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Sasha Demskie received a welcome deposit in her bank account this week: a payment of $ 250 from the government as part of the new monthly child tax credit.
The money will be used to pay basic bills, said Demskie, 46, of Conway, Arkansas, who lost her job in April while hospitalized with Covid-19.
Today, Demskie, a college-educated data analyst, is still unable to get unemployment benefits from the state.
Demskie is entitled to the monthly child allowance for her 9 year old daughter.
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“Everything that is coming from the government is urgently needed,” she said.
On Thursday, around 35 million families should receive the first monthly payments of the extended child allowance. Payments are expected to continue until the end of this year.
However, family lawyers are already pushing for the extension to be made permanent.
Demskie is one of them who, as part of a group of mothers from all 50 states, signed a letter asking President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris to keep the extended credit, including monthly payments, to help them balancing responsibilities at home and at work.
“As mothers, we say loud and clear: We need help,” they wrote. “Many mothers want to work right now, but have either been laid off or cannot return due to demands at home.
“It is time for our government to back us up.”
The expanded child tax credit was incorporated into the American Rescue Plan Act, passed by Congress in March. While the child tax credit has been around for a long time, this new version is more generous and for the first time also implements monthly payments.
Payments are up to $ 300 per month per child under 6 years old and $ 250 per month for children 6-17 years old.
In total, eligible families receive up to $ 3,600 per child under 6 and $ 3,000 for children 6-17 years old. The grand total has been increased from $ 2,000 per child as long as a parent or family meets certain income limits.
Half of the new sums will be made available to the families through monthly payments, the rest will be paid when filing the tax return. The loan now also includes 17-year-olds. In addition, it is now fully refundable so low-income earners can get more money.
In general, $ 500 million seems unlikely for a six-check program. I think they planned this to extend it.
Washington Political Analyst with Raymond James
It is estimated that the new child tax credit and other initiatives related to the American Rescue Plan Act will help cut child poverty in half.
As a result, many officials are also calling for the changes to be made permanent. Among them is Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, who said in an interview this week that “it is very important to continue the expanded child allowance”.
Whether the new loan will stand depends on whether politicians on both sides of the aisle agree to sign the tall bill.
Shai Akabas, director of economic policy at the Bipartisan Policy Center, said it would cost approximately $ 1.5 trillion to permanently extend the child tax break over 10 years.
One reason it would be so expensive is because the enlargement isn’t particularly targeted, which means it will go to a clear majority of the population – not just the most needy, Akabas said.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., And Rep. Jimmy Gomez, D-Calif., At a press conference on the child tax break at Barrio Action Youth and Family Center in Los Angeles on July 15, 2021.
Mario Tama | Getty Images
In addition, it is not clear whether Republicans would support an extension, as neither of them voted for the more comprehensive package that approved the temporary extension.
“There’s at least a decent chance it’ll run out if they fail to push through the reconciliation package,” Akabas said of Democrats’ push for a $ 3.5 trillion budget deal.
While making the expanded child tax credit permanent can be difficult, Democrats will likely seek to extend it until at least 2025 when some other tax regulations expire, said Ed Mills, Washington policy analyst at Raymond James.
In addition, since about $ 500 million was used to create the system for mailing the checks, it also shows some commitment to the program.
“In general, $ 500 million for a six-check program seems unlikely,” Mills said. “I think they have planned an extension if that is possible.”
The last monthly check should appear 10 days before Christmas.
“Will Congress leave for Christmas and not extend the child tax deduction?” said mills. “I think the timing was deliberate.”
For families in need of the money, losing the larger loan and monthly checks could be a difficult adjustment.
“Dealing with sudden changes that will occur because a temporary policy expires every year or several years is just not the way to create policies that are meant to be predictable and helpful to American households,” Akabas said.
For Demskie, having those monthly child tax credit reviews would help her plan for the long term for both her and her daughter, she said.
At the moment, she is dependent on her father’s help and is hoping to find a job so that she can put the extra money aside.
“We’re in an awkward position like thousands of us are,” said Demskie.
“Planning is the most important thing,” she added. “If I could only save money, it would be worth a lot to me.”