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Stimulus Update: Child Tax Credit Is Commonly Used for Basic Needs by 91% of Low-Income Families


A recent report published by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities shows that 91% of households with incomes under $35,000 use their child tax credit payments to meet their most basic needs. In addition, this includes families from every state and the District of Columbia.

Census Bureau data covering July, August, and September of each year was used to conduct the research.

The child tax credit is available to families earning less than $35,000. By the end, 88% of the payment recipients spent their funds on the most basic necessities such as food, clothing, rent, and utility bills.

Participating individuals are also investing large amounts of money into education, according to the center. About 40% of low-income families use their child tax credit payments to pay for education expenses such as school supplies, tuition, after-school programs, and transportation. The credit was used in some cases to cover adults’ education costs, the report stated.

Read More: Fourth Stimulus Check: $1400 for Seniors Gets Strong Push, September Child Tax Credit Delayed

According to Claire Zippel, senior research analyst with the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, “Many of these households are receiving the full child tax credit for the first time thanks to the American Rescue Plan’s credit expansion.”

Under the Rescue Plan stimulus relief bill enacted last year, there was a temporary increase in credit for the first time, and in numerous ways as well. For beginners, anyone, regardless of tax status, is eligible. There is, however, an income limit for families to qualify.

This “halted a policy that prevented 27 million children from receiving the full credit because their parents earned too little or lacked earnings in a given year,” Zippel added.

“Congress should make it a top priority to ensure that the full credit remains permanently available to children in families with the lowest incomes,” she emphasized it as being responsible for 87% of the expansion’s anti-poverty impact.

Also, for the first time in years, half of the full benefit amount will be distributed in advance in monthly payments.

The monthly payments have already contributed significantly to the anti-poverty efforts Zippel cited.

Read More: Stimulus Check Update: $1,400 for Seniors and $600 for Grocery Store Workers

The CBPP reports that 3.5 million children were lifted out of poverty after just two payments in July and August.

The campaign to extend the credit and the advance payments, which will be stopped in the month of December, is currently gaining ground in Washington. Earlier this year, President Biden proposed extending the child tax credit by one year, but Democrats have rejected that proposal and called for a more permanent solution.

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