Vermonters with children can claim money to help their families, under the expansion of the child tax credit. The first checks go out next week.
The child tax credit was expanded under the American Rescue Act. U.S. Rep. Peter Welch says it will benefit nearly 120,000 kids in the state. He was in Barre Tuesday to break it all down.
“This has the potential to provide some real security, economic security, to families that are just struggling with the everyday challenges of child rearing,” Welch said.
Beginning July 15, parents with a child under 6 will be eligible for monthly checks of $300. Those with children ages 6-17 will get $250 per child. Welch estimates that the tax credits will decrease child poverty in the U.S. by 50%. In Vermont, Capstone Community Action will help families get the check in hand.
“From paying rent, to putting food on the table of their choice, they may not have to visit a food shelf as often, making a car payment, that’s a car payment right there,” said Liz Scharf, director of Community Economic Development at Capstone. “Or splurging on the movies, this credit makes it that much easier for struggling families.”
Becky Coleman is eligible for the credit. She says first it will pay for some practical necessities, such as fixing her dryer and to make car repairs. In the future, she hopes it gives her flexibility to do more.
“I think its going to alleviate a lot of stress and make me feel like I can adequately provide for my family,” said Coleman. “Which of course is my number one priority always.”
Community members say, for the benefits to be lasting for low income families, the child tax credit needs to become permanent. Welch says the issue has garnered bipartisan support.
“This is not about who you voted for. It’s about what our kids need,” Welch said. “At the end of the day, I’m hopeful we’ll be able to make this permanent.”
To claim the credit, eligible families must complete a form on the IRS portal. https://www.irs.gov/credits-deductions/child-tax-credit-update-portal