Poorest Risk Missing Out on $13 Billion U.S. Child Benefits
A key part of President Joe Biden’s economic plan for families risks missing those Americans who need the most support, according to a new report.
While the households of 60 million children have already received the administration’s child tax credit, roughly 4 million or more are likely to fail to get the funds because they don’t appear on a prior tax return, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities said Wednesday. The total amount of unclaimed government funds may amount to $13 billion, the group estimated.
“It’s really hard to overstate how significant the child tax credit expansion is,” Kris Cox, deputy director of federal tax policy at CBPP in Washington, said by phone. “There is a key effort now to make sure that everyone who is eligible actually gets the credit.”
The government this month began issuing monthly payments to families -- in lieu of an annual tax refund -- of as much as $300 per child, as part of the $1.9 trillion Covid-19 aid package passed in March. The program is expected to reduce child poverty by more than 40%, and help families meet daily costs.
It expires at the end of the year, though Biden and Democrats aim to extend it until 2025 or longer.
The families who haven’t yet received child payments by check or direct deposit also didn’t receive other stimulus payments and have likely fallen into greater need, the CBPP researchers wrote. The best way to reach this group, which the IRS has traditionally struggled to find, is through local governments and nonprofit groups, state food-benefit agencies and local community organizations, according to the report.
Americans who are at risk of not receiving the benefit include immigrants, those with disabilities and those who are less tech-savvy or lack reliable internet. About 2.3 million of the kids don’t appear on a tax return and 1.6 million will be born this year and need to be added, according to the report.
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