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Policy 101: The Strengthened Child Tax Credit Is Here to Cut Child Poverty in Half

By prioritizing support for households with very low annual income, this significant investment by Congress and the President is expected to cut child poverty in half.

July 14, 2021 | By Jeff Kleen, Senior Policy Advisor

Holly works part-time and her husband has full-time work at an area hospital, but they’re still living paycheck to paycheck. Her family visits a local food bank to help fill in the gaps.”

As the father of two adult children, I know the challenges that parents face even in the best of times. So it’s been with deep respect and awe that I’ve watched parents with children at home tackle the tremendous difficulties of the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic fallout. Millions of parents across the country have shown strength and resiliency while balancing the roles of provider, caregiver, teacher, coach, and more through unprecedented circumstances.

Poverty and hunger intensify the challenges that parents face. Even before the pandemic, almost 11 million children in the United States lived in households that faced hunger. This year, Feeding America projects that 13 million kids may not have enough to eat. Studies have clearly shown that children who experience hunger can suffer negative health consequences over their lifetimes. Fortunately, food assistance programs — like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) — help ensure families have the food they need to be healthy and thrive.

Tax credits also play a significant role in bolstering the finances of lower-income households, providing critical support to help pay for essentials like food, housing, transportation, and health care.

In March, Congress strengthened the Child Tax Credit (CTC) by both increasing its value and expanding its availability to millions of parents who are struggling to make ends meet. By prioritizing support for households with very low annual income, this significant investment by Congress and the President is expected to cut child poverty in half.

Key highlights of the expanded Child Tax Credit:

  • The value of the CTC is now $3,600 per year for each child up to age 6 and $3,000 per year for children ages 6-17.
  • Instead of waiting until tax time to receive their credit, eligible parents can receive monthly advance payments beginning this month and continuing through December 2021.
  • Any remaining tax benefit not received through the monthly installments will be paid when tax returns are filed in the spring.

Taxpayers can access helpful resources from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to learn more about the Child Tax Credit, including eligibility thresholds, benefit amounts, and how to receive advance payments.

The enhanced provisions of the Child Tax Credit were enacted on a temporary basis and are set to expire on December 31, 2021. The Feeding America network of 200 food banks and 60,000 partner food distribution organizations calls on the Biden Administration and Congress to make the expanded Child Tax Credit permanent. Doing so will improve the food security of millions of families and strengthen all of our communities.

Take action with us: Contact your Members of Congress today and tell them every child should have the food they need for a healthy and bright future. We simply cannot turn our backs on a tool that cuts child poverty in half.  

The strengthened #ChildTaxCredit is here to cut child poverty *in half*. @hunger breaks down how the expanded CTC will make a difference for millions of families facing hunger — & how Congress can act to make this new investment permanent: bit.ly/3i2QFpe