WASHINGTON — The Treasury Department said Monday that 39 million families are set to receive monthly child payments beginning on July 15.
The payments are part of President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package, which expanded the child tax credit for one year and made it possible to pre-pay the benefits on a monthly basis. Nearly 88% of children are set to receive the benefits without their parents needing to take any additional action.
Qualified families will receive a payment of up to $300 per month for each child under 6 and up to $250 per month for children between the ages of 6 and 17. The child tax credit was previously capped at $2,000 and only paid out to families with income tax obligations after they filed with the IRS.
But for this year, couples earning $150,000 or less can receive the full payments on the 15th of each month, in most cases by direct deposit. The benefits total $3,600 annually for children under 6 and $3,000 for those who are older. The IRS will determine eligibility based on the 2019 and 2020 tax years, but people will also be able to update their status through an online portal. The administration is also setting up another online portal for non-filers who might be eligible for the child tax credit.
Antonya Hester says her family’s finances have been tough especially due to COVID making it harder to find work. She says the idea of a couple hundred more dollars a month is huge.
“With utility bills, as far as food, it would help out a lot,” Hester said.
The president has proposed an extension of the increased child tax credit through 2025 as part of his $1.8 trillion families plan. Outside analysts estimate that the payments could essentially halve child poverty. The expanded credits could cost roughly $100 billion a year.
“Every day, if it’s getting them back and forth to school, playing sports, trying to stay active, keeping them out of trouble … It’ll help out a lot. It’ll go a long way,” Hester said.
Jerome Levisy is the CEO of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Durham and Orange Counties and says this tax credit is going to have a positive impact on families.
“This year we can offer a summer camp and with our summer camp there are fees,” Levisy explained. “To attend summer camp this year is $300 for the entire camp, which is about the equivalent of once child tax credit check.”
He thinks most families they serve qualify for this credit.
“Childcare poverty is real. It is a serious issue,” Levisy said. “Most parents make a decision. ‘am I going to send my child to a professional service, or am I going to work?’ And they make decisions to go to work and keep their children at home. This year they wont have to make that decision.”
Levisy believes that the additional income will help give families more options on how they can offer a positive home environment.
“I think the economy and the people who suffered in the pandemic need help,” he said.