Child tax credit brings welcome relief

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LABELLE -- The pandemic has left some families struggling to pay bills. Food banks have been overwhelmed by demand. Small businesses have had to close. Many have lost their jobs.

The American Rescue Plan increased the Child Tax Credit from $2,000 per child to $3,000 per child for children over the age of 6 and from $2,000 to $3,600 for children under the age of 6, and raised the age limit from 16 to 17. All working families will get the full credit if they make up to $150,000 for a couple or $112,500 for a family with a single parent (also called Head of Household).

Advance Child Tax Credit payments began July 15, 2021. This portion of the American Rescue Plan will provide the largest Child Tax Credit ever.

According to the IRS, “To qualify for advance Child Tax Credit payments, you — and your spouse, if you filed a joint return — must have:

  • Filed a 2019 or 2020 tax return and claimed the Child Tax Credit on the return; or
  • Given us your information in 2020 to receive the Economic Impact Payment using the Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info Here tool; and
  • A main home in the United States for more than half the year (the 50 states and the District of Columbia) or file a joint return with a spouse who has a main home in the United States for more than half the year; and
  • A qualifying child who is under age 18 at the end of 2021 and who has a valid Social Security number; and
  • Made less than certain income limits.”

Local families reported automatically receiving the first of their monthly payments of $250 or $300 per child without having to take any action. The goal is to help all families succeed after the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This means that my children and I will not be food insecure these next few months,” said one LaBelle mom. “I am grateful that we can receive these payments this way. We have been relying on local food banks for the past 10 months after I lost my part time job.”

“I can go back to work now, because these payments will allow me to afford child care,” said a single father of three little ones, who lives in Fort Denaud and works in LaBelle. “It is a welcome relief, for sure.”

While some are grateful for this relief, and plan to buy groceries or pay for childcare, others are opting out of the payments for a lump sum later/

“We are opting out,” said a couple with teenage daughters who attend LaBelle High School. “We will put it aside for their college tuition.”

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