An urgent message for all parents: Don’t miss out on child tax credits

President Biden’s American Rescue Plan contains a tax credit expansion that policymakers say will cut child poverty in half. Just as Social Security and Medicare nearly erased elder poverty, the Child Tax Credit (CTC) expansion has the potential to lift out of poverty more than half of the 13 million children living below the 2021 poverty level of $26,200 for a family of four.

But many parents still need to apply.

The tax credit’s scope is wide, with the intention of moving all children and families out of poverty. All children are meant to benefit from it, whether or not their parents file a tax return. The IRS is merely the vehicle for providing this critically needed benefit.

Right now, millions of families are seeing payments in their bank accounts or receiving checks for the July CTC payment of $250 or $300 per child.