But there is great news for eligible parents out there who are still struggling financially amid the ongoing pandemic. The Biden administration announced on Monday that nearly forty million American families will start receiving monthly direct cash payments on July 15 via the new child tax credits.
These new benefits are thanks to Biden’s massive $1.9 trillion legislation, which was able to expand child tax credits that generally allowed families to claim a credit of up to $2,000 for children under the age of seventeen. Amid the pandemic, they have been extended to even more families—and they are now eligible to claim as much as $3,600 per year for a child under the age of six and up to $3,000 for children between six and seventeen.
What this could potentially mean is that for a family headed by a couple earning less than $150,000 or an individual making under $75,000, they are now eligible to net a $250 or $300 payment each month.
The benefits will be deposited automatically in most families’ bank accounts for the rest of 2021. If the fifteenth falls on a holiday or a weekend, it will be deposited on the closest day to the usual pay date.
According to White House officials, the reach of the benefits will be expansive. They have estimated that households representing more than sixty-five million children, or nearly 90 percent of all children in the United States, will receive the payments via direct deposit, paper checks, or debit cards. About 80 percent of the payments will be completed via direct deposit.
There also has been plenty of chatter in Washington regarding lengthening the benefits for four more years. Last month, Biden proposed extending the child tax credit through 2025 in his nearly $2 trillion American Families Plan.
“With two parents, two kids, that’s $7,200 in the pockets you’re getting to help take care of your family,” Biden said in his address to Congress.
“And that will help more than sixty-five million children and help cut child care poverty in half, and we can afford it,” he added.
In addition, an average American family could save $14,800 a year on child care costs, according to the White House, as the plan proposes to cap such expenditures at 7 percent of a person’s income. Also, by giving more assistance to paying already highly expensive health insurance premiums, it could save the average family up to $50 each month.
“For our economy to fully recover from this pandemic, we must finally acknowledge that workers have families, and caregiving responsibilities are real,” said Rep. Richard Neal, who introduced a bill that would extend the child tax credit permanently.
Ethen Kim Lieser is a Minneapolis-based Science and Tech Editor who has held posts at Google, The Korea Herald, Lincoln Journal Star, AsianWeek, and Arirang TV. Follow or contact him on LinkedIn.