How it has impacted American's bottom line and what's still available

Legislation enacted in 2020 and 2021 to help those affected by the coronavirus pandemic covered everything from the cost of vaccines to small business loans to direct payments to U.S. citizens and more. The amount of government assistance made available totals approximately $5.18 trillion to date.

While many COVID relief measures have expired, some remain in place. The following spells out how the relief efforts have impacted America's bottom line and where it all stands.

Key Takeaways

  • The price tag for COVID relief in the U.S. totals around $5.18 trillion.
  • Legislation falls into five main parts: Phase 1; Phase 2; Phase 3, which includes additional funding in a package known as Phase 3.5; Phase 4; and most recently, Phase 5.
  • These laws were designed to cover everything from the cost of vaccines to small business loans and direct payments to U.S. citizens, plus more.
  • The Consolidated Appropriations Act 2021, which contained $2.3 trillion in total spending, $900 billion of which was for COVID relief, was signed into law in late December 2020, extending some of the programs in the CARES Act that had expired.
  • The $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act was signed into law in March 2021.

COVID Relief Legislation Passed in 2020

Government assistance for COVID-19 all began with the passage of the $8.3 billion Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2020, enacted into law on March 6, 2020. The $192 billion Families First Coronavirus Response Act came next, on March 18, 2020.

With the passage and signing of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act into law on March 27, 2020, Congress and then-President Donald Trump set into motion a massive $1.7 trillion COVID-19 relief bill, which at the time was the largest economic rescue plan in U.S. history, however it would later be eclipsed.

An interim funding bill (known as the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act) added $483 billion to that total. Then, in December 2020, the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 was passed, adding another $900 billion in economic relief amid the ongoing fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Biden Adds to Relief in 2021

On January 20, 2021, his first day in office, President Joe Biden signed 17 executive actions, including one that extended the pause on student loan payment and interest relief, and another that extended the moratorium on foreclosures and evictions.

On February 16, 2021, the Biden administration announced that it was extending COVID-19 forbearance and foreclosure protections for homeowners again, through June 30, 2021. The forbearance protections were extended again, this time specifically for multifamily property owners whose tenants were protected from eviction, as announced by the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA). The $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 was signed into law on March 11, 2021, bringing the total of all COVID-19 relief bills to around $5.18 trillion.

On August 3, 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a new targeted eviction moratorium for areas of high or substantial COVID-19 transmission rates effective through October 3, 2021, previously set to expire on July 31, 2021. However, on August 26, 2021, the Supreme Court vacated the CDC order, effectively ending the CDC eviction moratorium.

On July 28, 2021, the FHFA announced protections for tenants of multifamily properties with loans backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. Regardless of whether the loan is in forbearance, landlords must give tenants a notice of 30 days before being forced to leave. At this point, you likely wonder how much of this and previous coronavirus legislation is still available and applies to you and your financial well-being. It turns out that these laws have impacted millions of Americans in a variety of ways. Read on to see where you fit in.

$931 billion

The amount of direct aid Americans received from the IRS and Treasury in the form of stimulus checks. Expanded unemployment benefits delivered Americans an additional $653 billion between March 2020 and September 2021.

Phases 1, 2, 3, 3.5, 4, and 5

There are five main parts to COVID-19 legislation. The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and Health Care Enhancement Act (lawmakers consider it “Phase 3.5”) didn’t create a new policy but refreshed funding for parts of Phase 3 that lapsed or slowed down when the money ran out. The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, passed into law at the end of 2020, also refreshed funding but expanded parts of Phase 3 that had expired or were in danger of expiring. The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 is the latest piece of legislation and one of the most ambitious.

