Navigating the Need for the Child Tax Credit and Family Security

Through Nikki hatch

Updated: 4 hours ago Posted: 4 hours ago

When Maria’s old Honda broke down, it not only hampered her freedom to secure seats. This ended his source of income as a DoorDash driver, a job that helped him pay for groceries, school supplies, and medical bills.

Fortunately, the Child tax credit (CTC), which was expanded by Congress in the US bailout, threw Maria the lifeline she needed. She used the monthly payments to repair the transmission and get back on the road to support her family. Now she is telling her friends and neighbors about the CTC so that no one misses this unprecedented relief for families.

When the CTC’s first monthly payment was first made in July, it immediately and dramatically reduced hardship for families. A Columbia University analysis found that low-income families who received this payment experienced a 43% drop in food insufficiency. In fact, according to a US Census Bureau Household Pulse Survey, most families spent their first payment on food, 47%, or covering childcare costs, nearly 10%.

Researchers believe that CTC has the potential to halve child poverty. It would become the biggest one-year drop in child poverty in US history. That’s why for the CTC to have such a significant impact on child poverty, all eligible families must register for the credit. The time has come and the time is running out.

Mark your calendars for November 15th; this is the last day families can register to receive CTC payments for this year.

What can we do before this crucial deadline to make history happen? Find families who haven’t yet filed their taxes or haven’t accessed credit and help them apply.

The US Treasury Department’s Office of Tax Analysis released data on children that appeared on Medicare forms but not on income tax returns. Data showed that up to 2.3 million children may not receive benefits because their families did not file income taxes in 2019 or 2020. In Alaska, for example, 7,726 children are at risk.

There are three things we can all do to make sure qualifying families receive the credit and take full advantage of the economic benefits: Talk to your friends and neighbors to make sure they know how to access the child tax credit. If you received a tax credit, tell others how the extra money helped your family. Ask churches, nonprofits, and community organizations to help educate eligible families about credit and provide practical support in navigating the process. Many people who need to apply will likely face barriers – from language barriers to technical skills. Finally, while Plan of President Biden’s American Families calls for this tax break to be extended for years to come, this is no guarantee. Let’s make sure we get the word out to families and communities to sign up now and show how badly this credit is needed.

As this is the first time that some have been eligible, it’s no surprise that a few misunderstandings prevent families from signing up. To be clear, receiving the CTC does not interfere with the social service benefits that an individual or family may receive, and anyone can enroll regardless of nationality as long as the child receiving the credit has an SSN. or an ITIN.

We know these efforts can lead to historic reductions in child poverty among communities of color. The benefits of this work could be felt for decades. The road to fairness is long, but it is time we got down to work to get there.

Nikki hatch is the Acting Regional Administrator for Region 10 of the Administration for Children and Families of the US Department of Health and Human Services.

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