May 6, 2020

What Is the Coronavirus Relief Fund? How Much Is Left in It?

On March 27, 2020, the president signed into law the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the third phase of legislation designed to lessen the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. One key part of the CARES Act is the Coronavirus Relief Fund, which provides $150 billion in direct federal fiscal support to governments in states, territories, and tribal areas to cover expenditures incurred due to the COVID-19 public health emergency. The bulk of Coronavirus Relief Fund assistance is allocated to state governments, but local governments with populations of 500,000 or more are also eligible to receive federal assistance; any direct assistance to local governments reduces the allocation made to that locality’s state government.

The $150 billion included in the Coronavirus Relief Fund is allocated to domestic governments in the following amounts:

  • $139 billion to the 50 state governments based on their respective populations measured by the Census Bureau in 2019. Each state will receive a minimum of $1.25 billion.

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  • $8 billion to governments in tribal areas based on each tribal area’s share of aggregate tribal expenditures in fiscal year 2019.
  • $3 billion to the territories of the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, and American Samoa, based on their respective shares of the total population of all U.S. territories.

As of May 5, 2020, the Treasury has disbursed 93 percent, or $140 billion, of the total $150 billion allocated in the Coronavirus Relief Fund.

Nearly two-thirds of the funding provided for state and local governments in the CARES Act has already been disbursed

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Related: Infographic: What's in the CARES Act? Here's a Summary


Image credit: Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images

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