  • Phase 1, H.R. 6074, the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2020, was enacted into law on March 6, 2020, and provided $8.3 billion in emergency funding for federal agencies to ensure that vaccines developed to fight the coronavirus are affordable, that impacted small businesses can qualify for Small Business Administration (SBA) Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs), and that Medicare recipients can consult with their providers by telephone or teleconference, if necessary or desired.
  • Phase 2, H.R. 6201, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, became law on March 18, 2020. This package, expected to cost $192 billion over the next decade, included provisions for paid sick leave, free coronavirus testing, expanded food assistance, additional unemployment benefits, and requirements that employers provide additional protection for healthcare workers.
  • Phase 3, H.R. 748, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, signed into law on March 27, 2020, came in at a massive $1.7 trillion. The legislation provided direct payments to individual taxpayers and their dependents, a huge expansion of unemployment benefits, student loan forbearance, and much more.
  • Phase 3.5, H.R. 266, the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act, signed into law on April 24, 2020, provided interim funding for parts of the CARES Act. Specifically, Phase 3.5 restarted the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and EIDL lending programs that ran out of money on April 16, 2020, and refreshed funding for hospitals, healthcare providers, and coronavirus testing provided for in Phase 3. The bill had a total cost of $483 billion.
  • Phase 4, H.R. 133, the Consolidated Appropriations Act (CAA), 2021, signed into law on Dec. 27, 2020, provided $900 billion in COVID-19-related relief for individuals, businesses, healthcare providers, and tribal and local governments.
  • Phase 5, H.R. 1319, the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, signed into law by President Biden on March 11, 2021, allocated $1.9 trillion in funding for the third round of direct payments to taxpayers, additional unemployment funding, money for states and municipalities, and more.

As part of the relief efforts, states were allocated federal funds and given some flexibility to use them to aid residents as they see fit. Rhode Island, for example, launched a website to post the proposals it’s receiving for spending the $1.1 billion in federal funds it has been allocated. Proposals include affordable housing and bonuses for childcare workers. If you are struggling financially due to the pandemic, check to see if the state in which you reside has resources available.

Impact on Americans' Finances

Let’s take a look at some of the provisions included in these six bills.

Free vaccines (Phases 1, 3, 4, and 5)

H.R. 6074 provided that “vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics” funded by this law will be “affordable.” While the definition of “affordable” is unclear, there was a commitment on the part of the government to ensure no price gouging when it comes to coronavirus treatment.

The CARES Act further declared that access to testing and any future vaccine will be available “without cost-sharing.” In other words, the vaccine and testing to find out if you have coronavirus are free.

The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 provided for the purchase of vaccines and for vaccine distribution. It also earmarked funds to assist states with their testing programs.

Finally, the American Rescue Plan provided the following funding:

  • $7.5 billion went to the CDC for vaccine activities, including a supplemental funding opportunity for state, locality, and territory vaccine distribution grants from the December COVID-19 relief package based on entities receiving the higher of the two distribution formulas, as well as clarified use of standards for data and data sharing.
  • Required the state Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) to cover vaccines and COVID-19 treatment without any cost-sharing and extended the period of this policy to one year after the end of the public health emergency.
  • Increased the Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP) to 100% for vaccine costs during this period.
  • $50 billion was appropriated to the Disaster Relief Fund for COVID-19 and other disaster assistance under the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The assistance is meant to bolster vaccine rollout efforts under FEMA and provide assistance to state and local governments at 100% federal cost-share.
  • $100 million via Emergency Management Performance Grants to state and local emergency management agencies to help communities address COVID-19 and facilitate vaccine rollout.

Small business relief (Phases 1, 3, 3.5, 4, and 5)

The first phase of COVID-19 relief established a $20 million Disaster Loans Program Account to provide money to small business owners in the form of low-cost SBA loans to help overcome the economic impact of COVID-19 on their business. Needless to say, this affected employees as well, since a closed business has no employees.

The CARES Act offered $349 billion for loans to small businesses known as the Paycheck Protection Program, and allowed them to defer paying payroll taxes so they could continue paying employees. Businesses with 500 or fewer employees could receive a Small Business Interruption Loan so long as they continued to pay workers. The loan could be used to cover 100% of eight weeks of payroll. The law called for the loans to be forgiven if the money was used to retain workers or cover basic operational expenses.

