Richmond, VA — This weekend, reports across the commonwealth have made clear that President Biden’s expanded Child Tax Credit has already become a crucial lifeline for working families hard-hit by the pandemic. The expanded CTC began going out in July after being enacted as part of President Biden’s American Rescue Plan, which passed in March without the support of a single Republican in Congress.
After just one payment, the impact is already being felt. As the Free Lance-Star reported, parents are using the payment for child care, school clothes, and other necessities. Meanwhile, the Virginian-Pilot editorial board called the Child Tax Credit “a huge difference to Virginia families struggling to make it through these tough times.”
The Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star: “You’re Throwing Me a Rope”: Fredericksburg-area residents say new child tax credit is needed lifeline
Keith Wilhoit thought he’d be able to save money after moving to King George County from Alexandria.
His job in construction paid $19 per hour, and that $19 per hour was going to go a lot further in rural King George than it had in Northern Virginia.
Then his license was suspended. Without transportation, he had to take a job at a fast food restaurant close to home—which meant taking a $10 per hour pay cut.
It was a year before he was able to get his car back, a year during which an extra $300 per month—the amount a family can now receive per month per child under the age of 6 under the new expanded child tax credit—would have helped Wilhoit, a single father, provide for his daughter on a reduced income.
“If you have never been in a situation where you live paycheck to paycheck, you can’t understand what it is like,” Wilhoit said. “Three hundred dollars is not enough to raise a child for a month. But you’re throwing me a rope.”
More local families are getting that rope under the new child tax credit, which was expanded under the American Rescue Plan championed by President Joe Biden.
Also for the first time, the IRS is making half of the full credit available to families in advance of tax time. The first monthly payments were deposited in bank accounts beginning July 15.
The full expanded credit is as much as $3,600 for each child under 6 and $3,000 for those ages 6 to 17. In 2020, the full credit was $2,000 for each child under age 17 and in 2017, it was $1,000. [...]
But Wilhoit said $300 a month is not enough to become dependent on.
“No one is going to take this money and waste it,” he said.
Duane Edwards, who works as a truck driver and lives in Fredericksburg with his wife and two children, said he has always used the child tax credit to fix or improve things around his house or change the tires on his car—routine maintenance he wasn’t able to fit into his household budget.
“With the cost of living going up but wages not, let’s put money into programs that strengthen not just the market but back into the people,” said Edwards. “It will make the people work harder.”
People are still suffering from the economic effects of the pandemic, he said, and “this is something the country can do.”
“This country is too great for one emergency to be the end of you,” Edwards said. “We have come too far for that, and this credit will prevent that.”
The Virginian-Pilot & Daily Press Editorial Board: Editorial: Tax credits are boon to families
Of all the benefits offered by the American Rescue Plan, its increased child tax credit payments may do the most to help families get over the devastating effects of the pandemic.
The rescue plan, signed into law by President Joe Biden in March, is a broad package dedicating $1.9 trillion to various ways of helping Americans overcome COVID and recover from the havoc it has wreaked on the nation [...]
The money — $300 a month for each child under 6, and $250 for each child 6 to 17 — will keep coming every month through December.
Getting the money monthly rather than in a lump sum should be a boon for families dealing with increased costs or unemployment. They will get the money when they need it to keep things going, and they can count on it each month.
In Virginia, that extra $250 or $300 is expected to help the families of 1.59 million children in the commonwealth, according to the Biden administration. It should lift 85,000 children out of poverty. [...]
The expanded child tax credit is only for this year, but already there are efforts in the works to extend it.
The increased child tax credit is a great way to get money where it’s needed, when it’s needed. It should make a huge difference to Virginia families struggling to make it through these tough times.