Guest Blog: Child Tax Credit is a ‘Godsend,” Says Mother of 3 Teens

(July 29, 2021) For many families, including my own, there is a need to prepare for the future on many levels. The past few years have really challenged us to be creative and practice self-preservation with our mental health, time, energy, and money. Not only are we facing unforeseen life events, but upcoming changes such as student loan repayments, ending eviction moratoriums, and additional unemployment benefits coming to an end are all looming. Families are about to have to make adjustments for the new school year. This means we have to start thinking about some things the virtual world made us forget: sports, school lunches, and activities.

Sometimes when you’re living paycheck to paycheck, working multiple jobs, and striving for stability, you just make due. Extra help like the expanded child tax credit, especially for families like mine that make just enough not to qualify for many forms of assistance, is a Godsend. This is historic relief for working families that provides advance payments of $3,600 (or $300 a month) for each child under age 6, and $3,000 (or $250) for each child ages 6-17. Started this month (July), payments will be disbursed over six months, with the second half of the credit coming when you file your taxes. Those funds will help take some of the guesswork out of the next few months and I’m truly grateful for that. I’m raising three teenagers in the 7th, 8th, and 9th grade. My grocery bill alone? Don’t even get me started! We do what we can to provide for our families and every little bit helps.

As I and many others think about how to keep our families healthy and happy, we can’t ignore that a few extra dollars is sometimes all we need to make more memories, save towards that new house or car, get old debts resolved to raise our credit, and many other uplifting events. This money fills in the gap for some and will be the first chance for others to get more focused on next life phases for their family members. Others may be inspired to use their extra money to invest in their community. We have the opportunity to make a positive impact on our families.

The extra funds from the child tax credit has helped me get serious about purchasing a new home for my family. We have outgrown our current space and this extra money is just what we need to be intentional about saving for our down payment and new furnishings. This time next year, I am confident that I will be turning keys to our new space! In the meantime, I can focus my budget on keeping my bills current while paying for my kids’ sports and activities, saving for our next big adventure, and giving allowances to my kids to teach them how to be responsible with their money.

For now, these funds may not be a permanent change or solution, but we can breathe a little easier knowing that we have some help through the expanded child tax credit.

More than 35 million families with 60 million children received the first child care tax credit payment from the federal government this month. The IRS calculates roughly $15 billion was sent, as part of the American Rescue Plan signed into law by President Biden in March. The act boosted the existing child tax credit to $3,000 from $2,000 and added a $600 bonus for kids under the age of 6 for the 2021 tax year. The credit is planned to stop in 2022, but there are calls to make it permanent. Learn more about the child care tax credit from the federal government here.

Anita Cobb of Lansing is the mother of three teenagers, and works as a professional aviation consultant.