Phase 3.5 added $321 billion to the Small Business Interruption Loan program, also—and better—known as the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). At least $60 billion of that amount was reserved for small lenders. Phase 3.5 also added $60 billion in new funding to the EIDL program—$50 billion for loans and $10 billion to refresh the forgivable loan advance of up to $10,000 per recipient.

In Phase 4, $325 billion was dedicated to small-business aid, including more than $284 billion to reopen the PPP, which had stopped accepting applications for the first round of forgivable loans in August 2020. As under the CARES Act, the Consolidated Appropriations Act reopened PPP and granted first-time applicants with fewer than 500 employees forgivable loans of up to $2 million to cover payroll, rent, and utilities.

The PPP was available to all qualifying businesses, including those that had previously applied and received funding in the first round, provided that they had 300 or fewer employees, had used the full amount of their first PPP loan, and could show a 25% gross revenue decline in any 2020 quarter compared with the same 2019 quarter.

The Consolidated Appropriations Act specifically designated $16 billion for small businesses in low-income and minority communities, and $15 billion for live venues, independent movie theaters, and cultural institutions. Businesses that received PPP loans were able to deduct expenses associated with those loans, overturning a Treasury Department decision denying such deductions in the wake of the CARES Act.

The American Rescue Plan addressed the economic effects of COVID-19 by providing aid to households, small businesses, nonprofits, and industries such as tourism and hospitality. Specifically, the bill provided:

  • $7.25 billion for PPP forgivable loans
  • $15 billion for targeted EIDL advance payments
  • Funds to businesses in low-income communities with no more than 10 employees
  • $28.6 billion for restaurants, bars, and other eligible food and drink providers
  • Grants for pandemic-related revenue losses up to $10 million per entity, or $5 million per physical location
  • $1.25 billion for shuttered venue operators
  • $1.25 billion to create a “community navigator” pilot program to increase participation in COVID-19 relief programs

The PPP Extension Act of 2021, signed into law on March 30, 2021, extended the PPP until May 31, 2021, and the PPP loan-covered period to June 30, 2021. The law also gave the SBA an extra 30 days, until June 30, 2021, to process the additional applications that were still pending.

Impact on Your Health and Well-Being

Medicare telehealth waiver (Phase 1)

A provision in the first relief bill required Medicare to allow clients to confer with medical professionals by phone, including FaceTime, Skype, and other telehealth services, even if they didn’t meet the previous requirement of living in a rural area or having some other qualifying condition.

Medicare has extended telehealth coverage multiple times. It is currently set to run through the end of 2024.

HSAs used for telehealth and OTC products (Phases 3 and 5)

The CARES Act provided that health savings accounts (HSAs) paired with high-deductible health plans (HDHPs) can offer pre-deductible coverage for telehealth and other types of remote services. It also extended the use of HSAs to nonprescription over-the-counter (OTC) medicines and certain menstrual care products.

The American Rescue Plan provided $14.432 billion for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to provide healthcare services and related support to eligible veterans, including funding for the sustainment of CARES Act–supported staffing and service-level expansions.

Paid sick leave (Phases 2, 4, and 5)

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act required that your employer provide you with two weeks of paid sick leave if you are isolated due to COVID-19, have been advised to self-quarantine, are experiencing symptoms and seeking medical help, or are caring for someone under quarantine. You could get up to 12 weeks of paid leave if you are caring for a child who is home because school is closed or your childcare provider is not available because of coronavirus.

Phase 4 continued tax credits to support employers, under the Consolidated Appropriations Act, who offer paid sick leave during the COVID-19 pandemic, through March 31, 2021.

Phase 5 extended tax credits for employer-provided paid sick and family leave through September 30, 2021.

