Low-income families may need to register for a $ 300 per month child tax credit

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People who don’t have to file an income tax return must register with the federal government online to get their enhanced child tax credit starting next month.

If you have kids, you’re probably about to receive an additional monthly check from the federal government. (Calculate your eligibility here.) The enhanced child tax credit in President Biden’s federal stimulus package will go into effect next month.

It can be worth up to $ 300 per month in additional cash per child.

But the low-income families who need the cash the most may be missing out because the government doesn’t know they’re there. Lawyers are scrambling to get the word out.

The new child tax credit – and why lower income families won’t automatically get it – is not easy to understand.

“It was really tough,” says Rebecca Bammert, program case manager at North Country Ministry in Warren County. “I actually spent two days watching him trying to figure it out so I could explain it.”

The child tax credit has been around since the 1990s. But as part of the US stimulus package, passed by the Democratic Congress and enacted by President Biden, the tax credit is now larger and more families are eligible. .

In particular, families whose income was so low that they did not have to file an income tax return can now claim it. But they must register with the Internal Revenue Service. Hundreds or thousands of families in the north of the country could be affected. (Find the number of families by postal code here.)

So when Bammert advises her clients, she asks if they got a pandemic stimulus check, another perk offered by the IRS. If they did not get one, she will advise them to do so and they will then be eligible for the new child tax credit.

“And they will say: what is it?” And I say, ‘It’s like $ 300 a month.’ And they say ‘ok!’ “

The country’s northern ministry and other non-profit organizations have reached out to low-income people, including young families, people with disabilities, the elderly, to sign up in time to receive the checks. .

But Bammert says it’s not easy. “There is a mistrust in the north of the government of the government. I find there are a lot of people who are like, I don’t want the government to know about my business,” she said.

There are also people with limited internet access or reading and writing problems. So Bammert says it’s essential to explain directly how the child tax credit can make a difference in people’s lives.

“’You had a lot of problems with your truck. And if you have transportation, you can get to work. This additional funding can make a big change for your family. Then they are a little more open to taking these steps. “

The new child tax credit takes effect in mid-July and is monthly until the end of the year. Some lawmakers want to make it permanent. There is an online link to make sure you are registered. Advocates go to great lengths to help people take this step.

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