Before President Biden’s signed the American Rescue Plan, 27 million children did not receive the child tax credit as a result of low parental income. During the pandemic, child poverty reached an estimated high of 21.4% in August 2020 – up from 18.7% pre-pandemic. The National Academies of Sciences found that child poverty itself costs America between $800 billion and $1.1 trillion per year.
Right now, one-third of all children—23 million in total—do not receive the full value of the CTC because their parents make too little to qualify, and about half of all Black and Latinx children received only a partial CTC or no credit at all, according to the Center Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP). This next year, because the credit is fully refundable and available immediately to all eligible households, the CTC will not only support families previously left out but will cut overall child poverty by 45 percent—including by 52 percent for Black children, 45 percent for Hispanic children, 62 percent for Indigenous children, 37 percent for Asian American and Pacific Islanders children, and 39 percent for White children. The expansion of the Child Tax Credit will support 27 million American children and help hardworking parents build better lives for their families.
The prominent feature of the extension of the temporary increase in the Child Tax Credit in the American Rescue Plan includes an expanded CTC to $3600 a year ($300 a month) for each child younger than age 6 and $3000 a year ($250 a month) for children 6 through 17. CWLA has included the CTC as one of its “Hot Topics” for the May 12th virtual Hill Day.
In addition to making the CTC fully refundable and increasing the benefit level, additional modifications are necessary to ensure that these reforms live up to their promise of reducing hardship and racial disparities and advancing equity. The credit must be designed to help families meet their regular expenses, to be easily accessible, be monthly, and to support all children in need, including children of parents and families who are immigrants.
In July, American families who qualify for the child tax credit will start to receive it. Now is the time to make the child tax credit permanent and make it monthly. The best way to ensure that every eligible family gets the Child Tax Credit funding is to make sure they file taxes ahead of the upcoming deadline on May 17th and join CWLA in advocating to expand the Child Tax Credit permanently. We have the momentum in Congress!