Here’s a look at some programs designed to help individuals and businesses recover financially from the pandemic. Some ended as required by law, and others ran out of money and are no longer accepting applications.
Part of our mission here at the PRAC is to help the public and policymakers understand how relief dollars have been spent across more than 400 different programs. While many still have money to spend, some have ended, either running out of the money that Congress authorized or hitting deadlines required by law.
Paycheck Protection Program
The $800 billion Paycheck Protection Program issued 11.5 million loans to help businesses continue paying their employees during the pandemic. It was a massive program, and in its first two weeks it issued an average of $25 billion a day in loans. Congress added funds to the program multiple times over the course of a year, but the program stopped accepting applications on May 31, 2021 (as required by the American Rescue Plan Act). Borrowers can still apply to have their loans forgiven, and 9.2 million have already done so.
Restaurant Revitalization Fund
Another relief program for small businesses also ran out of money in May 2021. At the time it stopped accepting applications, the Restaurant Revitalization Fund issued more than 100,000 loans for $28.6 billion. The program provided restaurants with forgivable loans to offset revenue losses up to $10 million. Unlike the Paycheck Protection Program, the Restaurant Revitalization Fund did not receive additional funding.
Shuttered Venues Operator Grant
In August 2021, the Shuttered Venues Operator Grant program stopped accepting applications. Concert halls, cinemas, and other entertainment venues could receive grants up to $10 million from the program. More than 12,600 recipients got loans totaling $13 billion, and like the Restaurant Revitalization Fund, the program was not extended.
Unemployment Insurance Programs
In September 2021, the three new unemployment insurance programs created by the federal government all stopped paying out benefits. The programs expanded the pool of eligible workers (to gig and self-employed workers), extended the duration of time people could claim benefits, and increased the weekly benefit amount. Each state was responsible for administering the benefits, and individuals received more than $670 billion in benefits.
On December 31, 2021, three different programs effectively ended.
Economic Impact Payments
The deadline for the IRS to send the last round of Economic Impact Payments passed. Congress authorized the IRS to issue three rounds of payments to help provide direct financial relief to households during the pandemic. The amount of each payment varied between the rounds, and was based on income, filing status, and the number of dependents. The most recent data available shows that more than 472 million payments totaling $803 billion were sent.
Economic Injury Disaster Loan
The Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program stopped accepting new applications. The low-interest loans of up to $2 million help businesses pay for operating expenses such as payroll, rent/mortgage, and utilities. So far, the program has approved 3.8 million loans for more than $320 billion.
Emergency Broadband Benefit
Lastly, the Emergency Broadband Benefit program ended, but in name only. In November 2021, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act replaced the program with a longer-term program called the Affordable Connectivity Program. It gives eligible households a monthly discount on their internet service and devices, such as laptops. The program has enrolled 9 million households and provided more than $1.4 billion in financial support.