Free coronavirus testing (Phases 2, 3, 3.5, 4, and 5)

Phase 2 provided free Food and Drug Administration (FDA)–approved COVID-19 testing for everyone—even the uninsured. Testing, without deductibles or co-payments, included the cost of a trip to the doctor or emergency room to get the test. The legislation did not cover additional tests or treatment. That will be up to your current healthcare plan, including Medicare and Medicaid.

Phase 3 expanded on the provisions of Phase 2 to include testing provided by labs on an emergency basis, state-developed tests, and any other tests authorized by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

Phase 3.5 added $25 billion to the previous testing authorized by Phase 3.

Phase 4 provided $20 billion to purchase vaccines, as well as another $8.75 billion for distribution. It also set aside $27 billion to help states with their testing programs.

Phase 5 allocated $47.8 billion for coronavirus testing and tracing activities and prohibited states that extended a Medicaid option to provide testing and treatment from imposing cost-sharing.?

Expanded food assistance (Phases 2, 3, 4, and 5)

If you had food security issues, Phase 2 offered help. This included almost a billion dollars for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children Program (WIC). The bill also allocated $400 million for emergency food assistance, help for those with children eligible for free or reduced-price school lunches whose school is closed, and emergency Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, including a temporary suspension of the SNAP three-month time limit on funding adults under age 50 with no children.

Phase 3 provided $450 million for the Emergency Food Assistance Program, to supply food banks and provide operational assistance. An additional $200 million went to food assistance for Puerto Rico and other U.S. territories, plus $100 million for food distribution at American Indian reservations. Nearly $16 billion was added to SNAP, and another $8.8 billion was made available to Child Nutrition Programs.

The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021:

  • Offered nearly $82 billion in aid for K–12 schools and colleges
  • Provided $10 billion for childcare providers
  • Increased SNAP benefits by 15% for six months
  • Designated $45 billion for public transit systems
  • Designated $3.2 billion for expansion of broadband services
  • Designated $26 billion for nutrition services and agricultural and rural programs

The American Rescue Plan provided $1.434 billion for programs under the Older Americans Act, including $750 million for nutrition programs for 2021. The plan also:

  • Extended a 15% increase to monthly benefits under SNAP that were scheduled to lapse on June 30, 2021, through Sept. 30, 2021
  • Provided $1.15 billion to states for SNAP administration, as well as $1 billion for grants for nutrition assistance programs in U.S. territories
  • Provided $490 million to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to increase the amount of the cash value vouchers provided under WIC to up to $35 during the pandemic
  • Required the USDA to reimburse emergency shelters for meals provided to individuals younger than 25 who receive services there
  • Extended the Pandemic EBT program through any school year or summer period following a designated public health emergency

Protections for Healthcare Workers (Phases 2, 4, and 5)

If you are a healthcare worker, Phase 2 protected your medical and financial stability by the related bill H.R.6139, COVID-19 Health Care Worker Protection Act of 2020. It required the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to issue an Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) within 30 days that requires healthcare sector employers—or other employers designated to be at elevated risk—“to develop and implement a comprehensive infectious disease exposure control plan to protect healthcare workers from exposure to the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19.” In addition, OSHA must issue a permanent health and safety standard six months after the ETS has been issued.

Phase 4 allowed the use of “budgeted-to-actual” lost revenue calculation and transfer of “targeted distributions” within a health system. It also:

  • Added $3 billion to the Provider Relief Fund (PRF)
  • Eliminated $4 billion in Medicaid Disproportionate Share Hospital (DSH) cuts scheduled to go into effect from 2021 to 2023
  • Eliminated the 2% Medicare sequester cuts through March 2021
  • Lifted the cap on Medicare-funded physician residency positions in teaching hospitals effective in 2023
  • Established a new Rural Emergency Hospital Medicare designation
  • Provided approximately $3 billion in increased payments for physician services under the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule for 2021

Phase 5 reinforced the healthcare safety net with funding for rural health providers, community health centers, and skilled nursing facilities. It also modified Medicare and Medicaid, increased funding for behavioral health, and expanded access to individual health insurance coverage.

