The Biden administration announced on Monday that direct monthly payments to families with children would begin on July 15. The payments are child tax credit rebates — traditionally treated as tax refunds once a year — are part of the American Rescue Plan passed earlier this year.
Around 39 million families, accounting for 65 million children in the U.S., will receive direct payments from the IRS, through direct deposits, checks or debit cards. No action is required from parents to obtain the payments, which will be issued based on the tax information filed with the IRS.
“The American Rescue Plan is delivering critical tax relief to middle class and hard-pressed working families with children,” the White House said in a statement on Monday.
The child tax credit was raised this year, from $2,000 to $3,000 or $3,600, depending on a child’s age. But rather than have families wait until tax season to receive their rebates, the American Rescue Plan creates monthly payments, helping families with their cash flow.
Families can expect a $300 payment from the government for every child under the age of 6 in their household. For children ages 6 to 17, families will receive payments of $250 per child. The amount of the child tax credit will decrease on a sliding scale for individuals with children who earn more than $75,000 and for couples who earn more than $150,000 annually.
Payments will continue to be made from the IRS to families on the 15th of each month throughout the remainder of 2021.
There were some previous concerns that the IRS would not be able to implement the rebate payment program fast enough, as the legislation was just passed in March. But in late April, IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig said his agency would be ready to make payments in July, barring any significant problems in the system.
With the program set to end in December, however, President Joe Biden has pushed for it to be extended for at least 10 years within the American Rescue Plan his administration recently proposed.
“Congress must pass the American Families Plan to ensure that working families will be able to count on this relief for years to come,” the White House added in its statement on Monday.
Other Democrats have said it should be made a permanent fixture, including Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Connecticut), who described the payments being made to American families as a “lifeline to the middle class.”
The program “puts money in families’ pockets and it cuts all child poverty in half,” DeLauro added. “It provides children and their families with additional payments throughout the year that help them with the cost of food, child care, diapers, health care, clothing and taxes.”
Child poverty in the U.S. is indeed a major problem, as the nation’s rates are significantly higher than what other wealthy nations face across the globe, with around 4 in 10 children living in households struggling to afford basic needs. Child poverty also disproportionately affects marginalized families, making the rebate payments an issue of race and gender parity as well.
Whether extended temporarily or permanently, the plan to create payments in the future faces an uncertain future, as Republicans in both houses of Congress will likely attempt to obstruct the American Families Plan in any way they can.