Stimulus Update: Individuals and Families Received $1.8 Trillion in Aid. Here's How It Breaks Down

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  • The federal government authorized a total of $5 trillion in pandemic relief funds.
  • Individuals and families collectively received $1.8 trillion.
  • Here's a breakdown of how the money was spent.

How much did individuals benefit from COVID-19 relief?

COVID-19 was an unprecedented worldwide disaster, and it prompted swift and decisive action on the part of the federal government.

In fact, according to a recent New York Times analysis, Washington authorized around $5 trillion in COVID-19 stimulus money to help individuals, businesses, and states cope with the consequences of the pandemic.

It can be helpful to understand how this money was distributed to see just how much assistance individuals and families received relative to other affected parties.

Here's how stimulus aid was distributed across the U.S.

Many different individuals and entities received a piece of the COVID-19 relief packages authorized by Congress. Specifically:

  • Individuals and families were provided with a total of $1.8 trillion in aid
  • Businesses collectively received $1.7 trillion
  • $745 billion in state and local aid was authorized
  • $482 billion was devoted to healthcare
  • An additional $288 billion went to other costs

Individual Americans, in other words, got the biggest piece of the pie.

This is how money was distributed to individuals and families

So, where did all of the money for individuals and families go? Here's how the huge amount of cash was distributed among everyday Americans left struggling with the pandemic:

  • $817 billion in stimulus money was paid directly into American's bank accounts. This included $1,400 checks authorized by the American Rescue Plan Act in 2021, which were available to both adults and dependents.
  • $678 billion in unemployment benefits was paid out. This included an extra $600 weekly payment made available from March through July of 2020.
  • $93 billion went to an expanded Child Tax Credit, which provided more money per child for parents than the existing Child Tax Credit.
  • $71 billion in SNAP and food assistance benefits
  • $39 billion in delayed payments on educational debt
  • $28 billion in block grants for childcare
  • $24 billion in grants to childcare providers
  • $14 billion in changes to retirement plan rules that allowed easier access to retirement funds without penalties.
  • $24 billion in other new tax breaks, including an expanded Earned Income Tax Credit
  • $10 billion in other relief

These payments helped keep millions out of poverty, and also may have led to a faster economic recovery since people were able to stay financially afloat even when businesses were shut down and unemployment soared.

However, the long-term effects are still being determined, as some experts believe that providing so much direct aid to Americans may have been a contributing factor in the soaring inflation rates plaguing consumers today.

Regardless of the long-term impact, however, it's important to realize that some Americans may still be owed at least part of their share of these stimulus funds. Those who didn't receive the full amount due should make sure they follow the necessary steps to file a 2021 tax return and get their piece of the $1.8 trillion in relief that the government has offered.

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