the CARES Act, your AGI cutoff as a single taxpayer is $99,000 per year in order to qualify for a stimulus payment. If you earned more than that through a paycheck or other assets, like stocks, the IRS would not send you a check.

However, if you make between $75,000 and $95,000, you would get a portion of the check, and likely will if the income rules don’t change. Here’s how to calculate how much money you could get.

Heads of households who have an AGI over $146,500

Similarly to the single-taxpayer cutoff, heads of households (people who do not file jointly and who claim a dependent) with an AGI over $146,500 were also excluded from the CARES Act — unless you qualified with this loophole. In order to get some of the stimulus money, you would need to make less than $146,500. To get the full amount, your AGI would need to be less than $112,500 as the head of household.


If you make more than the cutoff income, you likely won’t qualify for a second check.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Married couples who have an AGI over $198,000

If you’re a married couple filing jointly and have an AGI above $198,000, you likely won’t be eligible for a second stimulus payment, unless your children create a situation that appears to be an exception. To get the full payment of $2,400, your joint AGI would need to be less than $150,000. The amount you could receive will decrease if your AGI is between $150,000 and $198,000.

To find your adjusted gross income, locate your 2019 tax statement. You’ll find your AGI on line 8b of the 2019 1040 federal tax form. If you didn’t file taxes in 2019, locate your 2018 tax document and navigate to line 7. 

Uncertain: Teenagers over 16 and college students under age 24

When the first round of stimulus checks were sent out, millions of young Americans were excluded from receiving the payment — with these exceptions. Those who were between the ages of 17 and 24, who were also claimed as child dependents, didn’t get a check of their own, due to the tax code definition of a child. So if you’re 17 or older, you’re not considered a child under the CARES Act, even if you still live at home.

While the House of Representatives passed a proposal that includes $500 in stimulus money for any person claimed as a dependent, regardless of age, the current White House proposal at the center of negotiations would keep the CARES Act definition, but increase the amount from a $500 sum to $1,000. Regardless, if someone claims you as a dependent on their taxes, you won’t get a check of your own.

Uncertain: People who are considered ‘nonresident aliens’ by law

If you’re a nonresident alien, you may not be eligible for a second stimulus check. The government defines a nonresident alien as someone who “has not passed the green card test or the substantial presence test.” 

Note that you don’t have to be a US citizen to receive the first stimulus payment. However, noncitizens must have a Social Security number and live and work in the US to receive a stimulus check under the CARES Act.

However, the Democrats’ revised Heroes Act proposal from Oct. 1 would extend stimulus checks to a group of people who aren’t US citizens and pay US taxes through a taxpayer identification number provided by the IRS.


Nonresident aliens likely won’t be eligible for a stimulus check.

Angela Lang/CNET

Can I still get a check if my spouse is considered a nonresident alien?

If you’re married to someone who is considered a “nonresident alien,” you won’t receive a stimulus check for yourselves or money for your dependents if you file your taxes jointly — even if the qualifying parent and child are citizens of the US. In order to receive a stimulus check, you’ll both need to have a Social Security number or be a member of the US Armed Forces during the tax year. If you file your taxes separately, the citizen may be eligible for a full or partial stimulus payment. The same goes for US citizens who claim their child dependents (as head of household) on a separate tax return from the noncitizen spouse. 

People who owe child support aren’t eligible, but that could change

With the first stimulus check, if you were behind on child support payments by as much as $150, the government gave the states the right to garnish what you owed. For example, if you owed $2,000, your entire stimulus check went to your child’s other parent. If you owed $500, that amount was taken out of your stimulus check.

The next stimulus bill could include the same language, depending on which one gets passed. The Democratic proposal would prohibit garnishing money to pay missing child support, whereas the Republican-authored HEALS Act would keep this requirement.

Currently under legal review: People who are incarcerated

Originally, people who were incarcerated were deemed by the IRS to be eligible to receive a stimulus check, and then they were interpreted as ineligible. However, a ruling from a federal judge in California is allowing inmates to file for the first stimulus payment online by Nov. 21, citing that the CARES Act didn’t explicitly ban this group. 

The IRS has appealed this decision but has sent paperwork to prisons for inmates. It’s unclear whether incarcerated people will receive a second stimulus check, even if they received the first, and it may depend on the wording either in the successful stimulus bill or in the final ruling on the ongoing case.


Incarcerated people were originally denied a stimulus payment.

Sarah Tew/CNET

People who have died since the last tax filing

The IRS “sent almost 1.1 million payments totaling nearly $1.4 billion to deceased individuals,” according to the US Government Accountability Office, before asking for the money back (return process here).

If someone has died since the previous tax filing, the current IRS guidance is that they’re currently not eligible to receive a check and their families cannot keep the money on their behalf — for example, if the deceased filed taxes jointly with a spouse. If by accident a check is addressed to them, the IRS expects the family to return the payment, though they may not be legally required to do so.

It’s unclear if families could collect a second stimulus check on behalf of a person who has died, for instance, as a result of COVID-19. However, a precedent for this exists. Families were able to keep the stimulus checks from the 2008 economic crisis in the event of a death, according to Pro Publica and CNBC.

There may also be exceptions, like if the deceased person died in 2020, Janet Holtzblatt, a senior fellow at the Tax Policy Center, said in April. The Bureau of the Fiscal Services has canceled outstanding stimulus payments to anyone who isn’t eligible — including those who died before the checks were received.

If you’re still confused about whether you’ll be eligible for the next stimulus payment, here’s who may qualify for a second stimulus check. Also, you may not get a stimulus check if you move and forget to file a change of address. Plus, here’s when the IRS could send the second check, if approved.

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