Expanded assistance, material hardship, and helping others during the Covid-19 crisis

As the Covid-19 pandemic and unemployment persist, many people are at risk of long-term economic distress, though the impacts of the pandemic-induced recession are not spread equally. Using immersive interviews from the American Voices Project, our latest report documents experiences of hardship and explores attitudes toward the CARES Act. 

Key findings:

  • The Covid-19 pandemic exacerbated hardship for many of those already experiencing difficulties prior to the pandemic.
  • The CARES Act cushioned the blow for many who lost income due to the pandemic, but many still struggled to get by.
  • Some who were better off felt relief was unnecessary for them and could have been better directed to those most in need.
  • Those excluded from government support, due to either eligibility or access constraints, often turned to families and friends, took on debt, or limited their spending. Those who received inadequate government support frequently resorted to the same strategies.
  • Many respondents spoke positively of relief efforts, and expressed that additional, yet more targeted, support was needed. This may suggest a policy window for longer-term expansion of safety net programs.


Reference Information

Publication Date: 
April, 2021