Expanded unemployment benefits (Phases 2, 3, 4, and 5)

Phase 2 provided nearly $1 billion in additional funding to states, to be used to process and pay unemployment insurance. Assistance was also available to provide additional payments for those who have exhausted their benefits.

Phase 3 provided an unprecedented boost in unemployment benefits, including $600 per week per worker for four months on top of state benefits. The stimulus package included an additional 13 weeks of extended benefits (for a total of 39 weeks), paid for by the federal government. The list of workers who qualified for unemployment benefits was expanded to include independent contractors, the self-employed, and gig economy workers.

The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 expanded unemployment benefits that were due to expire in late December 2020 and restarted the additional per-week, per-worker program. The $600 per-week benefit expired on July 31, 2020; the new benefit was for $300 per month and ran from Dec. 26, 2020, to March 14, 2021.

The American Rescue Plan:

  • Extended the expansions first created by the CARES Act through Sept. 6, 2021
  • Increased the total number of weeks of benefits available to individuals who cannot return to work safely from 50 to 79
  • Maintained the federal supplement at its current level of $300 a week for weeks beginning after March 14, 2021, and through Sept. 6, 2021
  • Provided 53 weeks of federal unemployment insurance (UI) benefits after state benefits end, up from 24 weeks
  • Exempted $10,200 of unemployment benefits received in 2020 from federal income taxes retroactively for individuals with incomes below $150,000. That amount was doubled for married couples filing jointly. If you filed your tax return early, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) stated that it would automatically make adjustments for the exempt amount

States could choose to conform to the federal exemption or require that all?taxes be paid. Several states did not conform to the federal exemption, but retained state laws that provided either full or partial unemployment compensation exclusions.

Direct payments to families (Phases 3, 4, and 5)

The CARES Act legislation directed the U.S. Treasury to send most U.S. adults a check (or direct deposit) of $1,200 ($2,400 for couples filing jointly). Taxpayers also received an additional $500 per child age 16 and younger. Individuals with an adjusted gross income (AGI) (based on 2018 or 2019 tax returns) of $75,000 ($150,000 for couples filing jointly, $112,500 for the head of household) or less received the full amount.

The direct payment was reduced by 5% for every dollar earned above the amounts listed above. Only individuals with an AGI of $99,000, couples who file jointly with an AGI of $198,000, or heads of household with an AGI of 136,500 received $0.

The Consolidated Appropriations Act directed payments of $600 per individual or $1,200 per couple. For individuals, income had to be $75,000 or under, and $150,000 or under for couples filing jointly. Head of household maximum income was $112,500.

The American Rescue Plan provided a final stimulus payment of $1,400 to people making $75,000 or less annually. Individuals with an AGI of $75,000 or less—and couples with AGIs of $150,000 or less—received the full amount. Each qualified dependent also received the full $1,400, regardless of age. Payments to individuals with AGIs over $75,000 were reduced until they disappeared entirely at $80,000 ($160,000 for couples).

If you were eligible and missed out on getting a stimulus payment, you have to wait for a Recovery Rebate Credit. You can claim this refundable tax credit when you file your 2021 tax return, and 2020 as well if you haven't filed for that year yet.

Suspension of student loan payments (Phases 3 and 5)

The U.S. Department of Education automatically suspended payments on direct student loans without penalty. After multiple extensions, interest will begin accruing on September 1st, 2023, and payments will be due again in October.

The American Rescue Plan further stipulated that any student loan forgiven or discharged from 2021 through 2025 will be tax-free.

