As Congressional debate over the Build Back Better Act stretches into the holidays.
There is growing concern amongst economic experts and child advocacy groups that families will experience a critical delay in monthly Child Tax Credit payments.
December 15th is the last monthly check of 2021 as Congress stalls on the Build Back Better act and without action to pass the package before December 28, January’s checks will be delayed causing struggling families uncertainty in the new year.
“The monthly Child Tax Credit is a lifeline for families across the country,” said Natalie Foster, co-chair, and co-founder of the Economic Security Project. “If Congress doesn’t extend the program, they are allowing nearly 10 million children to slide back or deeper into poverty. Parents’ jobs are never done— we work around the clock. Congress should do the same in order to pass the Build Back Better Act immediately and make sure this historic investment in our communities continues to be support families can count on. We urge everyone to call their Senators and demand an immediate vote on the Build Back Better Act.”
Here are three things you need to know ahead of December 15, 2021:
- Currently, more than 65 million American children, or about 36 million households, receive the monthly Child Tax Credit. Without action from Congress to pass the Build Back Better Act and extend these payments, Dec. 15th could mark the last check families receive. – If the legislation is passed after Dec. 28, 2021, experts and the IRS warn that the agency may face technical hurdles restarting the program in a timely manner, resulting in delays or missing payments that struggling families can’t afford.
- According to the Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey, low-income families overwhelmingly spent their monthly checks to help pay for basic needs like groceries, utilities, and rent or mortgage payments. – 40% of low-income families used Child Tax Credit payments to cover education costs such as school books and supplies, tuition, after-school programs, and transportation to and from school.
- If Congress does not pass the Build Back Better Act and extend Child Tax Credit by the end of the year, almost ten million children risk slipping back below the poverty line or deeper into poverty. – The fully refundable Child Tax Credit is estimated to dramatically reduce child poverty in the United States with some estimates putting the reduction as high as 40%.
More resources on the Child Tax Credit can be found below:
- State-level Data: Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (December 3, 2021)
- Data by Congressional District: Joint Economic Committee Democrats (December 2, 2021)
- National Data: Census Bureau Household Pulse Survey (September 29 – October 11) Niskanen Center (August 2, 2021)