Child tax credit payments – the plan to send checks to parents

WASHINGTON D.C. – For much of the last year, Congress has debated the size of stimulus payment checks meant to boost the economy and help the hardest-hit Americans pay down their bills. Now, a provision in the stimulus package being hammered out on Capitol Hill could result in regular checks for parents starting later this year.

Stimulus Calculator: Find out if you qualify 

Details on exactly how frequently the checks would be distributed are not yet finalized, but here’s what we do know:

  • Child tax credits are not new, parents have previously received the benefits at tax-filing time.
  • For this year only, Democrats have proposed increasing the benefit from $2,000 per child to $3,000 per child. Parents of children under age 6 would be eligible for an even larger $3,600 total credit.
  • The plan would also include $3,000 benefits to the parents of 17-year-olds who meet plan qualifications. Previously children had to be 16 or younger.
  • Regular check distribution would begin no sooner than July and would be an advance on up to half of the total benefit. So a family receiving the benefit for one child under the age of 6 would see $300 monthly payments for six months. Between 7 and 17, the benefit would be $250 monthly, if approved.
  • The added payments this year would begin phasing out for couples making over $150,000, and couples making over $170,000 would see no added benefit, according to the New York Times.
  • As in previous years, single filers making under $200,000 and married filers making less than $400,000 would still be eligible for the $2,000 payments.
  • The frequency of the checks containing the first half of the payment is not yet solidified. The Treasury Department will determine how frequently checks can realistically be distributed.
  • The remaining half of the credit would still be claimed when taxes are filed.
  • The credit would be refundable, meaning you could still get the credit even if you don’t end up owing taxes.
  • Some Democrats have called for making the payments permanent.

In pushing the credit, Democrats have said this change — in conjunction with stimulus payments, childcare credits, and other relief for parents in President Joe Biden’s proposal — could reduce the number of children living in poverty by more than half, a claim based on a study by the Center on Poverty and Social Policy at Columbia University.

Information Nexstar media