The Supreme Court ruled in June 2023 that the Biden administration could not use the Higher Education Relief Opportunities for Students (HEROES) Act of 2003 in order to forgive student loan debt. Biden followed this ruling with the announcement of the Saving on a Valuable Education (SAVE) plan. This will reduce minimum payments for some borrowers and also reduce the number of years some borrowers must make payments before loans are forgiven. The new plan officially launched in August of 2023.

Biden also announced that the Department of Education would pursue an alternative plan to provide student debt relief, this time using the Higher Education Act as its basis.

Wages and benefits for airline workers (Phases 3, 4, and 5)

The CARES Act included $32 billion in grants to cover wages and benefits for workers employed by passenger airlines, cargo airlines, and contractors. Companies that accepted these funds and other assistance in the form of loans or loan guarantees were barred from making furloughs, pay cuts, or stock buybacks, or issuing dividends to investors through September 2020.

Phase 4 provided $16 billion in payroll support to airlines and airline contractors and required airlines to rehire previously furloughed employees and commit to refrain from conducting any further furloughs or pay reductions. This support ran through March 31, 2021. The act also included $2 billion in airport grants, to be used for costs related to operations, personnel, sanitation, and debt service payments.

The American Rescue Plan provided $8 billion for airports and airport concessions, with a caveat that those receiving funding must retain a minimum of 90% of personnel employed as of March 27, 2020, through Sept. 30, 2021. The U.S. Department of Transportation could issue a waiver if the airport is experiencing significant economic hardship or if the requirement has negative impacts on aviation safety or security.

Public health fund (Phases 3, 3.5, and 5)

The CARES Act created a $100 billion public health and social emergency fund designed to reimburse providers for expenses and lost revenues during the crisis. Most of the funds will go to hospitals, with the rest earmarked for doctors, nurses, suppliers, and others.

Phase 3.5 inserted an additional $75 billion into the public health fund, with the majority of that money going to hospitals. There was also an additional $25 billion for testing.

In total, the American Rescue Plan allocated billions for various activities aimed at improving public health and responding to COVID-19, including:

  • $47.8 billion for testing and tracing activities for COVID-19
  • $7.5 billion for vaccine activities at the CDC, including a supplemental funding opportunity for state, locality, and territory vaccine distribution grants from the December COVID-19 relief package based on entities receiving the higher of the two distribution formulas
  • $7.66 billion for state, local, and territorial public health departments to establish, expand, and sustain their public health workforce
  • $7.6 billion for community health centers
  • $1.5 billion for block grant programs under the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
  • $6.09 billion to the Indian Health Service
  • $800 million for the health workforce
  • $200 million to support COVID-19 infection control in skilled nursing facilities and $250 million for “strike teams” to assist skilled nursing facilities, with funding until one year after the end of the public health emergency and clarification that the HHS secretary must require Quality Improvement Organizations to provide support to skilled nursing facilities and add vaccination uptake support as part of required activities.

Protection against foreclosure and eviction (Phases 3, 4, and 5, and Biden executive order)

The CARES Act (Phase 3) codified temporary moratoriums against foreclosure for homeowners and against eviction for renters. Additionally, those experiencing financial hardship due to the coronavirus pandemic, can be granted forbearance on their federally-backed mortgage loans. And one of Biden's first executive orders extended the moratorium on foreclosures and evictions. Additionally, the Consolidated Appropriations Act (CAA), 2021 (Phase 4) helped by not making loan forgiveness that was part of a mortgage restructuring taxable.

The FHFA said on July 28, 2021, that all multifamily property owners with loans backed by either Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae must give tenants 30 days of notice before being required to vacate the property.

In addition to reinstating the eviction moratorium and mortgage forbearance, the American Rescue Plan (Phase 5) provides:

  • $21.55 billion for emergency rental assistance through Sept. 30, 2027
  • $5 billion in emergency housing vouchers through Sept. 30, 2030
  • $100 million for tribal housing
  • $100 million for rural housing
  • $5 billion to assist people experiencing homelessness

On June 24, 2021, the CDC announced it would extend the eviction moratorium to July 31, 2021, noting that this would be the final extension. Despite its previous final extension statement, the CDC issued a new targeted order on August 3, 2021, extending the eviction moratorium until October 3, 2021, only in areas of high transmission as determined by CDC mapping and data. The Supreme Court vacated the CDC order, however, effectively ending the eviction moratorium on August 26, 2021.

