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Parents worry about the end of monthly child tax credit payments


Stormy Johnson worries about not having enough food if she doesn’t have the child tax credit.

Johnson (44) works as a student assistance specialist in Preston County Schools, Kingwood, West Virginia. Her two children Violet (14) and Tristan (13) are receiving the monthly enhanced child credit of $500. She is her sole parent.

The family has been able to stay afloat thanks to that money. Johnson was forced to purchase a new vehicle after her engine exploded. They had to relocate in the past year. Due to the increasing costs of vehicles and housing, Johnson now spends $1,400 per month, compared with last year.

She stated that $50 was left over after the child tax credit. That’s not including my car, house payment, insurance, or utilities. That’s before I purchase food or gas to work, and that includes any toiletries.

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If payments cease in January – as they’re slated to if Build Back Better isn’t passed – she will struggle to make ends meet each month.

“I’ll do what I’ve done in the past – I don’t eat so my kids can,” said Johnson.

Others are also feeling the same about the ending of expanded credit. Half of those getting the credit said it will be more difficult to meet their family’s basic needs without the benefit, and 36% said they will no longer be able to meet those needs, according to a recent survey by ParentsTogetherAction.

The child tax credit has been extended to $3,000 and $2,000 respectively. There is also an additional $600 available for children younger than 6. In monthly deposits, the first half of the payment was made.

Dec. 15, was the date of the final payment for this year. may be the final check.The Democrats included an extension for one year of the benefit in their House-passed Build back Better plan. However, the Senate must pass it by December 28 to ensure there is no money gap.

Natalie Foster co-chair and founder of the Economic Security Project, stated that “families will spend this holiday feeling very stressed about both the future of these checks” and the rise in the cost of living.

Losses will be suffered by the poorest of children

Many families have found the credit to be a lifeline during this pandemic.

Melissa Boyles (63), and her husband, Navaeh Boyles (16), are raising their granddaughter in Clarksburg. Bowles and her husband are unable to work because of injuries or illness. Instead, they collect disability.

Their goal was to raise a child with a fixed income, but they didn’t plan on doing so. The monthly payments have been a huge help — in addition to using the money for extra food, Boyles was able to buy Navaeh a secondhand dress to go to her school’s homecoming dance this fall.

Many people are out of work, and the disruption is still severe.

Amy Hanauer

The Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy’s executive director

Boyles stated that $250 is a significant amount. She also opposed the suggestion of adding work requirements for the benefit to be paid, as proposed by Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.).

“Why shouldn’t my granddaughter or any other person who is raising grandchildren be excluded from the program because they raised their children and no longer work or can’t work?” “Why should my granddaughter, or other people who are raising their grandchildren be disqualified from it because we raised our kids and no longer work/unable to work?” she stated.

According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 10 million children could fall into poverty without the credit. About 27 million children – mostly Black, Latino or from rural areas — will lose the benefit entirely if it is no longer fully refundable, part of the enhancement this year.

It will affect the lowest income households most. The Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy found that if credit was extended to 2022, the lowest 20% of households would see a 35% increase in income.

This is important for parents who work but aren’t able to return to pre-pandemic income or jobs.

Amy Hanauer (executive director, Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy) stated that while there has been strong job growth this year, the economy took a huge hit and many people are out of work and disruption is still widespread.  

Lafleur, aged 53, lost her position as a nanny in the pandemic. She has never been able to get back. She said that she is now helping others improve their credit but it has been difficult for her to earn a regular income. Covid is keeping her husband, a professional chef, from working fewer hours.

Lafleur and her family. She will be able to pay for rent, school supplies, clothing and other medical costs through her son’s tax credit.

Lafleur Duncan

They have used the $250 she received for their 14-year old son to buy new clothes, food and medication. According to her, she also set up a bank account and saved money for her son for college.

Duncan stated, “It was blocking a large hole and if it’s taken away it will hurt us tremendously.”

End of stability

Congress can pass Build Back better and continue the payments for another year. Families could see gaps in their payments, or receive checks after the Dec. 28 deadline.

Even families on better financial footing may be concerned about this benefit disappearing. Stefanie Cuene (45), lives in Scottsdale with her children aged seven and ten. Cuene works as a communications professional and doesn’t necessarily depend on monthly payments. However, she still relies on the money to support her two children.

It’s been a blessing to have this safety net. Cuene, who was divorcing in 2019, now lives off her only income. Cuene was also laid off twice in the pandemic and her savings were reduced by periods of unemployment.

She said that it made her realize how fast things can change from being all going smoothly to becoming indebted and not being capable of providing for my children anymore. Additionally, knowing she has money each month gives stability to her family.

Marla and Kelsie Dillard, left; Carlee Turner, right).

Marla Sead

The end of the benefit could mean some families losing the stability they had over the last six-months.

Marla Snead (52), said that the $250 she has received for Carlee her 14-year old daughter has been a blessing. Snead who is from Chesapeake in West Virginia, stated that she has spent the money on food, clothes, school supplies as well as gifts for her birthdays and Christmas.

Snead stated that the possibility of losing payments makes her anxious. She has the right things that she wants and needs. “I don’t want this to end.”

Snead, who is also fighting cancer, lives on Social Security benefits.

Snead stated, “I don’t want to have her look in her eyes and say no to her when she needs anything.”

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