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Congressional Reps From Northeast Draw Attention To Child Tax Credit Payments

Shana Davis, U.S. Congressman Paul Tonko & Dr. Leigh Wedenoja at Tonko's Albany office, July 12, 2021.
Dave Lucas
Shana Davis, U.S. Congressman Paul Tonko & Dr. Leigh Wedenoja at Tonko's Albany office, July 12, 2021.

Advance federal Child Tax Credit payments begin Thursday as part of the federal COVID relief package. Advocates want every eligible family to receive them.

The new Child Tax Credit was created by the American Rescue Plan, signed by President Biden earlier this year. Congressman Paul Tonko, a Democrat from the 20th district, says the benefit could be as much as $300 per child every month.

"I'm really thrilled that we were able to make this a monthly payment, so that every month now checks will be arriving. This goes through the end of December."

Dr. Leigh Wedenoja, a Senior Policy Analyst with the Rockefeller Institute of Government, joined Tonko Monday morning to outline the program.

"So these three changes are first, the credit is now fully refundable. So the lowest income families without a tax burden will now get the full value of the child tax credit, not just the part that was refundable. Second, the amount of the credit was increased by $1000 to $1600, depending on the age of the child. And third half the credit will be paid in these advanced monthly installments. So the child tax credit expansion is also going to affect a lot more families than the Earned Income Tax Credit. Up to 39 million families and 90% of children are going to receive some kind of payment compared to the Earned Income Tax Credit which only affects about 25 million families. So that's 14 million families will be subject to this expansion who do not qualify for the earned income tax credit. The payments are also larger. The Earned Income Tax Credit average total payment is $2,500. And this tax credit is now $3000 to $3600 per child up to $150,000."

Shana Davis is from Latham.

"I am one of those 14 million who did not qualify for Earned Income Credit. And so this particular program will definitely benefit myself and my granddaughter. For other families like myself, this can be a difference in paying the light bill or paying the car payment this month. It could be a difference in working part time, or being able to be home with my child to support them, while they study for classes and strive to prepare for the next day in school, this is a huge benefit. And I strongly encourage families that if you're not sure if you qualify, to please take a look at the website and apply for it if you definitely qualify."

Western Massachusetts Democrat Richard Neal, who chairs the House Ways and Means Committee, is among lawmakers who want to make the Child Tax Credit permanent. He spoke on the Congressional Corner Monday:

"I've talked to the president about this. Tackling childhood poverty in America should be our paramount consideration when it comes to economic policy. If you want to address the cycle of poverty in America, let's start with making sure that children have the sustenance of life that they need."

Tonko is encouraging Capital Region families to make sure they are signed up to receive their payments.

"When you think about the fact that over one half of children, American children will be lifted out of poverty. It's monumental. And to know that 82.3% of our children in this region will be benefited, is just a strong sense of encouragement. So I can imagine outside this district, it becomes even more impactful because of household income."


Dave Lucas is WAMC’s Capital Region Bureau Chief. Born and raised in Albany, he’s been involved in nearly every aspect of local radio since 1981. Before joining WAMC, Dave was a reporter and anchor at WGY in Schenectady. Prior to that he hosted talk shows on WYJB and WROW, including the 1999 series of overnight radio broadcasts tracking the JonBenet Ramsey murder case with a cast of callers and characters from all over the world via the internet. In 2012, Dave received a Communicator Award of Distinction for his WAMC news story "Fail: The NYS Flood Panel," which explores whether the damage from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee could have been prevented or at least curbed. Dave began his radio career as a “morning personality” at WABY in Albany.
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