Special rules for retirement funds (Phase 3)

The CARES Act effectively waived the 10% tax penalty for early withdrawals from retirement funds if those withdrawals are related to the coronavirus. The waiver is retroactive to January 1, 2020. In addition, those who withdraw from retirement funds have up to three years to either pay the income tax due on the withdrawal (normally due the same year) or redeposit the funds withdrawn with no tax penalty.

IRS guidance expanded eligibility for individual retirement account (IRA) and 401(k) withdrawals up to $100,000 for people who started a job late, had a job offer rescinded, or were spouses with retirement accounts affected by COVID-19, in addition to those directly affected by the coronavirus.

Also, account owners subject to required minimum distributions (RMDs) from their retirement accounts did not have to take RMDs in 2020, to allow time for the funds to build up again.

Money market mutual funds guarantee (Phase 3)

Section 4015 of the CARES Act temporarily suspended the restrictions of the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008. The legislation permitted the temporary use of the Exchange Stabilization Fund to guarantee money market mutual funds. The guarantee was terminated on December 31, 2020.

How Much Has the U.S. Spent on COVID Relief?

The U.S. government allocated approximately $5.2 trillion for pandemic relief, though not all of that money was spent. As of September 2023, $4.31 trillion had been spent and $4.55 trillion is obligated to be spent.

What Financial Relief Is Still Available?

Among the types of relief still available are rent assistance and tax breaks on student loans that were forgiven. In addition, Medicare’s telehealth coverage has been extended through 2024. Check with your state to see what local programs are available.

What Can I Do If I Didn’t Get a Stimulus Check?

If you didn’t receive a stimulus check and were supposed to, you are eligible for a Recovery Rebate Credit, which is a refundable tax credit. You can claim it when filing your 2021 and/or 2020 tax returns.

Will I Get a Tax Break on Unemployment Income?

If you received unemployment in 2020, an amendment to the American Rescue Plan made $10,200 of unemployment compensation ($20,400 for married couples filing jointly) tax-free at the federal level for anyone earning less than $150,000. No such tax break was announced for tax years after 2020.

Article Sources
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  36. "Telehealth Policy Changes After the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency."

  37. U.S. Congress. "H.R. 6139 - COVID-19 Health Care Worker Protection Act of 2020."

  38. Internal Revenue Service. "IRS To Recalculate Taxes on Unemployment Benefits; Refunds To Start in May."

  39. H&R Block. "State Return Filing Update Due to Retroactive Federal Unemployment Compensation Exclusion."

  40. Internal Revenue Service. "Calculating the Economic Impact Payment."

  41. Internal Revenue Service. "Third Economic Impact Payment."

  42. Internal Revenue Service. “Recovery Rebate Credit.”

  43. Federal Student Aid. "COVID-19 Emergency Relief and Federal Student Aid."

  44. Supreme Court of the United States. "Biden, President of the United States, et al. v. Nebraska et al."

  45. The White House. “FACT SHEET: The Biden-?Harris Administration Launches the SAVE Plan, the Most Affordable Student Loan Repayment Plan Ever To Lower Monthly Payments for Millions of Borrowers.”

  46. U.S. Congress. "H.R.266 – Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act."

  47. U.S. Congress. "H.R.748 - CARES Act."

  48. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "CDC Director Extends the Eviction Moratorium for 30 Days."

  49. Internal Revenue Service. "Relief for Taxpayers Affected by COVID-19 Who Take Distributions or Loans From Retirement Plans."

  50. Pandemic Response Accountability Committee. "Pandemic Oversight."

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