Recovery Act Provided $3 billion in Direct Benefits for State Residents
As we mark the 18-month anniversary of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act,
most people recognize that the Act has funded “shovel-ready” projects that have helped
improve infrastructure and public buildings. But it’s a well-kept secret that a large portion
of the stimulus dollars went straight into the pockets of families and unemployed workers
in the form of direct benefits.
A new analysis by the Wisconsin Budget Project finds that six types of direct benefits
provided by the Act generated more than $3 billion for Wisconsin residents between
February 2009 and May 2010. Wisconsin residents have received an average of $532 in
direct benefits per person.
The programs and the amounts allocated in Wisconsin are:
• the Making Work Pay tax credit for workers – $1,547 million;
• additional weeks of jobless benefits for the long-term unemployed – $683 million;
• an additional $25 per week of jobless benefits – $324 million;
• a one-time “Economic Recovery Payment” to many elderly people, veterans and
people with disabilities – $254 million;
• increased FoodShare benefits – $162 million; and
• health insurance premium assistance – $54 million.