Americans agonize over $1,200 relief payments that won’t be enough

For Larrilou Carumba in San Francisco, the stimulus money will barely be a bridge. She’s been on unpaid furlough from her $26-an-hour housekeeping job at a four-star hotel since early March. She’s still paying contributions to her health-care plan while her union fights to keep those benefits in place.

“I have a lot of bills,” said Carumba, 47. She plans to use a chunk of the $2,200 check she received Wednesday to cover expenses, including on her $10,000 in credit-card debt.

She’s been offered deferrals on her car and credit-card payments, but that means she’ll owe more down the road, she said, and she wants to stay current to maintain a good credit rating so she can access student loans for her children.

Even for people still working, the specter of lost income will linger and potentially affect spending and saving habits well into the future.

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