WASHINGTON - On Monday, the White House sought to raise awareness about the federal government’s new expanded child tax credit, which will start paying out monthly in July to families with children who are 17 years old and younger.
Vice President Kamala Harris spoke at a recreation center in Pittsburgh as part of a broader push to promote the program in partnership with churches, schools and other organizations. "When more families know about how they can get the relief, that is how we will be able to lift our children out of poverty," Harris said.
The Biden administration has launched a website with details for potential recipients. As part of President Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package, eligible families can receive as much as $3,600 for each child under the age of 6. The tax credit will be $3,000 annually per child between the ages of 6 and 17.
Child tax credit calculator
Parents can use a free calculator from Omni to see how much money they can expect to receive.
The American Rescue Plan temporarily raises the child tax credit, now at a maximum of $2,000, to as much as $3,600 per child annually.
The plan also expands the credit so it’s fully available to the poorest families. The COVID-19 legislation signed into law by Biden expanded the child tax credit, giving families up to $3,600 annually for each child under age 6 and as much as $3,000 for those up to 17.
Families could also opt to receive monthly payments – roughly $250 to $300 – instead of an annual lump sum.
The child tax credit explained
"This tax cut sends a clear and powerful message to American workers, working families with children: Help is here," Biden said in remarks at the White House last month. The White House has said that the credit could end up permanently changing the way the country deals with child poverty.
According to the Brookings Institute, the child tax credit was first written into law in 1997 under President Bill Clinton including a $500-per-child, non-refundable tax credit. Its passage into law was a means by which the federal government hoped to aid low-income families with children.
In 2001, Congress enacted the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act, which doubled the child tax credit at the time to $1,000, making it partly refundable.
Congress then passed the 2017 tax revision, expanding the credit to $2,000.
How do families qualify for the child tax credit?
According to the Joint Committee on Taxation of Congress, roughly 48 million households are expected to claim the child tax credit for 2020.
People can register for the program even if they did not fully file their taxes. The program is slated to expire after one year, though Biden has proposed extending it through 2025 with the ultimate goal of making it permanent.
The new credit will impact as many as 39 million American families who are set to receive the monthly payments on July 15.
The credit starts to phase out for individual parents earning more than $75,000 and couples making $150,000. The legislation also expands the credit to millions of families currently making too little to qualify for the full benefits.
The benefit is aimed at providing support to millions of families affected by the coronavirus pandemic, with parents forced to cut down on work or give up their jobs entirely to take care of children after losing access to child care.
The cost of the $3,000 child tax credit
A year-long expansion of the tax credit will cost about $109 billion, according to an analysis from the Joint Committee on Taxation, a nonpartisan congressional body, meaning that making it permanent could as much as $1 trillion over the next decade.
Democrats have embraced an analysis that found the proposal would cut child poverty among Black families by more than 50%, and by 45% overall. A separate survey by the U.S. Census Bureau found that about 13% of families with children said they sometimes or often did not have enough to eat in mid-January.
FOX Business and the Associated Press contributed to this story. It was reported from Los Angeles.