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HEALS Act vs. HEROES Act: What’s the Difference in the Amount of Your Second Stimulus Check?

If you’re waiting for a second stimulus check, you may be heartened by the fact that two competing legislative proposals would provide you with another direct payment.

One, put forth by Kentucky Republican and senate majority leader Mitch McConnell, is called the Health, Economic Assistance, Liability Protection and Schools Act, or HEALS Act. The other, the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act (HEROES Act) was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives, with votes in favor coming from the Democrats who control the chamber. 

With these two competing bills on the table, lawmakers haven’t been able to come to an agreement yet on how to provide more COVID-19 money or who should receive it. And with the Senate now on recess, it may be September before lawmakers take action. 

For those eager for more relief from Washington, it can be helpful to look at what each bill would offer so you can get an idea of the amount of money you may get in a second stimulus check — if one comes at all.

U.S. Capitol Building.

Image source: Getty Images.

Here’s how much your second stimulus check would be under the HEALS Act

The HEALS Act would provide most people with a stimulus check that’s the same size as the one they received the first time under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act). That means your COVID-19 money would equal up to:

  • $1,200 per adult
  • $500 per dependent

However, the big change is that the HEALS Act expands eligibility for the extra $500 to all dependents instead of only those under 17. Up to 26 million more dependents would be eligible for payments if the HEALS Act passed. That means millions of parents of college students and other families with adult dependents would get more money.  

The HEALS Act maintains the same income limits as the CARES Act, so single tax filers with incomes above $75,000, heads of household with incomes above $112,500, and married joint filers with incomes exceeding $150,000 would see their payments decline at a rate of $5 per $100 above these income thresholds. 

Here’s how much you’d get under the HEROES Act

The HEROES Act keeps the same income limits as the CARES Act and the HEALS Act. And, like the HEALS Act, it makes the money available to all dependents.

However, the HEROES Act also makes another notable change — it substantially increases the amount of money you’d receive for each dependent. If the HEROES Act were to pass, your COVID-19 money could equal:

  • $1,200 per adult
  • $1,200 per dependent, up to a maximum of three

With the amount of money per dependent more than doubling and more people becoming eligible for the dependent payment, millions of families could see substantially higher payments than would be offered under either the CARES Act or the HEALS Act.  

Will either coronavirus stimulus bill pass?

Neither the HEALS nor the HEROES Act is likely to pass as written, due to objections to each bill from lawmakers on the opposite side of the aisle. Still, these competing proposals will probably form the basis for any type of compromise legislation eventually signed into law. Since both provide stimulus payments, that’s good news for those who are in need of additional financial help from Washington, D.C.

However, there’s a very good chance lawmakers won’t actually come to a compromise — in which case no relief bill will pass and no additional stimulus money will come. Although it is difficult for Americans coping with financial stress during the 2020 recession, it’s best to proceed as if no more COVID-19 checks will be forthcoming and plan accordingly.

When possible, this means making budget cuts in order to free up cash for an emergency fund or so unemployment benefits can cover the bills. It’s a stressful time for many, but waiting on Washington to provide funding is likely to just leave you disappointed, so it’s best to avoid getting your hopes up. 

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