In December 2020 and March 2021, the federal government passed two relief packages designed to assist those affected by the COVID-19 crisis. To gauge the impact of these programs on consumer well-being, the Consumer Finance Institute’s (CFI) COVID-19 Survey of Consumers included questions and detailed descriptions about the available programs in its first two surveys of 2021. The results showed that the larger program passed in March generated additional benefit to some struggling respondents but did not change the percentage of respondents who said they are struggling too much.

The greatest improvement in well-being was seen among people who report being financially stable but at risk of falling behind, with one out of three respondents (34.3 percent) saying they are doing OK in April, up from 29.0 percent in January. The share of all consumers who reported struggling enough that the relief would not help was basically unchanged between January (5.4 percent) and April (5.3 percent).