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Millions of households have begun receiving economic impact payments from the U.S. government to help them cope with coronavirus-related financial stresses – and many have a clear picture of what they need the check for.
According to a new study from The Ascent, a majority of Americans are worried about their finances as the coronavirus pandemic shuts down large swaths of the U.S. economy – leaving tens of millions without a job.
More than 50 percent of people said they were losing income as a result of the crisis.
So what are people planning to do with the $1,200 or $2,400-plus checks from the government?
The vast majority of people are planning to put the money toward their bills (more than 35 percent).
About 25 percent of respondents planned to save the money, while around one in five Americans said they needed the money to buy household necessities. Five percent will use it to pay off credit card debt.
The top priority among Americans of all age groups was making enough money to survive on, followed by finding or keeping a job.
The number of people who cited saving for retirement as their top priority has plunged a full 50 percent since the pandemic broke out.
The economic impact payments are $1,200 per adult for those with adjusted gross incomes of up to $75,000. The threshold for married couples is $150,000 – they are eligible for $2,400 and $500 per child.
The IRS was expected to begin sending out paper checks to individuals this week, while direct deposits began last week.
The relief is intended to hold Americans over until the U.S. economy is up and running again – the federal government and state governments have made the decision to shut down many businesses in an attempt to limit human-to-human contact. As a result, many people have either found themselves without a job or with reduced hours.
More than 20 million Americans have filed unemployment claims since the lockdown began.