Here's What You Need to Know: The expanded child tax credit is not, strictly speaking, a “fourth stimulus check.”
The first payments from the expanded Child Tax Credit, which was brought into being by the American Rescue Plan Act earlier this year, will begin rolling out July 15, which is now less than a month away.
In order to let Americans know about the tax credit and how it works, the Biden Administration proclaimed June 21 “Child Tax Credit Awareness Day.”
“I have repeatedly said that America’s middle class deserves a tax cut, and we’re providing a significant tax cut to America’s working families with children through the largest-ever child tax credit,” President Biden said in a statement issued in connection with the Awareness Day.
The expanded child tax credit, according to a fact sheet on the website of the Veterans Administration, will go down as “the largest child tax credit ever.”
“The Child Tax Credit, part of the American Rescue Plan, is here to help families raising children make ends meet,” the fact sheet said. “Experts estimate the new Child Tax Credit has the potential to cut child poverty in half. We need your help to spread the word and raise awareness of this major tax relief for working families.”
More than 39 million households, according to the fact sheet, will be eligible to receive the credit. It also noted that Biden’s American Families Plan spending package has proposed extending the tax credit “for years and years to come”
“This tax cut will give our nation’s hardworking families with children a little more breathing room when it comes to putting food on the table, paying the bills, and making ends meet. Nearly every working family with children is going to feel this tax cut make a difference in their lives, and we need to spread the word so that all eligible families get the full credit,” Biden said in the statement.
The expanded child tax credit is not, strictly speaking, a “fourth stimulus check.” It is a separate type of payment from the stimulus checks that have been sent three times since the start of the pandemic, although it is sometimes described as such in media accounts.
There remains little chance of a fourth stimulus check passing this year, for a variety of reasons. The economy is no longer in the type of emergency condition that preceded the earlier stimulus rounds. There is little indication that there is enough support in Congress to pass such checks, the Biden Administration is not actively pushing for it, and the current negotiations going on in Congress, tied to infrastructure, do not have universal checks included as something that is on the table.
“Just as Americans came together in support of the American Rescue Plan, we’re asking Americans to come together to build support and awareness for this vital tax relief for families, to help us extend it for years to come, and to ensure we get all children in our nation’s low-income families signed up this year,” Biden said in the statement.
Stephen Silver, a technology writer for The National Interest, is a journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philly Voice, Philadelphia Weekly, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Living Life Fearless, Backstage magazine, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.
This article first appeared earlier this month.