Expanded child tax payments to start in 3 weeks

Expanded federal Child Tax Credit payments will begin July 15 and extend through December under the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, or Congress’ latest coronavirus relief stimulus package. File photo

In three weeks, millions of New Yorkers and Americans with children under age 18 can start to receive monthly payments as part of the federal child tax credit expanded in Congress’ most recent coronavirus relief package.

The nation’s Child Tax Credit program was expanded under the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 stimulus American Rescue Plan, which President Joe Biden, a Democrat, signed into law March 11.

“This is the largest anti-poverty measure in decades,” U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand said Wednesday afternoon in a virtual press conference about the tax credit.

The first child tax credit payments will be administered to low- and middle-income families starting July 15, and be sent monthly through December.

Families will receive monthly payments between $30 and $250 for each child ages 6 to 17 and up to $300 per month for children under the age of 6. The expanded child tax credit is expected to benefit about 39 million households, including more than 3.5 million children under the age of 18 in New York, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

The program could help cut the nation’s child poverty by more than 45%, Gillibrand said.

The federal stimulus package made all children under 18 eligible from the typical limit of a child under 17.

The American Rescue Plan increased the credits from $2,000 per child to $3,600 per child under age 6 and $3,000 per child under age 18.

Parents, for example, with two children under 6 are eligible for a yearly credit up to $7,200.

More than 90% of families with children will receive more than $4,300 through the program, according to tax Policy Center estimates.

“These expanded credits can make a real difference for families across New York and help pay for the bills that people need to run their families,” Gillibrand said. “Whether it’s a rent bill or a utility bill or food on the table, making sure kids have the clothes they need or extracurricular activities.”

Parents of a child who live in separate households will receive the credit based on how they file the child as a dependent on their income taxes.

New Yorkers who filed their 2019 or 2020 taxes with the IRS will automatically earn the child tax credit payments based on their filings.

Undocumented parents in the United States with children who have a Social Security number are eligible for the credit, which can be claimed by providing your Individual Taxpayer Identification Number.

“Even if you earned no income, you can still get the full credit,” Gillibrand said. “All told, these changes mean that 87% of New York’s children, more than 3.5 million children, are eligible for the child tax credit.”

The credit is available to families in Puerto Rico and all U.S. territories.

People who did not earn enough annual income to file taxes, or welcomed a new baby or child in 2021, need to update their information with the IRS online at childtaxcredit.gov.

“If you are eligible, you should get these payments,” the senator said. “Talk to your friends and neighbors — make sure they know about how to access this so we can make sure every family benefits. This is one of the greatest tools we have to fight child poverty in this country and I will keep fighting to make it permanent.”

New York families will receive $7.03 billion in total relief and an estimated 87% of children under 18 in the state will benefit.

State Democratic Party Chair Jay S. Jacobs released a statement about the expanded child tax credit Wednesday to raise awareness for the program.

“With the elections past us, it is important to remind all New Yorkers to help ensure that New York parents are aware about the American Rescue Plan’s historic expansion of the Child Tax Credit and how it will benefit their families,” Jacobs said. “...Thanks to President Biden and New York Democrats, the American Rescue Plan will soon deliver major tax relief for working families with children through a historic expansion of the Child Tax Credit, and families will start to see those checks in their mailboxes next month. Despite opposition from NY Republicans like [21st District U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik, the expanded child tax credit will lift 242,000 children out of poverty here in New York, help bolster financial security and spur economic growth in our state.”

Sen. Gillibrand would have supported the expanded tax credit regardless of the coronavirus pandemic, she said.

“What the COVID crisis did is shine a light on the systemic injustices and economic inequality in a way we’ve never understood or seen before so clearly,” Gillibrand added. “It’s because of the COVID crisis we are so aware of the systemic inequality in our economy, and this is a way to make sure we address child poverty that existed before COVID and was really exacerbated during COVID.”

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