Relief is on the way to families with children as the federal government prepares to mail out advanced checks to New Yorkers who qualify for Child Tax Credit.
Amid the pandemic and its economic impact on American families, Congress in March made this year's Child Tax Credit bigger as part of COVID-19 rescue plan and New York Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez described the payments as "the largest anti-poverty program in a generation." Families can begin collecting the payments now instead of waiting to file their tax returns next year.
Here's everything you need to know:
A majority of families who filed tax returns in 2019 or 2020 will automatically receive the payments in direct deposits, if they're enrolled, or checks.
Single parents with adjusted gross income below $75,000, heads of household with adjusted gross income below $112,500 and married couples who filed their returns jointly with adjusted gross income below $150,000 are all eligible for the full payments of $250 or $300 per child per month.
The first checks are scheduled to go out starting next Thursday, July 15. Additional checks are set to arrive each month through the end of 2021.
"If you have a child 0 to 6, you'll get $300 a month. If you have a child 6-17, you get $250 a month now to December," Sen. Chuck Schumer explained at a news conference Thursday alongside Ocasio-Cortez and Rep. Jerry Nadler to get the word out.
Families who qualify can then claim the rest of the credit next year, for $3,000-$3,600 dollars per child depending on the family's income level.
New Yorkers who've earned too little to file recent tax returns can still get the credit but they need to apply in person on Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Urban Upbound in Long Island City. They can also make an appointment for 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at COJO Flatbush by dialing 718-377-2900, ext. 331 or text. 7618.
Walk-ins are also available Saturday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Ted Weiss Federal Office Building in Lower Manhattan, or families can apply on IRS.gov and click on "Child Tax Credit."
"The Child Tax Credit has the potential to cut child poverty in half but only if New Yorkers are able to access it," Ocasio Cortez said.
The program will benefit parents like Lefla Duncan who lost her job during the pandemic and is struggling to put food on the table for her growing son.
"Since Covid, the children have grown so much. Their feet, my son is 13 and his feet have grown so big and I have to be buying shoes and clothes for them. So this is going to help us a long, long way," she said.
Parents who are undocumented can also collect this benefit, but as long as their child has a social security number.