As lawmakers debate whether to send financially struggling Americans another stimulus check, the majority of people say the second round of payments won't help keep them afloat for long, a new Bankrate survey finds.
While the vast majority, 71%, of Americans say the stimulus payments are important for their finances, 53% say the $600 checks are not enough to sustain them for even a single month. That includes the 1 in 6 Americans who say the sum is too small to make an impact on their finances at all.
Millions of Americans have been struggling for nearly a year as the coronavirus pandemic and ensuing economic turmoil continue unabated. While the $600 checks are welcome, many Americans have said they are simply not enough to make up for the lost income incurred over the past 10 months.
For those who will receive the second stimulus payment, 42% say the money will go toward their current monthly bills, while 32% are earmarking the funds for day-to-day essentials. About 30% say some will go toward savings, and a quarter of eligible Americans plan to use it to pay down debt.
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"Americans receiving stimulus payments overwhelmingly say this money is needed just to keep up or to batten down the hatches," Greg McBride, Bankrate's chief financial analyst, said in a statement.
The stimulus funds are especially important for lower earners, women, those without a four-year degree and Black and Hispanic workers, "underscoring the sharp divide between the haves and the have-nots," the survey finds.
Bankrate's report comes as new virus cases are surging. The country's daily death rate hit a new record Wednesday. At the same time, around 16 million Americans are currently collecting unemployment benefits.
Democrats have promised more aid for struggling families and businesses, with the party making $2,000 stimulus payments the center of the recent Georgia run-off election that gave it control of the Senate. President Joe Biden included a provision for a third round of checks in the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief plan he unveiled earlier this month, which would send an additional $1,400 to eligible taxpayers and their dependents.
However, with a slim majority in the Senate that includes Vice President Kamala Harris as tie-breaker, it is not clear what relief package Democrats will be able to pass in the coming weeks. Biden has also been insistent that his administration will be bipartisan, and many Republican lawmakers are not keen on additional payments.
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