West Virginia Parents, Children Hurting Amid Cut to This Stimulus Check: For tens of millions of American parents, the enhanced child tax credit has helped put food on the table and pay for their children’s school supplies amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
From this past July to December, the federal government, directed under President Joe Biden’s massive $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, 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 mail to parents each month.
In short, these payments were considered by many to be an unofficial version of the fourth stimulus check and were indeed a lifesaver during trying times.
However, at December’s conclusion, these highly popular credits came to a screeching halt—thanks largely to the lack of support from West Virginia Democratic Senator Joe Manchin. If the Build Back Better Act, which aims to tack on another year of the monthly payments, had been passed, millions of families would have been in line to receive another round of CTC payments this week.
And it appears that many of those struggling families are based in West Virginia, the very state that Manchin is supposed to represent.
Vast Majority of WV Children Qualified for ‘Stimulus Check’
According to the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy (WVCBP), 93 percent of children in West Virginia—roughly three hundred fifty thousand in all—qualified for the enhanced credit. With those extra payments, fifty thousand of them were no longer under the poverty line.
“The checks aren’t coming on,” Kelly Allen, WVCBP executive director, told The Guardian. “Fifty thousand kids in West Virginia are at risk are dropping into deep poverty.”
She also dismissed rumors that parents were using the child tax credit to buy drugs, which Manchin has alluded to.
“Families know what they need. In some cases, that’s putting food on the tables. In some cases, that’s paying rent. In some cases, it’s allowing mom to stay home for a few months, or paying for childcare because mom needs to go to work,” Allen said.
No Stimulus Check Back to Minimum Wage Job
Queentia Ellis, a West Virginia single mother of three, told the news outlet that the monthly child tax credit payments “helped me pay my bills and buy things for my kids that they needed.”
Ellis, who is now enrolled in online college classes, admitted that she will likely have to return to a minimum-wage job without the enhanced credits. If it comes to that, she will again have to find child care that will cut even more into her paychecks.
“That takes a toll on the income, especially if you’re working an hourly minimum wage job,” she said. “I have to figure out what and how I’m going to go about making things possible. But where there’s a will there’s a way.”
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.