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Stimulus Checks Totaled Over $850 Billion: See How That Money Was Spread Out

·3 min read
LPETTET / Getty Images/iStockphoto
LPETTET / Getty Images/iStockphoto

Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act


What Did The CARES Act Do?

Evgenia Parajanian / Getty Images/iStockphoto
Evgenia Parajanian / Getty Images/iStockphoto

Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021

PeopleImages / Getty Images/iStockphoto
PeopleImages / Getty Images/iStockphoto

What Did the Consolidate Appropriations Act Do?

LifestyleVisuals / Getty Images/iStockphoto
LifestyleVisuals / Getty Images/iStockphoto

American Rescue Plan

The third and final round of stimulus checks -- at least as of Nov. 23, 2021 -- was approved and passed into law on March 11, 2021. Known as the American Rescue Plan, this phase of the stimulus was the most generous of all, especially to individuals with qualifying children.

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CiydemImages / Getty Images/iStockphoto
CiydemImages / Getty Images/iStockphoto

What Did the American Rescue Plan Do?

Under the terms of the legislation, individuals were paid $1,400, or $2,800 per married couple, with an additional $1,400 per eligible child. Maximum income limits for the third stimulus check were as follows:

  • $80,000 for single taxpayers

  • $160,000 for joint filers

  • $120,000 for taxpayers filing as head of household

Phaseout levels began at $75,000, $150,000 and $112,500, respectively. As with other stimulus checks, phaseout amounts could vary depending on whether or not taxpayers had qualifying children.

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pcess609 / Getty Images/iStockphoto
pcess609 / Getty Images/iStockphoto

What Triggered the Need for Stimulus Checks?

Stimulus checks were promoted as a way to keep Americans afloat during unprecedented surges in unemployment and economic uncertainty. Between stay-at-home orders and forced closures of businesses, many Americans lost access to a regular paycheck. As referenced in The New York Times, an analysis of Census Bureau data seemed to indicate that the stimulus payments succeeded by improving Americans' ability to pay for basic needs while reducing anxiety and depression.

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Halfpoint /
Halfpoint /

Did Businesses Receive Any Stimulus Support?

While the three rounds of government stimulus checks were directed at individuals and their children, businesses were also provided with access to much-needed funds. On top of more traditional funding, such as SBA 7(a) loans, qualifying companies had access to two rounds of Paycheck Protection Program funding, which provided forgivable loans to help companies keep employees on the payroll. The Economic Injury Disaster Loan program was expanded to businesses across the country, offering low-rate, 30-year loans to companies in need of aid.

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Bill Oxford / Getty Images/iStockphoto
Bill Oxford / Getty Images/iStockphoto

Will There Be Additional Rounds of Stimulus Checks?

Whenever the government hands out money to businesses and/or individuals, there will always be those clamoring for more. Various additional stimulus plans have been proposed, including the suggestion of providing ongoing, monthly payments directly to individuals of as much as $2,000. However, as of November 2021, both the Biden administration and Congress have indicated no appetite for providing additional stimulus payments.

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BackyardProduction / Getty Images/iStockphoto
BackyardProduction / Getty Images/iStockphoto

How Much Did All of This Stimulus Cost?

By the end of all three rounds of stimulus, the U.S. government had provided over $850 billion in direct payments to taxpayers. The first round, the CARES Act, distributed $292 billion in payments, followed by $164 billion distributed under the Consolidated Appropriations Act. The final stimulus payments, made under the authorization of the American Rescue Plan, amounted to $411 billion.

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This article originally appeared on Stimulus Checks Totaled Over $850 Billion: See How That Money Was Spread Out

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