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$3,600 Stimulus Check Gone: Is the Child Tax Credit Really Dead?

Enhanced Child Tax Credit
Enhanced Child Tax Credit. Image Credit: Creative Commons.

Parents Learning to Adjust After Losing $3,600 Stimulus Check: For the first time in half a year, roughly thirty-six million American families can no longer count on the child tax credit — considered by many to be an unofficial version of the highly sought-after fourth stimulus check.

From this past July to December, the federal government, directed under President Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan passed last March, provided eligible parents as much as $3,600 for a child under the age of six and up to $3,000 for children between ages six and seventeen. Broken down, this all means that a $250 or a $300 payment for each child was direct deposited or sent off via traditional mail to parents each month.

Child Tax Credit: Manchin Says No

The Biden administration indeed had plans to extend the child tax credit for another twelve months via the Build Back Better legislation, but West Virginia Democratic Senator Joe Manchin has scuttled the proposal, saying that it would only discourage people from working and that any additional federal spending would fuel inflation that has already surged to a four-decade high.

If Build Back Better already had been approved, thirty-six million families would have been in line to receive the payments as early as this week—a fact that is still on the minds of many of the nation’s cash-strapped parents.

Ordinary Americans Suffering Without Child Tax Credit

One such individual is West Virginia retiree Andy Roberts, who relied on the $550 monthly checks to help raise his two young grandchildren, whom he and his wife adopted because the birth parents are currently recovering from drug addiction.

Roberts, who worked as an auto dealer for five decades, told The Associated Press that the child tax credits were a “godsend.”

“It’ll make you tighten up your belt, if you’ve got anything to tighten,” he said about losing out on the payments.

“You’re going to have to learn to adapt. You never really dreamed that everything would all of a sudden explode. You go down and get a package of hamburger and it’s $7, $8 a pound,” he continued.

Similar sentiments were shared by West Virginia hairdresser Chelsea Woody, a single mother who often works six days a week just to make ends meet.

“It truly helps out a lot. It’s an extra cushion, instead of me worrying how I’m going to pay a bill or if anything comes up,” she told the news agency.

“It’s helpful for a lot of people. It helps working families out because we struggle the most. I’m hardly home with my kid because I work all the time,” she added.

The monetary losses are surely a gut punch for the parents involved, but the real victims might be the nation’s low-income children, as recent studies and polls have revealed.

One analysis released by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities has warned that approximately ten million children could potentially fall back into poverty without an extension of the child tax credit.

“The enhanced tax credit has enabled parents across the country to pay for food, clothing, housing, and other basic necessities and is expected to lower the number of children experiencing poverty by more than 40 percent as compared to child poverty levels in the absence of the expansion,” the report’s authors wrote.

Ethen Kim Lieser is a Washington state-based Science and Tech Editor who has held posts at Google, The Korea Herald, Lincoln Journal Star, AsianWeek, and Arirang TV. Follow or contact him on LinkedIn.

Written By

Ethen Kim Lieser is a Washington state-based Science and Tech Editor who has held posts at Google, The Korea Herald, Lincoln Journal Star, AsianWeek, and Arirang TV.

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