Many Americans celebrated this week, as child tax credits began to hit mailboxes nationwide. In the past, only those who earned enough to owe income taxes were eligible for the credit, but that shifted with the Biden administration’s $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan passed by Congress in March. The change is long overdue.
According to The New York Times, the U.S. government offers less help with childrearing costs than almost every other developed country; in 2020, the tax credit for an electric car purchase was nearly four times the amount offered to new parents.
The pandemic relief package will provide qualifying families with monthly payments of $250 to $300 per child through the end of the year. The first installment, delivered Thursday, totaled $15 billion, according to NPR.
“This would be the largest ever one-year decrease in child poverty in the history of the United States of America,” Biden said. “Millions of children and their families, starting today, their lives are about to change for the better. And our country would be better off for it as well.”
Despite some Republicans’ arguments against it, the credit does not dissuade people from working. President Biden, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, and Congressional Democrats are pushing to make the tax policy change permanent, or at the very least extend it through 2025.
Around 15 million households – or 65 million children in low and middle-income families – will now receive the payments, which could reduce the nation’s child poverty rate by nearly half, according to the The Atlantic. However, an estimated four to eight million eligible children may miss out if a parent or guardian does not file on their behalf.