If the Child Tax Credit became permanent, then more than four million children could be lifted out of poverty, according to a new analysis released Monday.
The annual report from the Annie E.Casey Foundation uncovered that making the enhanced child tax credit permanent would alleviate poverty for millions of children whose families suffered from the financial impacts of the coronavirus pandemic. There are roughly twelve million children across the country who are in poverty.
The advocacy group also found that millions of students “are completing a second academic year disrupted by COVID-19, undermining academic performance and altering post-high school plans.”
“The improved child tax credit will be a real game-changer for millions of children because it will lift so many out of poverty. We will be able to reduce child poverty ... as a result of these kinds of improvements,” Michael Cassidy, director of policy reform and advocacy at the Annie E. Casey Foundation, told The Hill.
The report also found that there are major racial disparities regarding child poverty, as Black and Latino children would benefit the most if the child tax credit became permanent. Poverty impacted thirty-one percent of Africa American children and twenty-three percent of Latino children in 2019, while the national average stood at seventeen percent and only ten percent of white children experienced poverty.
“Nearly a decade of progress after the Great Recession could be erased by the COVID-19 pandemic unless policymakers act boldly to sustain the beginnings of a recovery,” the Annie E. Casey Foundation said in a statement.
The child tax credit was formed under President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion rescue package. The measure would send eligible families as much as $3,600 per child and offers money in the form of monthly payments.
Biden’s American Rescue Plan boosted the child tax credit from $2,000 to $3,000 for children between the ages of 6 and 17 and allowed parents with children under the age of 6 to qualify for $3,600. The money will be distributed by the IRS on a monthly basis, so parents will receive payments between $250 and $300 from July through December.
The IRS also launched an online tool last week for low-income families who qualify for the child tax credit but don’t normally file taxes. The non-filers tool asks users to register with their name, address, and Social Security numbers, and the agency will automatically determine their eligibility based on the provided information. No further action is needed to receive the child tax credit.
Several congressional Democrats have joined together in efforts to make the expanded child tax credit permanent, though Biden has only expressed support in extending the measure through 2025.
Rachel Bucchino is a reporter at the National Interest. Her work has appeared in The Washington Post, U.S. News & World Report, and The Hill.