What a Second COVID Stimulus Check Could Look Like

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Most of those eligible have received their $1,200 tax-exempt checks from the federal government now. The stimulus, approved as part of the CARES Act in late March, proved a welcome, if one-time, cushion from the economic fallout that COVID-19 has wrought. Now, Congress is in discussions for a sequel — but if you're hoping for a bigger relief package, don't get your hopes up.

According to reports, the U.S. Treasury Department may be working on a proposal to disburse new aid, but only to individuals earning $40,000 a year or less. The CARES Act checks went out to Americans earning up to $75,000 per year, with smaller checks going out in tiers to those who earned up to $99,000 annually. While Treasury Sec. Steven Mnuchin did express support for a follow-up stimulus package, he demurred on what it could look like. "The level and criteria we'll be discussing with the Senate," he told CNBC.

It is true that the coronavirus pandemic has hit Americans hardest at the lowest income levels; 1 in 3 of us are financially stranded because of COVID, and the unemployment insurance supplements that have kept many afloat are likely to contract dramatically at the end of July. That initial CARES Act stimulus helped millions pay our bills, and in an economy where just one-quarter of workers can do their jobs from home, we're more stressed than ever before. While the Senate may be on recess for most of the rest of the summer, it's never a bad time to call up your elected representatives and tell them when you need to make it through the month.