Assessing the First Economic Impact Payment in the Older Population Using the Health and Retirement Study
We use data collected by the Health and Retirement Study in its 2020 wave to study awareness and impact of the Economic Impact Payment stimulus on different groups of older Americans during the coronavirus pandemic.
- The first Economic Impact Payment in Spring 2020 had the lowest impact on spending of any recent stimulus.
Social Security beneficiaries were more likely to report receipt, suggesting that distributing the payment through the Social Security disbursement system was an effective method.
- Social Security beneficiaries were more likely to spend the payment than others with similar incomes, perhaps because of confidence in Social Security income.
- Persons of color, those experiencing hardship due to the pandemic, and those of low net worth were most likely to use the EIP to reduce debt.
- For those with high net worth, the EIP mainly augmented their savings. Over a quarter of older households gave at least some of the payment to family members or charities.
Kézdi, Gábor, and David R. Weir. 2023. “Assessing the First Economic Impact Payment in the Older Population Using the Health and Retirement Study.” Ann Arbor, MI. University of Michigan Retirement and Disability Research Center (MRDRC) Working Paper; MRDRC WP 2023-454. https://mrdrc.isr.umich.edu/publications/papers/pdf/wp454.pdf
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Paper IDWP 2023-454