Brihanna Sims drives a bus for children to go to their school. Every summer, she has less work. It is hard to buy things for her 7-year-old daughter with the money she earns when there is less work.
In 2020, COVID-19 meant fewer routes and more strain. Sims got the Child Tax Credit before this year. The monthly payments were small, but with the bigger sum from the expanded Child Tax Credit, it was a “safety blanket” for Sims and her daughter Addilynn.
“She does not need to see me worry about how much money I make. Will we make enough? Will we have sufficient money to pay for things? What will happen?”
Under the American Rescue Plan, 39 million families are eligible for the expanded Child Tax Credit. But this program will end at the end of this year. President Joe Biden wanted to extend it through 2025, but Democrats may only extend it one year because they want to cut costs and because moderates do not want more social spending.
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Emma Mehrabi, the director of Poverty Policy at the Children’s Defense Fund, said that monthly payments had benefitted children and adults. They have helped with rent and groceries. They have also helped people start an account to save money.
“They have never had this type of monthly income before. This has given them a recognize of security, relief, and joy because they know what to expect every month,” said Mehrabi.
Mehrabi also said that monthly payments, not just the tax season payouts, can make a big difference in people’s lives.
“That can mean something to someone who has felt disillusioned and fearful of the government,” Mehrabi said.
The first Child Tax Credit payment lifted 3 million children out of poverty in June and July.
Kris Cox said the U.S. could get up to speed with other nations on this issue.
“Many other countries have child allowances that recognize that parents have financial obligations. These are for raising children.”
When children grow up in homes where their parents earn more money, they are healthier and do better in school. They also earn more as adults. This is so important for children to have a strong start in life.
Sims said she is being realistic and planning for what will happen if the Child Tax Credit payments disappear.
She also volunteers for a coalition in Minnesota called the Barbershops and Black Congregation Cooperative. They work to inform people about political figures and policies, including the Child Tax Credit.
Right now, I am trying to get ready for things to go back to the way they were before. It is hard because I don’t have as much money and can’t buy many things that I want. But maybe this will change.