In March, Congress approved the spending of trillions of dollars to address the looming economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 health pandemic. The largest approved legislation was the $2.7 trillion CARES Act, approved on March 27. To continue the country’s economic support, three additional pieces of legislation were passed, bringing the total approved spending to over $3.6 trillion.
So, how much of the approved pandemic relief money has been spent so far and what is still waiting to be sent out?
What’s been spent so far?
Here is what the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget estimates has been spent so far:
Stimulus money for individuals
One of the main goals of the stimulus package was to get money directly into the hands of Americans to make up for loss of income or help with bills and groceries. Nearly $270 billion was sent directly to individuals through checks, debit cards, or direct deposit as part of the Economic Impact Payment program. According to the group, more than 88% of the approved funds in this category have been disbursed.
During the course of the pandemic, more than 45 million people have filed unemployment claims. Congress approved adding $600 per week for each person collecting unemployment to continue to support individuals during the pandemic. According to the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, $90 billion has been spent for that expansion. Congress also approved $35 billion in unemployment benefits for freelance and gig workers who are not traditionally qualified for unemployment benefits. Currently, close to $20 billion of that money has been spent.
The stimulus package focuses primarily on households and businesses, but other sectors are still receiving money:
- $77 billion has been sent to hospitals with another $80 billion targeted for other health-related spending.
- $150 billion has been sent to State and local governments to support pandemic-related costs.
What money is still waiting to be spent?
Most of the money that is waiting to be spent is already allocated to the approved programs discussed above including:
Stimulus money for individuals
About 11% of individuals are still owed money from the guaranteed stimulus package.
The government plans to keep paying the additional $600 a week for unemployment benefits until July 31; it has about $86 billion left to do so.
Congress has authorized separate spending for unemployment benefits that is meant to last the rest of the year, adding 13 weeks of pay, beyond what states offer.That equals another $50 billion that hasn't been spent yet.
It’s estimated that around $150 billion of the approved money for small businesses remains available. US census data shows that many business owners who wanted loans were able to receive them, but there has been some confusion about the loans available which may have dissuaded some business owners.
Payroll tax breaks
The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget estimates that current approved legislation will provide almost $650 billion in tax breaks. The majority of these tax breaks haven't been taken advantage of yet.
Congress also authorized the transfer of $500 billion to the Federal Reserve to design lending programs for struggling companies. However, most of the programs have not launched yet as the Federal Reserve continues to refine the rules and regulations.
Schools, students, hospitals, and other affected sectors are all expected to receive payouts, but much of that money is still trickling down. Including for:
- K-12 schools: money has been disbursed through the Department of Education and is still making its way to local districts.
- Farmers: Relief money is owed to farmers from the Department of Agriculture.
What happens next?
Stimulus money continues to be spent in the hopes that the economy will bounce back from the economic effects from the COVID-19 pandemic. Still lawmakers continue to debate additional relief bills, including the proposed HEROES Act which would approve $3 trillion more in spending if approved.
At Up to Us, we continue to monitor the economic impacts from COVID-19 to keep you informed.