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With child tax credit, families can pay rent, food and debts

Brianne Walker wanted to take her children and their two siblings camping, but she wasn't sure how to pay. She was also behind on her rent and the grocery and daycare costs were increasing.

Then, the two women from New Hampshire got a surprise in their bank accounts this month. The expanded child tax credit was part of President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief program. On average, families receive $423 each month. The Treasury Department estimates that 35.2 Million families received payments during July.

Walker, 29, said that the additional money helps to ease the pressure. Walker took custody of her siblings last year when her mother died. Walker, who was unable to work as a chef to care for her five children aged 3-19 years old, will be able to claim the $800 credit to make up for any losses.

Biden increased the amounts going to families and expanded it to include those whose income is so little they don't owe taxes. At $75,000 for individuals, $112,500 per head of household and $150,000 per married couple, the benefits will begin to fade. The $2,000 credit can still be used by families with incomes above $200,000 for individuals or $400,000 for married couples.

Eligible families were able to get a credit once they had filed their taxes. This credit could be a lump sum payment, or a credit towards taxes owed. Now, six months worth of monthly payments are being made through the end. The second half is paid to the recipient when they file their taxes. Children under 6 years old receive the credit at $3,600 per year and children 6-17 years old get $3,000 Eligible families will be eligible to receive $300 per month for each child below 6 years old and $250 per child over 6.

Advocates say that monthly payments are more beneficial for families with low incomes.

Michael Reinke, executive Director of Nashua Soup Kitchen & Shelter said, "One of the issues with the big check-in in a calendar year, if you have a car break six months prior, that is a long wait."

He said that when people have money for a long time it is easier to budget and ensure it goes to the expenses they really need. Sometimes, it can be difficult to budget if you have it all at once.

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