The Biden-Harris plan for COVID-19 relief contains a lot of good stuff tucked into it, like this: a child tax credit expansion that would lift millions of children out of poverty. The plan not only increases the amount of the tax credit, it ensures more families are able to get its full benefits.
There are currently 27 million kids whose families lose out on part of the child tax credit because their families don’t earn enough. Because their income taxes are lower than the amount they’d otherwise qualify for and the child credit is only partially refundable, they just … lose out. The Biden-Harris plan would get the money to the families who need it most (and the ones who need it less) in addition to raising it to $3,600 for children under 6 and $3,000 for children 6 to 17.
That “would lift 9.9 million children above or closer to the poverty line, including 2.3 million Black children, 4.1 million Latino children, and 441,000 Asian American children,” the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities’ Chuck Marr writes. “It also would lift 1.1 million children out of ‘deep poverty,’ raising their family incomes above 50 percent of the poverty line.”
At a time when as many as 12 million kids are going hungry because their families can’t afford enough food, that is beyond huge. Marr offers some examples of how the expanded child tax credit could help families:
- A single mother of a toddler, who earns $10,000 a year providing in-home care to older people (with work hours that fluctuate significantly from month to month), now receives a Child Tax Credit of $1,125. Under the Biden plan, she’d receive $3,600, a gain of $2,475.
- A single mother with a 4-year-old daughter and 8-year-old son, who is out of work for the year due to a health condition, now receives no Child Tax Credit at all, adding to the family’s financial insecurity. Under the Biden plan, she would receive the full Child Tax Credit of $3,600 for her daughter and $3,000 for her son to help with the children’s expenses.
This is a life-changing amount of money for many families. Congressional Democrats have repeatedly pushed for a child tax credit expansion, but an ambitious plan for expansion coming out of the White House is certainly something we haven’t seen in a while. (No, Ivanka Trump's plan doesn't count.) Some Senate Republicans have suggested they’d be open to an expansion, though they may have had in mind something more modest and targeted at people who are already getting the full benefits of the existing credit.